More companies play name game

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Naming a company or product? Good luck finding a name that hasn't been taken.

Eighty-five percent of US companies created a new name for a product, service, company, or division during the past two years, according to Rivkin & Associates, a marketing and communications consultant in Glen Rock, N.J.

The survey of 600 American firms with 200 or more employees found that, in 1999, more than 265,000 new trademark name applications were added to the 1.16 million active and pending trademarks already registered in the US.

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Steve Rivkin, president of Rivkin & Associates, says the strong economy stimulates the creation of new names, "which puts more pressure on marketers to differentiate themselves as they play the new name game.... A lazy name is the kiss of death. A new name has to hit the trifecta - it has to be distinctive and meaningful and memorable."

Most companies use internal task forces to create new names or extensions of existing names.

The survey also found that fewer new names are being tested on consumers.

"What we're seeing is the pressure of making decisions more rapidly and getting goods and services to the marketplace as fast as possible," says Mr. Rivkin. "One of the casualties of that speed is time for testing and evaluating names."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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