Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Yes, yes — so everyone knows Apple’s new baby sounds like a personalized feminine product –

And as a “Professional Namer” (and as a plain old consumer) — no. I don’t love the name, I don’t even like it. And yet — I don’t think it was a stupid move, either.

Now, first of all — I know what they were thinking. They were focused on brand consistency, and nice streamlined naming architecture, and wanted to keep it all in the ‘iP—’ family: iPhone, iPod… iPad (although, I would argue, the initial ‘i’ serves that purpose just swimmingly: iMac, iBook, etc.)

But, intentionally or not, this move will not be a deal killer (user experience will be) and, in fact, the name that everyone is touting as only one step away from “iTampon” might even work to their advantage.

Don’t forget the ridicule of Wii when it first came out:

“Sounds like someone needs to be potty trained!”

or even of Google:

“how do you SAY that… man, that’s a mouth full… it has nothing to DO with search!”–

The process of coming up with a name is important. Really important: it determines how to communicate positioning, audience, description, functionality, benefits, evocative “lifestyle” qualities. It also pays my rent.

But a name can not carry a product completely, and it certainly is never meant to live in isolation from the brand.

Which brings me to my next point: the iPad is under the Apple brand. Never, ever, underestimate the value of viral buzz (“No PR is bad PR”) and if you are Apple: you, like Google, get brand PR by scratching your nose.

And when it comes to naming the next anything in Apple’s product line, you must always remember that their marketing strategy is banking on their #1 commodity: coolness.

§808 · January 27, 2010 · This Modern Life · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , · [Print]

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