Do you have a word smash name?

During my 26+ years of marketing, I have heard of many horrible names for various types of businesses, products and services.  The name needs to mean something to the target market and be appealing for the type of product or service it is.

Word smashing is one way marketing/branding people like to come up with names.  It is combining parts of two different words.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it totally fails.  In this blog I want to focus on a couple of examples of the word smash that doesn’t work for me.

Example #1

I know a business in Denver who re-branded their company name and I might add, paid a good deal of money to do so.  Unfortunately, the name of the company sounded like a personal trainer or fitness center, which was not at all what this business did.  In fact the name and tagline of this business made it sound like the business service they offered should be flexible.  But, this is a business consultancy specializing in a specific area of business that should never be flexible, because of the laws surrounding the area of expertise. 

When I am talking to people about branding, I like to pull out the business card of this company.  I fold it over so that all one sees is the logo and not the tagline.  I ask them based on the name and look of the logo, what do you think this business does?  Everyone always says something to do with fitness.  Then I reveal the tagline and they are always in disbelief that the tagline is for the kind of consultancy this business is.  In my opinion, the name of this business has adversely affected the business’s success.

Example #2

I was driving down I-70 and saw a billboard for Yakult.  The billboard is somewhat hidden with other signs around it and the first time I drove by it I could not figure out what it was.  All I knew is it sounded kind of gross.  The next time I drove by, I slowed down a bit and took the entire billboard in and read that it is for a probiotic drink.  Then I thought “gross” again!  Just based on that name, I would never try it for fear I would Yak!

To note, this is another example of a word smash name that I do not personally care for, but it could be totally appealing to someone else.  I am sure it probably tastes fine, but I will never try it.

My point – be careful when naming a product, service or business.  You don’t have to be overly creative with the word smash.  Use one-on-one interviews or focus groups comprised of your target market to determine the effectiveness.  Never go by the opinion of friends and family.  Ask your target market - people who would actually use your products or services.

If you have other examples of well or poorly executed word smash names, please feel free to leave a comment.  If you need assistance with naming a business, product or service, contact us.

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