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Teaching People How to Say Your Name – Pay Them!

While watching this year’s Super Bowl (just for the commercials, of course), I was struck by a commercial by Rakuten.  Never heard of them?  Neither had I.  It wasn’t the production quality or the brand strategy that interested me.  It was the fact that the entirety of the commercial was to teach people how to pronounce their name!  Give it a go before watching the ad.

I found this interesting on a couple of different levels:

  1. Many companies are in a similar predicament and most just live with the friction and don’t even make an attempt at fixing the problem.
  2. Many newly formed companies, during the laborious task of coming up with a great company name, end up either settling on a bad name or purposely pick a misspelling thinking it feels clever – think Flickr or Chick-fil-a or Dunkin’ or Digg or, or, or…
  3. Companies that choose misspellings or have names that have their roots in a foreign language are not only difficult to pronounce, they’re also difficult to remember.

So, what is a company to do?

How about creating an entire marketing campaign that turns the correct pronuciation of your name into a money-making contest?!  BRILLIANT!

Here’s our input:

  1. If you’re working on a new identity and you’re eyeball deep in the name creation process, please don’t settle, and (most importantly) listen to our podcast on the Naming Process.
  2. This kind of marketing concept may only work a handful of times.  If you’re in this situation right now AND have the marketing budget, we suggest that you “go for it” and creatively spin up a campaign similar to this.  Once you’ve seen this approach done a handful of times, it’ll be too late and you’ll need to come up with another creative way to get people to remember your name.

Now, if I could only find where they’re keeping those kiosks filled with cash!



Top 100 #SocialMedia Influencer (2015, via StatSocial), speaker, brand strategist, web geek, chess nerd, upright bass newb and lover of sushi!

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