Lexicon® Blog

Throwing The Market A Curve

In Branding, Business, Naming, San Francisco, Trademarks, Uncategorized on October 8, 2010 at 3:57 am

Some of the brand name development efforts that happen at Lexicon® Branding remain in the shadows. It may be a name for a select segment of software engineers. Or a major brand’s soft drink that gets test marketed in Topeka, Kansas, and never gets any closer to a rollout. But every so often we get a chance to be part of something big, bold, and uniquely different.

Types of CurvesIn the case of Levi’s Curve ID® fit system, the brand behind several new lines of womens jeans from San Francisco-based Levi-Strauss, it’s not so much that we helped them create a name for jeans specifically built for a variety of female body shapes and sizes. Instead, it’s the excitement of being part of their audacious, in-your-face advertising campaign that’s bringing awareness to the new jeans.

Bus stop posters proclaiming, “Not All Asses Were Created Equal”. Giant billboards declaring, “For Prima Donnas and Girls Named Donna”. A newly debuted “Levi’s Girl” (Meghan Ellie Smith, @thelevisgirl) who is tweeting and posting on Facebook about her adventure as the first to be so dubbed, moving from New York City to San Francisco.

All Asses Were Not Created Equal

One of Levi's Curve ID billboards

Some brand names get a slow start, seeming more to escape from their corporate headquarters than to blast their way onto the scene. In this case, with our head office being in Sausalito, California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from “The City”, everyone who works here is seeing Curve ID no matter which route they take to work, whether they travel by public or personal transportation.

For Prima Donnas and Girls Named Donna

We’ve often wondered why most clients wait until the very end of a new product’s development before they even start thinking about a name. To our way of looking at the process, the sooner that name creation can be involved, the easiest it becomes to conceptualize the final brand and the strategy that needs to go into launching and supporting it. In that regard, the system in most industries seems to be a bit broken, which is why we applaud our friends at Levi Strauss for choosing to get Lexicon in the mix during the early stages of developing the brand that became Curve ID.

For a brand that’s meant to open people’s eyes to a new way of buying, trying and wearing womens jeans, Curve ID as an exciting new brand has been presented in some new and eye-opening ways itself.

— David Placek

  1. Is it easier for Lexicon employees to design a brand for a final product, knowing exactly how the public will receive it? Or is the process more of a chicken-and-egg scenario, where the product may change depending on the brand?

    In some of your posted videos you make reference to the fact that the “seed-like” buttons of a certain smartphone evoked the idea of a berry. If later in the development process RIM had decided to change the layout or look of the keys, the idea perhaps would have been destroyed. However, it occurs to me that a very well thought-out contract likely protected both parties from such an unfortunate event.

    • Thanks for the questions, Tom. With most of our projects, the products and marketplace tend to change so ideally we aim to create names that will evolve. With regards to the smartphone, even if a technical feature — “seed-like” buttons, for instance — goes away then hopefully the bigger ideas — ease-of-use, naturalness, friendliness, etc. — will remain. In the case of the project you mentioned, the form factor led us to a name which has neatly survived many design changes to become a way to talk about the experience of the product line overall. — DP

  2. David,
    I suspect that only a small percentage of organizations really understand the complexities of selecting a brand. It is more of a design process (well, that is how I think of it anyway). Many organizations seem to just dream up a name without any consideration for linguistics, structure, and other factors. Kudos to Levi Strauss and to Lexicon(R).


  3. yeah

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