As I walked into the store to pick up some contact lens solution I had a specific brand in mind. But when it came time to make the actual buying decision, I changed my mind.
Why the Change In Mind?
Why? Because a product name I encountered planted a new idea in my mind. The name made me look at my buying decision in a new light and in the process won my business.
My experience with this surprisingly powerful name teaches a valuable lesson about selecting company, product and service names that you can use in your business.
Normally I buy the contact lens solution introduced to me in sample size by my optometrist. But as I looked at all the products on the shelf that day, the optometrist-introduced brand was eliminated by the competing product with the thought-provoking name.
What Name Tipped the Balance?
What was the name that proved stronger than a professional endorsement? Equate, a real English word that means to make equal; to treat, represent, or regard as equal, equivalent or comparable.
Equate is Wal-Mart’s house brand for a wide variety of personal care items like shampoo, cotton swabs, vitamins and in this case contact lens solution.
What makes the name so effective is the message that it conveys. The name claims that Equate products are just as good as the national brand name products they sit next to on the shelves, only they cost less.
Changing Patterns of Thought
The first time I looked at the Equate name, it turned me into a comparison shopper. The name prompted me to turn over the package and check the list of ingredients. The ingredients listed on the Equate package were the same as on box of the national brand. At the bottom of the Equate package I saw the name of the company that made the product for Wal-Mart. It was a major international manufacturer.
The ingredients were the same. The quality of the manufacturer was the same. My conclusion – the products must be just the same, except the Equate product was a couple of bucks cheaper. I put the Equate contact lens solution into the shopping basket and put the optometrist recommended brand back on the shelf.
What can we learn from my contact lens solution buying experience?
Learn How To Influence Customers
The first insight is that Wal-Mart’s success stems from more than just a legendary inventory management system and every day low prices. Knowing how to influence consumers has a lot to do with Wal-Mart’s climb to become the world’s number 1 retailer. More buying decisions get made inside a Wal-Mart than in any other business location.
The Incredible Power of Names
The second lesson is more wide reaching and can be readily applied to any business. There is incredible power in naming. Names form thought patterns. If your company and product names create the right type of thought patterns, they can actually influence customer behavior and stimulate buying demand.
Draw Customers into Sales Cycle
Naming is your most important marketing decision. Make sure that you choose names that will draw your customers into the sales cycle.
Some names create no magic at all in the customer’s mind. Companies that take their title from a founder’s surname, only send a message about themselves. They demonstrate no focus or concern for the customer.
Likewise with most acronym names. They look like an accident in a bowl of alphabet soup and are void of appeal. (For the story of a company that is wasting millions promoting its acronym name read the November issue of Brandscapes)
Fire Up the Brain Cells
The best company, product and service names fire up a customer’s brain cells. They get the customer thinking about why they should buy the product. They plant a compelling mental image. They engage the customer’s sense of humour.
Want some examples? Think about Quicken, the home finance software from Intuit. Every time the name is mentioned, the product’s prime benefit gets restated. Callaway Golf presents an image of explosive force with the title of its Big Bertha driver. A Vancouver furniture store shows it has a sense of humour with its name, Sofa So Good.
Capitalize on the Opportunity
Naming is an incredible marketing opportunity. Capitalize on it. Don’t settle for a name that leaves the customer unengaged.
What About Your Company?
What does your company name do in the mind of customers? If it sends a non-message or the wrong message, contact Identicor for help.