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Thoughts & Musings

The Brand Compactor I: Naming

There’s nothing new in the observation that time and attention are in short supply among today's audiences. However it’s interesting to reflect on exactly what the Great Audience Attention Deficit has done to the structure of brands themselves. Naming is an interesting case study. Once, a new company could feel fairly confident in giving itself a rather generic name, trusting that later marketing efforts would generate excitement about the brand. 

It didn’t matter so much if you were called Acme Industries, so long as your marketing message was strong. Customers would notice a good headline, or so it was assumed, then follow the breadcrumb trail from the headline to the copy, then on to the website, to the product information — interest and trust building all the way — and finally to the point of purchase.  

Can you imagine a consumer with that much time on his or her hands these days? Not really. Which is why brands are under ever-greater pressure to squeeze themselves into ever smaller, tighter packages. Little calorie-loaded morsels that audiences can consume on the go, like a long distance runner gulping down a glucose packet: received, digested, now run run run! 

The ideal name in the age of the compacted brand? One that packs a fistful of brand attributes — maybe even a whole story — into one, two, or three words. Big Ass Fans does that, whether you love the name or hate it. The Boring Company does it, so does Bitcoin, Brandless, Misty Robotics and many others. All manage to communicate something unique and memorable in their names, along with a concrete description, and maybe even a little something about their company attitude. 

Never heard of one or two of these companies? Try a little thought experienment: make up your own story about what they do based on the name alone, then Google them. You'll probably be right. 

More on the subject of compact brands in the days and weeks ahead. Next time: tags!

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