Ries: The Law of the Proper Brand Name

the real thing
Originally uploaded by eschipul

On the subject of rules for brand names.

For readers of this blog it comes as no surprise that I am a big fan of Ries and Trout’s book Positioning. And since then a continued fan with The Fall of Advertising and The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. They articulate thoughts that just make sense; logically, psychologically and sociologically.

Working in the tech sector and also being a fan of Moore’s Crossing the Chasm I view brand names very much as a sociological pattern. The mavens,
even if your biggest fans, must be able to COMMUNICATE that knowledge
to the early majority. It is YOUR job to give them a strong brand name
to communicate!

Recently rereading the 22 Immutable Laws, I found the chapter I was looking for when I wrote this post on brand naming. Here is a summary:

The Law of the Proper Name (pg 148)

  1. The name should be short
  2. The name should be simple
  3. The name should suggest the category (flickr?)
  4. The name should be unique
  5. The name should be alliterative
  6. The name should be speakable
  7. The name should be shocking
  8. The name should be personalized

So it
hurts me when I see friends use bad brand names. Not my job to prevent
the world from using irrelevant 10 syllable Russian sounding
cryptographs on the basis of "Hey, IBM uses an acronym!", but if you
must, you must. If however you have a choice, I am going to strongly
suggest you follow Ries’ Law of the Proper Name.

We did, which is why I love our brand name for Tendenci which one of our artists at the time, Randy Sarinas, came up with. Now if only we had a better positioning statement for Tendenci, but that is another blog post.