Lexicon® Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Sonos’

Why the Executive Suite Must Be Involved in Brand Name Development

In Brand Name Development, Brand Naming, Branding, Business, Consumer Research, corporate naming, Naming on January 11, 2017 at 11:18 am

by Lexicon Branding Founder David Placek

executive-credentials

The role of the CEO — to drive growth, create new markets, and lead the process of meeting consumer demand — is inextricably linked to the development of effective, dramatic, and unique brands and the brand names that help to establish them. The difference between narrowly defined words or phrases like ProChip and ReadyMop and brand names like Pentium and Swiffer is dramatic. Pentium and Swiffer both represent platforms to create new markets, new products, and highly valuable intellectual property. While ProChip and ReadyMop merely describe products, Pentium and Swiffer define them.

In general, companies tend to under-value the power of a brand name. Although they look at names such as PowerBook, Pentium, and Swiffer and say “Wow,” they don’t necessarily understand or appreciate the investment of time, strategic thinking, and creativity necessary to create a name like Pentium.

Our work with Andy Grove at Intel, Dirk Yaeger at P&G, and John MacFarlane at Sonos demonstrates that when the CEO is involved, and they respect the power of good brand names, good things happen. Yet, every year hundreds of brand name projects are delegated to assistant brand managers and junior product managers, many of whom have no experience in leading a creative process or have the needed vantage point to understand the true potential of the product they are naming. It’s why we have so many boring, descriptive, and unoriginal brand names in the marketplace.

Several years ago, a company with a very generic name, “Internet Diamonds,” engaged Lexicon to create a new and distinctive brand name. The result of our work was Blue Nile. Consider the potential expansiveness of this simple solution: color, vibrancy, history, richness. The name fires up the imagination of consumers from around the world who are interested in buying jewelry and other gifts from the internet. Today, Blue Nile is the world’s leading online diamond jeweler.

Where would Intel be today if Andy Grove, then the President and CEO of Intel who led the naming exercise for the fifth-generation processor, had chosen the name ProChip? Would the brand ProChip be as well-recognized as Pentium? Would consumers be as brand loyal to a ProChip as they are to Pentium? In short, Pentium gave Intel a very distinctive marketing asset. Research conducted both in the United States and Europe revealed that the word Pentium sparked the imagination of consumers. When naming is driven by leadership, the results are exponentially higher because the CEO has the necessary oversight to see how and where to direct the product, service, or company.

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Sonos Releases Trueplay Software; ABC Family to Become Freeform

In Brand Name Development on October 30, 2015 at 10:18 am

Behind the Names

“We have to start thinking of speakers in a different way. They’re no longer static objects, they are like wine, they’ll improve with age. The time your Sonos speaker will sound its ‘worst’ is the day you buy it – that’s an exciting prospect.” Michael Papish, Director of Platform Strategy at Sonos.

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That runway-for-growth mentality at the Hi-Fi headquarters of the audio powerhouse – this idea of embracing change over time – also applies to branding. Developing a strategic name for the marketplace is not strictly an exercise in who you are, but also, in what you might become. That’s how Lexicon helped Sonos land on Trueplay for its new room-tuning technology, and the same principle was used for ABC Family’s rebrand to Freeform.

The first iteration of Sonos’s revolutionary software will automatically calibrate your speaker and optimize it for its surroundings. However, over time, the platform might involve other technologies and features that ladder up to that original-sound quality – and the name supports those evolutions and changes. In the end, it’s all about delivering the true playing experience, as the artist intended it.

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When ABC Family approached Lexicon, they were feeling a fundamental disconnect between their programming and audience and their identity in the media world. Their core demographic, according to President of ABC Family Tom Ascheim, is made up of millennials asking themselves, ‘Who am I becoming?’ and the network was wondering the same. Their roadmap for content and evolution in personality was all about exploring, embracing the unknown, and realizing what you want to be – not just household shows for all. And the name Freeform – which literally means “created or done in any way you choose” – will certainly allow them to become what they’re supposed to become, in a way the Family moniker wouldn’t permit.