Avoid the ‘Alphabet Soup’ Product Naming Approach

Naming products and services is an incredibly important element to your branding strategy and marketing plan. Ideal product names are clearly descriptive, motivating to customers and memorable.

Or, you could take LG’s example and go with the alphabet soup approach:

Avoid the Alphabet Soup Product Naming Approach

The LG G Pad F 8.0 (don’t forget it’s trademarked!) is a real product. Try to imagine a customer talking about their new LG G Pad F 8.0 to a friend. Do you think they could even remember the full model name? Perhaps this clunky name is partially to blame for LG having to offer this tablet for $0.99– not exactly a high-margin sale.

LG’s product name is a prime example of naming a product from a production team’s perspective instead a customer’s. To the LG engineers, I’m sure this is a perfectly logical model name. But it doesn’t have anywhere near the impact of a simple, clear product name like iPad.

When naming your next product or service, try to be more like Apple and less like LG.

Marketing by Design

Design isn’t the veneer that’s slapped on at the end of a project. It isn’t just “pretty” or “nice to have.”

Design doesn’t come from consensus. It’s not something a committee of competing interests can develop.

Design isn’t just for objects. Companies shouldn’t confine design to the “Design Department.” Services, experiences and even marketing strategies should be designed.

True design is the complete, unified whole as envisioned by one person or a small group of cohorts. If you’ve been reading the Steve Job’s biography (and who hasn’t?), these concepts should sound familiar. I’m thrilled such a popular book is championing the key essence of true design. Apple and Pixar’s successes prove that dedication to true design works– more than works. True design results in “insanely great” things.

So, how are you designing your company and your marketing? Who has the vision? Where’s the passion? If you can easily answer these questions, you’re doing design right.

Marketing is easy when you’re awesome

A couple weeks ago, I published a post imploring businesses to be good. Being good is important for your business, though it might not make your marketing any easier. But what if your business is not just good, it’s awesome? Being awesome opens the door to great marketing opportunities that makes your marketing strategy easy.

Here are three ways marketing is easy when you’re awesome:

1. PR and social media are easy

For many businesses, developing a compelling PR and social media strategy is hard– what do we say? who will care? who will spread the message? But for businesses that are awesome, PR is easy.

Grady Veterinary Hospital in Cincinnati, OH accepts animals in need from the SPCA. Right now, they are caring for a kitten that had been set on fire and loosed on a city street. Each day, they provide updates on the little guy’s progress. Because they do awesome things, their public relations and social media strategy is easy: Tell stories about the wonderful animals we help.

2. Word of mouth marketing is easy

It’s pretty obvious that if your business is awesome, your customers will want to talk about you. That’s the essence of word of mouth marketing. Give your customers something to talk about– a charitable initiative, an innovative application of your product or service that goes above and beyond what they could have imagined.

The BonBonerie is an extremely successful confectioner here in Cincinnati. Customer demand is so strong that they have an entire cafe dedicated to wedding cake tastings. Their business has been built mostly on word-of-mouth marketing because their business is amazing. The beautiful cakes, delicious flavors and careful service give customers plenty to rave about. Crafting this business wasn’t easy, but the word of mouth marketing is creating itself.

3. Employee satisfaction is easy

Happy employees make happy customers. When an employee believes in what she does, she wants to help each customer as much as she can. And, no surprise, employees find it easiest to believe in awesome employers.

When I worked at Apple, my fellow employees were 100% dedicated to the company’s way of doing business. Apple has a great employee training program and customer service methodology, and the employees already believe wholeheartedly in the products they sell. Because employees believe the company is awesome, they are able to provide customers with awesome experiences.

Marketing is easy when you’re awesome. “But my business isn’t awesome,” you might reply. So what are you going to do about it?

Marketing Tips: Naming a Business

When you start a new business or develop a new brand, one of the most important early steps is naming it. A good name tells customers who you are, what you do, and what you can do for them.

If the business name is too generic (think American Business Group or Unified Solutions), customers won’t know what they can buy from you. A generic name means your marketing has to work harder to tell your story, both creatively and monetarily.

Alternately, a too-specific name can limit your future potential. Apple’s iTunes Store was painfully out of date with a business model that evolved to sell so much more than music. The company had to go through the expense and consumer education efforts of rebranding the service as the App Store. Apple still hasn’t solved the naming problem of iTunes, the application a consumer counterintuitively must use to sync the data on her iPhone.

To name a business or brand, the goal is to craft a name that is descriptive without limiting the future- and has good domain name possibilities. Some of my favorites include Fast Company, the magazine for innovative businesses; POM Wonderful, the delicious pomegranate juice, and Chik-fil-a, the chicken sandwich fast-food chain.

Or take the example of the business forclosure.com, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Very descriptive of the path the business took, don’t you think?

Small Business: Marketing with Personality

Small businesses have a great marketing advantage over large businesses: built in personality. Large companies strive to develop personalities with expensive advertising and PR campaigns– think Apple (I’m a Mac), Wal-Mart (Power to the Savers) and Toyota (the Swagger Wagon family). But if you have a small business, you are the personality (for better or worse).

Why is personality a great small business marketing tool? By showing your personality, you give customers something to be loyal to. Loyalty can’t be bestowed on products or services, but people are loyal to other people and organizations. Loyal customers will buy more from you and rave more to their friends. You just need to show them some personality.

What have you done lately to infuse the best parts of your personality into your small business?