Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's in a naym?

Many said it couldn't be done, but Apple actually came up with a worse product name than iPad -- the iPhone 4S.

Setting aside the fact that folks were expecting the iPhone 5 (AAPL shares fell five percent on the news), Apple apparently didn't consider the fact that F and S sound the same when heard over the phone. (Frankly, F and Q sound the same on an iPhone.) So when you call your BFF and tell her you're talking to her on your new iPhone 4S, she's just as likely to hear "iPhone 4F."

As those of you old enough to remember the draft know, 4F is the military classification for "unfit for service." If the iPhone 4S shares its predecessor's performance limitations, iPhone 4F may well become its street name.

What you name your company, your organization, your product matters. A lot. If you have to spell out your domain name on your radio ads, you need a new name. (Government contractors are notorious for this, right QinetiQ?) If you have to visit before tweeting your company's name, you need a new name. If you have to explain your name (which we did), you need a new name (so we got one).

The Principal Network is now Doyle-McDonald ( I could tell you about all the research and expensive focus-group testing that went into this decision, but I'd be making that up. The fact is we just got tired of trying to explain what "The Principal Network" meant.

"No, not high-tech. Think of a network of communications experts who ..."
"No, no. We are not affiliated with that insurance company, but we do work with the financal services industry ..."
"Yes, we counsel educational institutions but we're not school principals ..."
" No, no, no. It's P-A-L dot com."

"Yes, DoyleMcDonald dot com. ... That's right, either spelling. ... Yes, very Irish. ... 'Gift of gab.' Ha! Hadn't heard that before. Thanks ... you, too. Buh-bye."

Best decision we've made this year.

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