What’s In A Name?

If a rose was called by any other name, would it smell as sweet? Our pal William Shakespeare may say yes, but in the big bad world of marketing and branding, a name can change everything. 

Recently, Daniel Brian made a guest appearance on the podcast The Daily J with Zach Clark to discuss the impact names have on a brand’s value, and what makes them so important to the consumer. 

“Value in a name is really the equity of that brand.” Says Cobb. “Take, for example, Coca Cola.” He goes on to discuss the way simply telling participants the name Coca-Cola can influence taste test results. Oftentimes, Coca-Cola doesn’t win the taste test, but when the testers are told that they didn’t vote for coke, they say things like “My taste buds were wrong. I prefer Coke.” Clearly Coca-Cola by any other name doesn’t taste quite as sweet, and when a name has that much influence, it’s not surprising that the name also has financial value. 

Dan lets us in on a surprising fact: “The value of the Coke brand is so significant,” he says, “that if the company were to be bankrupted, the name itself is worth more than all the other facilities, capabilities, trucks, that they have in the organization combined.”

We have to remember that a name is the consumer’s first and last impression of a brand, and that impression is what forms the brand in the consumer’s mind. That mind space is where our industry vyes for real estate. The perfect tool for latching into the consumer mind? Cobb says it’s nostalgia.

“Nostalgia is one of the most powerful behavior mechanisms in the brain.” Says Cobb. “You ever hear a song and go back in time and you remember where you were as a kid?” Think about the concert venue Pine Knob. It may have been renamed to DTE, “But it’ll always be Pine Knob in our nostalgia.” Says Cobb. Maybe that’s part of why the name is coming back. After all, would a concert venue by any other name smell as fresh and pine-scented in our memory?

Name changes deserve much thought, and when a brand wants to alter or fully change their name, the effects of that change need to be taken into account. Dan Cobb and others discuss this further in the podcast, which you can listen to here.