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29 outubro 2015

Nome das empresas

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The world may one day discover whether there is a corporate equivalent of that bingo moment when all the possible names for companies have been tried. The West is creating start-ups at an unprecedented rate. Emerging-world companies are going global. Established companies are merging to form mind-boggling combinations: the soon-to-be ABInBev/SABMiller beermoth is rooted in five separate companies, Anheuser-Busch, Interbrew, AmBev, South African Breweries and Miller Brewing.

Companies are right to devote a lot of effort to thinking up names: they are the best chance of making a good first impression. Great names such as Google can provide the ultimate bonus of turning into a verb. Dismal ones like Monday (briefly the name of a consultancy) can cast a pall. But overcrowding is only one reason why finding a name is becoming more difficult. Globalisation has increased the possibility of giving offence in one language or another. Copyright law is a pain: companies have to go to great lengths to make sure that nobody has staked a claim to their favourite names. The biggest culprit is the internet: companies put a premium on finding convenient “domain names” that direct you to their websites, but many of the good ones have already been grabbed by name speculators.

The naming business has been shaped by four developments that suffer from the same generic problem: they briefly expand the number of names available but then succumb to tedium. The first is the fashion for made-up names that don’t mean anything in any known language but have a vaguely classical ring (Totvs, a Brazilian software firm, even uses a Latin-looking “v”). The trend probably began with Zeneca when it separated from ICI, a British chemicals company, in 1993. Two recent additions to the genre are Mondelez International, maker of Oreo biscuits, formerly part of Kraft, and Engie, the new identity for French utility GDF Suez. These ersatz names may be mildly preferable to an alphabet soup, but they actually do the opposite of what they were intended to do: rather than putting a human face on companies, they emphasise their lack of soul. Diageo imprisons some of the world’s most storied brands such as Guinness in one of the world’s blandest words.

The tech boom gave the naming industry a boost by introducing a new stream of tech-words: Google got its name from the mathematical term for ten to the power of 100 (a googol) and Tesla from a unit for measuring the density of a magnetic flux. But it is also responsible for a lot of tripe. Too many tech companies are either tediously wacky (Yahoo) or overly familiar (PayPal). Tech firms are as plagued by naming-imitation as by product-imitation: witness the fashion for incorporating “Buzz” in your name (after BuzzFeed) or the “-ify” suffix (after Spotify).

The third development is the fashion for “creative” names—the nominal equivalent of hipster beards. These are supposed to be the opposite of generic corporate names: concrete rather than abstract, eye-catching rather than bland. But, like hip beards, they suffer from the law of diminishing returns. Orange was probably the last company to get away with calling itself after a fruit. There are now so many financial-services companies giving themselves “pally” names (Wonga and QuickQuid) that you long for the good old days when banks called themselves after their founders (Lloyds) or even adopted bland initials (HSBC).

The most disappointing development has been globalisation. Some rising multinationals have memorable names that derive from their founding families, such as India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, a vehicle maker. But globalisation has not brought a naming renaissance. Mark Lee of Watermark & Co, a (cleverly named) branding consultancy, points out that four of the world’s ten biggest public companies have the word “China” in their names, such as PetroChina. Latin American companies are heavy on “X”s but light on inspiration, as in Cemex and Pemex. Brazil’s Eike Batista put an “X” in all his companies’ names to signify that he would multiply his investors’ capital—but then went bankrupt.


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Fonte: aqui

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