Sometimes imitation is flattery, sometimes it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and / or corporate ethics.
Naming and branding parody site Landor has posted an article in which they claim authorship of called “How not to name“, accompanied by a photo of Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor. It is posted on a section of their website that they ironically named “Thinking”.
Here is an except (from point 2, paragraph 3):
This “positivity principle” explains why a scandalous name (Virgin), a slur (Banana Republic), and a small, hairy larva (Caterpillar) are perceived positively.
Unless everyone understands the positioning and the correlation between it and an evocative name, this is the type of feedback that evocative names will generate:
- Says “we’re new at this”
- Public wants airlines to be experienced, safe and professional
- Investors won’t take us seriously
- Religious people will be offended
- Tiny, creepy-crawly bug
- Not macho enough – easy to squash
- Why not “bull” or “workhorse”?
- Destroys trees, crops, responsible for famine
- Derogatory cultural slur
- You’ll be picketed by people from small, hot countries
The Landor article “How Not to Name” is written in a format that states popular misconceptions and the debunks them. Here they attack the mistaken idea that focus groups are helpful in choosing company or product names (from point 6, paragraph 1):
As a rule, it’s smart to entrust strategic business decisions to someone who trades an hour of their time for $25 and a few handfuls of M&Ms.
And here is how Steve Manning, co-founder of Igor, expressed the same idea 5 years earlier in an article in Elsevier Food International :
“If you’re trusting the future of your brand to a bunch of people who are willing to give up their time for $45 and a stale sandwich, you’re in trouble.”
Was Mr. Shore of Landor aware of Mr. Maninng’s quote? Of course he was, Mr. Shore was quoted in the very same article as Mr. Manning.
The final insult comes at the end of this “Landor authored” naming article:
© 2007 Landor Associates. All rights reserved.
Reached for comment, Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor had this to say.