It’s time again for a medical check. As we approach 2005, it’s best to know if your corporate identity image is healthy, slightly injured or on a life-support system. You have to know this, as only healthy images are fit to run the race, and potentially win. Injured corporate identities can surely stay in the race, but it would cost a lot more to keep them running as they lag behind.
The ones on life-support constantly need a dose of oxygen just to stay alive and will cost as much as 10 times more. Ad agencies love the great promotional challenge of continuously supporting all these unhealthy candidates, but for a corporation, these open-ended ad budgets are real killers. Often no amount of money can cure a sickly corporate name identity as customers simply shut out these unhealthy, dysfunctional name images.
Audit, Modify, Aim, Fire
The role of this quick audit is to find the truth and have an objective analysis. It’s very easy to determine the fitness status of all your name identities. Just open a simple audit process.
Start with an open mind and hunt for any possible problems, rather than feel good about how great your existing name identity and image is. You can easily hire people to agree with your name-image; a focus group or any general brand evaluation processes are nothing but that, an exercise in handholding discussions to arrive at a supportive approval without rocking the boat.
Sure, your corporate name identity must have some good points, yet it might equally be suffering immensely with a few serious negative connotations. How do you really know what part of your corporate name image is seriously hurting your corporation?
A Simple Test
A healthy name identity is very distinct, unique, short and simple, highly related to your business and globally protected with a matching URL. This will make it a “Five Star Quality Name.”
Charting this breakdown is not rocket science, rather basic common sense. Apply it to your name and openly debate. Injured names are highly diluted with so many other identical names, without any unique position, lost on search engines, tied to a local geography, too long or initialized, confusing and cumbersome. This charting of these symptoms is also easy to identify.
Just go onto any search engine and the problem will be obvious. You see hundreds of identical names or names that are too long getting initialized, taking your crucial marketing messages into the strangest places.
The names on Life-Support are in serious trouble. They emulate different meanings, and signals and can be spelled in different ways. Customers are never sure of their purpose, as they lack clarity. There are no matching URLs or no global trademarks. These names are the real enemies to your projects. A properly charted summary can easily prove all this to your management.
Corporations that have paid millions in adopting such identities still continue to spend millions in explaining their name, often stay in denial and will not accept this fundamental analysis.
These names simply bleed and sink some very great projects. Ask yourself the real question: if a name is clearly injured, then why do corporations spend millions to hide its serious limitations?
There are many simple methods to check this. Only when you really know the fitness status and true strengths of your corporate name identities can a solid corporate image can be built.
Mathematics of Corporate Name Identity
A real healthy name for global marketing based on the proper standards of naming and with a “Five Star Quality” only costs about US$10 each day over 10 years. Somehow this ridiculously small amount is simply ignored.
A corporation is comfortable with spending millions of dollars per day on ad campaigns that supply oxygen to support a seriously injured and dying name. For this reason alone, when the fireworks of glitzy campaigns are over, the corporations are simply left with ashes. Customers will never try harder to remember any dysfunctional name. The minute the ad money runs out, so do the names.
A healthy five star quality name shines and grows steadily with very little support. It attracts customers and in time accumulates a clear awareness in the marketplace. It also maintains a highly proprietary name value and continuously builds equity in the process. It is so simple.
It seems that there is a branding undercurrent to over use the holistic words and find hundreds of different reasons to push an injured name. What is really required is a healthy corporate attitude to acquire solid healthy names.
Cyber-Visibility: Cheapest Game in Town
Whatever you spent last year in your total advertising and promotion to gain attention is now available under brand new techniques of cyber-visibility for about 1 percent of that cost.
Rather than developing the old-fashioned big picture, big budget, big campaigns, you can now have a cyber branding, marketing and visibility strategy at a fraction of the cost, yet a hundred times more powerful than the old system. Ten thousand dollars will get you the equivalent of a million dollar promotional power. It is so easy and so black and white.
How and why? If corporate identity’s main function is to create an image and identity among the customers, then a cyber visibility can achieve this with a proper strategy on e-commerce, rather than pushing sluggish logos, taglines, billboards and conventional advertising blitzes.
True, you will always need some advertising support, business cards, stationery and building signage, but the old crazy fireworks will not shake the global markets. Tens of millions of dollars were routinely wasted by who then were some very famous but now are very timid and very confused bearers of the dusty corporate identities.
Open the global corporate identity and image debate. Just pick up a thermometer to measure the rise or fall of your corporate identity image based on the fitness of your name-identity, together with a calculator to tabulate the right budgets; it’s all so easy to figure this out. Fitness of a corporate name identity will be the deciding factor for staying in the global race.
Naseem Javed, author Naming for Power and alsoDomain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global nameidentities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank, aconsultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executiveworkshops on image and name identity issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.