Absurdly Turdly: Computers Creating Metaphors

Metaphors are powerful. As James Geary explained in his Ted Talk, "Metaphorically Speaking," we get a more vivid understanding of something because of all the analogies triggered by its metaphor. In branding, metaphors create expectations by linking the brand to...

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Kraft Gets Startlingly Honest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV-opIMAtD4 No parent is perfect, but sometimes you can do better. Other times you can't, and that's why there's Kraft Mac and Cheese. Honesty is powerful. Instead of delivering yet another tired promise of convenience and time-savings,...

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Brain Rules for Naming — #1

How many ads is the average person exposed to every day? Nobody really knows for sure, but estimates range from 3,000 to 20,000. Even at the low end of the estimate, that's a lot of competition for a customer's attention. So when you're creating a name, it's essential...

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Brain Rules for Naming — Intro

John Medina has done humankind a huge favor. In his book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, Medina synthesizes a body of scientific knowledge in a concise, comprehensible and yes, even entertaining fashion. There’s a...

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Brain Rules for Naming — #2

In my previous post, I introduced one of John Medina's brain rules, and perhaps the most important one for naming and branding: "We don't pay attention to boring things." So what do we pay attention to? We pay attention to things that make us feel something, and...

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The Storm with No Name

As the devastating floodwaters in Louisiana begin to recede, many are questioning why so many people were unaware of the risks. And some people are suggesting that it's because the storm didn't have a name. Instead, residents heard warnings of "heavy rain" and...

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Feel the Burn

Peruse the many brands of hot sauce available in the U.S. and you'll find a collection of raucous names alluding to the potency of the sauce inside the bottle. Many names gleefully defy the safe and staid conventions of packaged goods, referring not to taste or...

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Out of the Dorm Room

Tech Naming Grows Up Are technology entrepreneurs wising up about startup naming? After the silliness of Web 2.0 naming (which brought us “Doostang,” "Thoop,” “Tagtooga,” “Xobni,” "Joomla,” “Meemo,” "Sporge" and countless other brands, most of which have faded into...

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Strange Fruit

Racist brands have littered our marketplace for decades. Some, like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's, have made modest attempts to appear less offensive, while others (I'm looking at you, Washington Redskins) staunchly defend their brands against mounting criticism. But it...

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USPTO Cancels Redskins Trademark

In Landmark Decision, US Patent Office Cancels Trademark for Redskins Football Team “We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were...

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A Darker Shade of Black

SeaWorld is in a world of hurt. The marine attraction is weathering a storm brought on by "Blackfish," a documentary exposing its practice of capturing killer whales in the wild, separating them from their families and holding them in captivity--which, for animals...

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Why Negative Connotations May Not Be So Bad

Nothing scares marketing people more than negative connotations in a brand name under consideration. They imagine the worst: Customers recoiling from the brand. The brand launch fizzling. Ridicule from coworkers. Reprisals from management. But in reality, rarely do...

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