Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Company Names, Language, and All That

Even a business that spends nothing on advertising should pay attention to "marketing." Sometimes that simply means doing a good job so that the neighbors will keep coming back, or choosing an appropriate name.

In my youth, before the Internet, Telstar, and international direct dialing, common sense was enough for most marketing decisions. It still is, but I think we need to make more of an effort to learn about customers and clients today.

That's particularly true when a company starts attracting attention in other countries. For instance, someone introducing a chain of landscaping services in another country might think that combining two family names might make it seem more 'local.' I think that makes sense, but Bush-Hacker Landscaping might not be a good name: even if those really were names of the company's American partners.

That brings me to a company name I ran into recently. It's headquartered in Japan, and translated its name into English for use on this side of the Pacific. Toyota and Honda did something like that for their American branches, and have done pretty well.

In this case, though, I don't think the folks who decided on the English translation were entirely familiar with American English. Over here, the outfit's name looks and sounds entirely too much like "[redacted] Wannabe."

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