What’s in a Name?

January 5, 2010

For the past 30 years, HMA has had the opportunity and great pleasure to help name, brand and create strategic communications messages for companies and people worldwide. As such, we are highly sensitive to brand campaigns – good, bad and ugly – making a marketing push at any given time.

And, sometimes, even the most interesting, well-planned campaign can be derailed by something small…like a name.

It’s been around for awhile, but during College Bowl Week the past few days, there have been an extraordinary amount of commercials for a service called…wait for it…KGB. The commercials themselves have succinctly described that the service offers folks answers to any question they may ever have from “Who threw the game-winning touchdown in the 1990 Super Bowl?” to “What color is melon?”

Just one problem – the name of the company is KGB!!! I know people have short attention spans and memories, but anyone who has seen a James Bond movie or taken middle school history has to remember the KGB and it’s sometimes less than above-board dealings, right?

And, in a world where SEO and social media matter, no matter how much this company pays, it will always come up on Google or Yahoo searches near the Wikipedia entry of what the KGB really is. Go ahead, try it.

What other companies or brands out there do you think are potentially shooting themselves in the foot with something as simple as the wrong name? Or, do you like this name and think it works?