Monday, February 27, 2012

What’s in a Name? 8 Naming Principles for Association Management Professionals

Driving past a Dairy Queen, a sign promoted Choco Cherry Love Blizzards®.

Cool name.

It got me to thinking about the importance of naming to associations and nonprofit organizations.

  • One organization I worked with created a new, multi-tiered membership program ... and called it “Membership of Your Choice.” And, 54% of the members signed up!
  • Another organization I worked for changed its annual meeting from the “national convention” to the industry’s “Expo” ... and attendance increased 34% in the first year.
  • The National Corn Growers and American Soybean Association created a joint annual conference and named it the Commodity Classic. Attendance skyrocketed. And in calling it Commodity Classic rather than the Corn-Soy Classic allowed the National Sorghum Producers Association and National Association of Wheat Growers to join later which boosted the Classic into the major event in agriculture.
  • Do you recall the story of how Allegheny Airlines (nicknamed Agony Air) became US Airways? Although I cannot find evidence of it, I was told in the early 1980s that the name was selected because in consumer research the fictitious name USAir had higher customer services ratings that did the real Allegheny Airlines.
  • A leading lobbyists in DC once shared with me that “the one who names the issue or bill wins.”
As I was considering blogging about naming, I received from Copy Blogger a link to a FastCompany article on The 8 Principles of Product Naming.

Here are the 8 Principles and examples of each:
1. MAKE IT MEMORABLE - Example: Yummy Tummy Koalas
2. FILL IT WITH MEANING - Example: Visa
3. SAY IT OUT LOUD - Example: Schweppes
4. DON’T WAIT TO FALL IN LOVE - Example: Google
5. LISTEN TO YOUR FEAR - Example: BlackBerry
6. STAND OUT IN A CROWD - Example: W Hotels
7. TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH - Example: Accenture

Whether you are rebranding your organization (with a new name) or looking to “jump start” your conference or membership, consider these principles in your work.

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