What’s in a Name

Names are as important to products, including software, as they are to people. Think of the stereotypes that names, such as Eugene, Debbie, Mario, Louise, Scott, and even Mary, bring to mind. What about a girl with the name Barbie? Bimbo? What about a guy with the name Mel? Bully? They’re not always favourable (although some are) and they’re not always accurate (although it has been said that your name defines who you are). We associate names with public figures and fictitious characters, and our perception of them influences our initial reaction.

Particularly in technology, good strong names are always desired. Not silly, but strong ones that will be remembered, and easy to say. They have to look profound, and stand well in capital letters, visually.

Apple     Sprint     Mustang     Google     Nikon     BMW     Ferrari     Pentium     Intel     Kodak     Amazon


They must be intense names in that you like saying them. Technology, the field, is characterized as being progressive with new ideas, innovative, powerful, eliminating obstacles in the way, like time. Strength. Power. Grrrrr.

Apple works well for the company. The fruit is characterized as being a dietary staple, and there are many varieties for people to choose from. Apple computers promotes itself as being for everyone. Good stable computers that will last for years, and they’re designed to be attractive so you do want people knowing you pack one in your bag or have one sitting on your desk. They’re a must-have; an office and a home staple.

What’s in a name are memories. You and I may have had no negative experiences with ‘the name,’ but others may. Then again, we can’t necessarily predict someone’s fantastic experience with another name. The firefly, for eample, is a small bettle that glows. We wonder how it regulates its glow. It intrigues us. The Pontiac Firefly is a sub-compact automobile. We wonder how it can work on a 1.0-1.3 L engine. When my aunt was looking to buy a used car, one of her friends talked her against buying a Firefly. He obviously had had a bad experience. So much for the name doing the vehicle justice. He’d much rather crush the Pontiac Firefly just like some do bugs…well, you know. For me, the name ‘Louise’ isn’t a geeky girl with glasses and a massive head of brown curls piled high atop her head in a bun, as she is often portrayed in children’s stories. To me, Louise is a family friend who will go out of her way to make you feel at home. She will drive you to the airport and back. She will come see you when you’re ill and bring you soup. She’ll pick up your mail when you are out of town. And she has this incredible sense of humour, and the biggest heart on earth.

Now, can anyone tell me why SocietyMuster wouldn’t be a good name for software catering to membership-based organizations? It’s available. It hasn’t been chosen.

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