On this welcome Labor Day, a few different thoughts converged for me, so please allow me to answer my own question in the title of this post, starting by explaining the below photo:

EscalatorNorthstarMpls

After repeated diversions from a particular moving stairway a/k/a escalator to the far less convenient elevators in an unnamed downtown Minneapolis office

– James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications

“Brand” and “branding” are the current darlings of the fashionista class. They’re rapidly driving those terms into the realm of cliché by busily associating them with practically everything you can think of.

But in the midst of branding’s 15 minutes of fame, a potentially crippling challenge faces the non-brand

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash

There was an article this summer in the Wall Street Journal called, “Why Startups Are Sporting Increasingly Quirky Names.” The author indicated that this trend was being driven by a “lack of short, recognizable URLs” which “prompts use of misspellings and word mash-ups” in the names of new startups.

One

—George Fiddler, Client Relationship Manager, Fast Horse Inc.

Last Saturday night I watched the entire 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, an NBA All-Star competition that puts some of the league’s best point guards through an obstacle course of shooting, passing and dribbling. I somehow turned the tube off thinking about trends in modern crisis communication

 —Alan Bergstrom, Beyond Philosophy

  

IHOP (International House of Pancakes) recently filed a lawsuit to prevent another group, International House of Prayer, from using its trademarked acronym. According to the trademark infringement filing, IHOP has repeatedly asked the religious group to drop the use of the acronym IHOP, which is a registered trademark for its

One good thing leads to another, or perhaps, vice versa (then again, maybe not):

    

Odds are, you probably are familiar with the logo on the left, but maybe not the history behind the brand and company it represents. Apparently, a guy named Jimmy John Liataud founded Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in Charleston, Illinois, in 1983, and since then, has grown his successful franchised restaurant business to more than 1,000 locations in 38 states, including many in Minnesota.

And, I’m guessing most of you haven’t encountered the logo on the right, so, hat tip to Ed, who guessed right that it would capture my interest. Apparently, a second generation family business called Jimmy’s Johnnys was founded in the northern suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, four years before Jimmy John’s came into existence, all the way back in 1979.

Branding conflict? Trademark problem? Antitrust problem via brand extension and vertical integration (for tongue-in-cheek reasons that will become more apparent far, far below)?

Need more information?

What if Jimmy’s Johnnys isn’t selling sandwiches at all, but assuming its position in the food chain, by helping dispose of them, through this business (answer below the jump):


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"The name is Bond, James Bond," said Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others, countless times in film, as part of the famous 007 series. An ideal name for a secret agent. A name and line not easily forgotten, as brands and taglines should be.

And then, there are some names you’d like to forget, but can’t, especially if they are associated with personal injury lawyers, who probably "suk" even more than trademark lawyers (who merely have been dubbed the most basic figure), right?

Well, using Dan’s post from Friday, as a catapult (or, perhaps a hole-digger) for discussion, I’m thinking the jury is still out on 3 being the magic number, at least as it pertains to the 3 letters forming a rather rare surname (Suk) and the same number of words forming a curious (and hopefully misdescriptive) law firm name (Suk Law Firm), so, sorry Dan, I’m not sure there is any way to pull a rabbit out of the hat on this troubled tripartite branding combination:

Seeing the signage here, I’m thinking that any new or temporary receptionists at this law firm automatically require more intense phonetic training than your average law firm receptionist. In fact, this little gem (hat tip and photo credit to Max) probably rivals those spotted by Mark Prus in his recent guest post entitled: "Name Development Faux Pas, a.k.a. What Were They Thinking?!"

Ironically, the tagline for the Suk Law Firm is composed of these 3 words too: "Think About It."

So, I’m assuming they followed their own advice and did, but nevertheless, it probably came down the same way the Drury Inns name did, since the surnames in question no doubt have a great deal of goodwill associated with and emotional attachment to their founders. Might a naming consultant, nevertheless have said, forgetaboutit?

In any event, one of the things I’d be inclined to think about is how the brand name might sound when spoken, especially in a world where word-of-mouth marketing is key, and also how it might be perceived by those in the relevant public, given the possible truncation from its four-letter cousin. Apparently Suk, when the surname meaning is intended, sounds like "cook" or "book," not "pluck" or "stuck." Oh, the things phonetic punctuation symbols can and should be used to do, to help guide the intended meaning by signaling long and short vowel sounds! 

On a related note, it reminds me of the unintended meanings that can result when critical spacing is omitted, as was the case, between the branded words "LA  MER" to yield LAMER.

Although mispronouncing the Suk surname may be bad enough, when one examines the derivation of the name, it doesn’t appear to improve much on the meaning front either, since Suk apparently is not only a nickname for a "powerful, unyielding man," but also a "stubborn, awkward one". Hmmm, it’s all beginning to make sense now.

For those with any modicum of lingering interest, the Trademark Office’s treatment of SUK appears below the jump.


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In this edition of AlphaWatch, it appears another major brand owner is flirting with truncation and wants to be g too (of course, not to be confused with G2 or even G for that matter), despite the fact that the products associated with each brand might be considered complementary (assuming you’re looking to break a sweat):

So, guess who appears to be working on developing their own family or series of lil’ g marks (of course, not to be confused with another’s G Series)? Visual answer below the jump:


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 —Aaron Keller, Managing Principal at Capsule

The pattern of our society evolving from agrarian to manufacturing to service economy has been identified by many authors (Joseph Pine and Joe Gilmore being my favorites). Now, the next economy has been predicted to be everything from the information economy, the digital economy, the experience economy and