When artist Prince, decided to change its stage name to a symbol that looked something like this: O(+>, the record label was forced to distribute computer disks containing the new font when sending press releases in order to have publications write about the release. The symbol was unpronounceable, so radio stations, publications, and the audience opted for the simple solution of saying “The artist formerly known as Prince”. The adoption of the symbol was a tool of subversion, the artist had used to mess with the label. According to Bustle, the artist was asked by the record label to slow down and stop releasing so many albums because apparently he was flooding the market. The now iconic symbol (shown below) started as an act of rebellion, and only a brand as powerful as Prince was able to pull a stunt like this.
When you are launching a new product or service, it is important to know if your audience will be able to pronounce your name correctly, and with the prominence search engines and social media have in our buyer’s journey nowadays, it is imperative that the name of your brand is consistent across all platforms and it is easy to write without thinking about it twice. You may only have a first shot when somebody decides to look you up online.
Not taking this into consideration might cost your organization more in the long run. Once you have invested money to legally protect your brand, the last thing you want to discover is that you may need to launch an educational campaign to teach your customers how to pronounce your name.
Now famous sparkling water LaCroix, found an opportunity in this area when they noticed that people were debating the correct pronunciation of their brand. They decided to publish it in their website with an interesting wordplay: “La-CROY. It rhymes with enjoy” (https://www.lacroixwater.com/nutritionals/how-is-lacroix-pronounced/)
Why I pay attention to these things? Because during my years producing television Game Shows, people thought that my last name “Gamez”, was me trying to pull a personal branding stunt. I have had to deal with a lot of pronunciation and spelling education. A lot of people easily mistake my last name for Gomez. When trying to get a job or get recognition for an accomplishment, to name a few examples, I need to make sure that my name is something that can be recalled without a lot of effort, and that is just at a personal level… I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for a product or service brand discovering this too late, and having to start a reactive campaign to amend the situation. By the way: Gamez, rhymes with Amex.
STATUS: If you are trying to think of a name for your future children, or know someone in the process of doing so. Stop for a second, don’t be selfish! Their names are not for you to prove your creativity to the world. This is not about you. They will grow and move out. Don’t do this to them. Keep it simple and universal. They will thank you later. Same goes to your products.