The trouble with words is that they don’t mean anything. People mean things – words are simply the form most commonly chosen by people to try to get their meaning into the mind of someone else.
But when I hear a word, do I hear the same as you? Consider a simple word like “green”, or choose something a little more controversial, like the word “good”. The word I say is not always what it seems… yet words tend to pass by unchallenged.
And so, as the average 21st Century verbal archaeologist (that’s you!) tries to uncover the meaning of the words he stumbles across in his day-to-day adventures, it is not unusual that he may, from time to time, fall short of full understanding.
The problem is rooted in 3 things:
- You can never know what I’m thinking and I can never know what you’re thinking and, while my seemingly inoffensive usage of common words might lead you to thinking you did understand me, there really is no guarantee.
- Every word I use has a meaning for me and a meaning for you. Given point (1) I can only assume that you mean the same thing as me.
- We seem compelled to want to share our thinking and meaning.
And now enter the brand name. Since the advent of the industrial revolution and the beginning of consumer choice, the brand name has been an effort to bring meaning about a product, company or service into the mind of the would-be consumer. This meaning may be a simple description of what the product, company or service is, like “Green”, or it could be something meant to illustrate some kind of value, like “Good”.
Let’s start with “Green”: “green” like grass, or “green” with envy? “Green” like money or “green” like golf? You can see the problem for the consumer!
And what if the brand name was supposed to elicit a value, such as “Goodness”? Is that “good” like “OK”, or “good” like “better than OK”? “Worthy”, or “Godly”?
This is the challenge of the brand name: put letters together to create a name that transfers the meaning, description or value of a product, company or service into the mind of the consumer.
But words don’t mean anything, people do.
And that’s why you have brand-name specialists!