“VANILLACIDE: when an original idea or plan is repeatedly changed until it becomes less interesting and unique than it was first intended to be. Vanillacide is most often used in business contexts, where it refers to the scenario of new and creative proposals undergoing a series of changes in order to make them generally acceptable to people, but in the process becoming so ‘watered down’ that they lose their original individuality and appeal.
The term vanillacide was coined by Steve Manning, Chief Executive Officer at Igor, a branding agency in the US. The expression is a blend of the adjective vanilla in its modern sense of describing something as ordinary and lacking in any special or extra features, and the suffix -cide, which denotes an act of killing. Unlike vanilla, which can simply be used to show that something is of a standard variety, vanillacide always has disapproving overtones, suggesting that something has become unnecessarily conformist and ‘bog standard’.”
Landor Founder, Walter Landor, Details The Agency’s Naming Process:
Walter’s wise words are not just arcane, academic theory; Landor’s process produces results:
From Landor’s website, we’re not sure if this is writing or if it’s just typing: “We started from a strategic platform, using a prototypical process involving the client in building the creative idea with an iterative journey approach. Expressing the values of the new banking paradigm, we then gave shape to the clients’ desires by translating them into infinite opportunities.” [Full case study]
From Landor’s website: “The new name, Enactus, was initially inspired by the idea of compounding “Entrepreneurial Action,” but it was created to transcend those roots and encompass the strong emotion that the brand evokes. The name encapsulates the intricate balance between youthful energy and a sophisticated stature that defines the organization.” [Full Case Study Landor understandably removed this naming work from their site]
“Tan” suggests dominance: From Landor’s website: “Our Hamburg and Asia Pacific offices collaborated on the name Magotan, alluding to the Latin word magnus and the kingly color magenta; tan suggests dominance…” [Full Case Study Landor understandably removed this naming work from their site]
From Landor’s website: “Landor developed the name Centravis, which directly communicates the central positioning of the brand as combining the best of all worlds. The suffix “vis” means force, or power in Latin, and underlines the ambitious and growth-oriented business strategy…” [Full Case Study Landor understandably removed this naming work from their site]
Back when a name like Slack was unimaginable in Silicon Valley, it was rife with off-putting names. The stubbornly held falsehood that B2B names needed to be full of dehumanizing gravitas was rarely defied, even though Oracle had broken the mold 14 years earlier.