Brand Names: It's Not Easy Being Real

Compiled By Deborah Austin Get real. That mindset -- intensified in the U.S. by corporate scandals and the Sept. 11 attacks -- has permeated even the brand naming process, suggests the first annual "Name Game" online survey conducted by New York-based brand consultancy Interbrand Corp. Of 218 global respondents representing marketing/branding professionals from a range of industries, 57% foresee a trend toward more "real" sounding corporate or product names composed of singular or compound words -- such as jetBlue, Tide and MasterCard. Only 19% said "coined" names such as Accenture and Verizon will remain popular; 9% see a trend toward names representing a company's heritage, such as Wyeth. Marketers see Americans demanding sincere values, and the marketers believe brand names that are "more accessible and meaningful" is one way to communicate that sincerity, says Julie Cottineau, managing director, naming, at Interbrand. But there's a tough problem with this "reality" trend, says Interbrand: Of the 6 million-plus words in the English language, virtually all are already registered. In fact "trademark barriers" was the survey's most-cited naming obstacle (25%).

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