We Count Only Blue Cars

Apologies to Dishwalla for borrowing the lyrics from their hit song “Counting Blue Cars,” but this lyric is actually a wonderful observation of human nature. It is also representative of a common mistake in naming. Nobody counts white cars. So why do so many companies give their products generic or descriptive “white car” names? I face this issue regularly with clients.

Most clients lean towards generic or descriptive names despite the obvious issues with trademarks. They want to name their product “Fast Chop” because “fast chopping” is the main benefit of their product. The obvious reason why clients prefer generic or descriptive names is simple: they believe it saves on advertising costs. Every package of their product is a descriptive billboard that communicates their main benefit!

What they fail to consider that most times their competitive set consists of products called EZ Chop, Speed Chop, QuickChop, TurboChop, etc. To the end consumer, “Fast Chop” is a white car in a sea of white cars. Nobody is going to notice “Fast Chop” even if the name is prominent on the package. Any advertising that is done will be wasted as well. Consumers will think the product is great, but when they get to the shelf they will be confused by all the similar names and similar products.

If all you see all day is white cars, but one day you see a blue car…I bet that would get your attention, wouldn’t it?

Keep your competitive framework top-of-mind when considering the name of your product or business. Don’t settle for a “white car” name if the market consists of white car names. Insist on a blue car name…one that communicates the product benefits in a unique way.

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