Tag Archives: Naming

Happy Socks

Happy Socks is not anymore just socks, it is underwear and now as well swimwear. How a great brand idea to turn everyday accessories into happy designed colorful items gets limited by the name.

I am a huge fan of the Swedish brand Happy Socks. In fact, my closet is full of their happy colorful socks 🙂 Happy Socks did something remarkable – they made a boring accessory item (socks!) into a hip fashion statement and succeeded.

The mix of focus on colorful socks, decent quality and a band name that boozes energy in a boring category works well. Their socks are truly happy compared to the traditional socks – and don’t we all need a little bit more happiness once in a while?

So, I understand that at the Happy Socks Headquarters the owners must have been thinking…. let’s replicate the success to other closely related categories like underwear. Now, I do have a couple of Happy Socks underwear items too, and it is just weird. I mean, a logo that reads Happy Socks on underwear is not the best possible combination.

 

Recently I got an email about a new line of products: swimwear. Yes, seriously – think about the following conversation:
-A- You wear cool swimwear!
-B- Thanks!
-A- What is it?
-B- Happy socks
-A- Sorry?

Of course, the core idea of the brand can be replicated to other categories as well – but in case of Happy Socks, the core brand name will forever be limiting.

In this case there are two options:
1. Stick with the category of socks – and take more market share
2. Bring the other products under a different brand

 

Do you recognise the challenges of your company in this article? Do you need clarity in brand architecture and optimising it for long term cross-sell and up-sell? Just get in touch with me. 

Even Apple products deserve a beautiful name

The new Apple products are still very Apple and introduced to the market in an Apple way. Think different still counts.

Take Apple Photos. It is the replacement product for both the consumer and professional products iPhoto and Aperture. Apple Photos was received with criticism because of lacking functionality.

Exactly Apple!

Two existing products had to be replaced because they had to change. The fact that it will take time before the missing functionality is back is fine with Apple.

Power of the ecosystem

Then Apple Watch, the first real smart watch. Developers see opportunities through the power of the ecosystem. Again typical Apple, after all, as Jobs in 2004 said “the core technology [or consumer devices] is going to be software” and after iPod, iPhone and iPad that is also the case with Apple Watch.

And the latest addition is Apple Music, in which Apple took the old concept of Radio and give it a new look with Beats 1, the radio station that broadcasts live from different cities around the world.

The real big change

The real big change is that all these products are all brought directly under the Apple brand on the market: the strong Apple brand is followed by a descriptive name.

Apple is apparently abandoning the unique – recognizable – one word names such as Mac, iPhone and iPad for products.

This is in itself a logical “top-down” decision. In this way Apple Photos, Apple Watch and Apple Music all contribute immediately to the Apple brand.

However, if you look “bottom-up” I am convinced that when Apple had given all products unique names, such as iWatch, it would really contribute to the success of Apple. The success of iPod and iPhone were instrumental to the success of the Apple brand. You do not hear many people saying “I want an Apple”, but in stead your hear “I want an iPhone for my graduation”.

Unique names make it also easy to talk about your products. “I stream music from Beats on my iWatch” is much better than “I stream music using Apple Music on my Apple Watch”. Consider also the search query “how to edit photos in photos” which is weird in itself. In the result you find not only Apple Photos but also Google Photos. Or just search for “apple photos” and indeed you get photos of apples.

With beautiful brand-worthy products you make as a brand difference. With unique names you make it even easier to talk about them. And that is precisely the purpose of a brand!

Product naming going wrong, case: Apple Final Cut Pro X.

Since 2005 Apple has sold a professional video and audio production suite for OS X named Final Cut Studio. The core product inside this suite is Final Cut Pro, a video editing product. It has been around since 1999 and is used by many filmmakers.

A couple of weeks ago Apple launched the long-awaited successor of Final Cut Pro 7, called Final Cut Pro X.

Here is a test for all readers… by just looking at the name and without possibly any prior knowledge of Final Cut Pro…  what would you expect of Final Cut Pro X as a successor of Final Cut Pro 7 ?

Could it be: everything from version 7 and much much much more… including some super new innovations in video editing (why otherwise use the X in the name)? This expectation building was happening inside the community. To sum it up with two words, the expectation was nothing less than total awesomeness.

Apple however decided to do things differently. They build Final Cut Pro X from the ground up as a new product, leaving many features desired by the Final Cut Pro 7 audience out. To name a few: importing of video projects from version 7 to X does not work (hey? why do you call it still Final Cut Pro if it cannot handle Final Cut Pro files?), multicam editing (hey? isn’t this a Pro feature?) and many more.

Professional editors get even more the feeling that this is not a Pro product when they launch Final Cut Pro X for the first time. At that time a dialog is presented to import iMovie projects. iMovie is Apple’s entry video editing product that is part of iLife. Products considered to be used in the home environment, not by professionals…

As a result of all of this the product is rated really bad on the Apple Mac App Store. And note, consumers can only rate after they purchased the USD 299 product:

For any Apple product these are not normal ratings, far from it! So the question is could it be that the name positions the product wrong? I think partly it is. Let’s take a look:

  1. A name has a meaning. There is Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5. A consumer expects all of these to be photoshop. The same applies for Final Cut Pro. Unfortunately Final Cut Pro X has little or nothing to do with the previous Final Cut Pro 7.
  2. Do not alienate your target audience. Clearly, for whatever reason Apple is not after the professional market and that is of course totally fine. But it is not smart to let your previous target audience believe you still make a great product for them. In stead, Apple could have simply named the product iMovie Pro as many have suggested on their product reviews on the Apple Mac App Store. That way it would have been clear to the professional market that they should switch to another brand, without letting them buy Final Cut Pro X and be double disappointed. At the same time not naming the product Final Cut Pro would show to the professional consumer that there now is a product beyond iMovie that is not as hard to use as Final Cut Pro was. Something Apple clearly wants to achieve.

Take a look at the two reviews below. These reviews were served first when searching for Final Cut Pro X on July 19.

The big questions: would all of this have been different if the product was called “iMovie Pro”?
… And by doing so would the one star ratings go away?
… Would the endless complaining about the Final Cut Pro X not being the same as Final Cut Pro 7 go away?
Ultimately: would the product have been positioned correctly by naming it properly?
Screenshot from July 19, click to enlarge

Old Spice… no matter how hard you try the brand still reads Old… Spice…

I must say that I love P&Gs Old Spice commercials fighting men to “stop using lady-scented body wash!”. They truly stem from an insight: there are men who use the body wash from their wives & girlfriends. Well I guess more likely from their wives… less need to impress.  So Old Spice has a point: wake up, stop smelling like rosewater and put on a decent guy smell!

So far so good but… do we men really want to identify themselves to anything that comes close to “old” or “old spice”?  To me there is a bit of a branding problem here: the brand is funny and playful  (just check out their site and commercials) but the brand name is nothing like it. Who wants to be reminded to “old” and “old spice” every time you take a shower, while washing a body that gets older and less spicy every day? A nice reminder isn’t it? Old… Spice, no thank you!