What’s in a name?

Those of you that have done a www.who.is search will know this is a new blog, the domain name was created on 16th December 2010 and as most of you will appreciate, coming up with an available, new, short, .com, memorable domain name that is kinda (in a way) relevant to what you are doing isn’t easy.

I like the name I chose (I also bought the name with the prefix ‘the’ but didn’t go too mad).

When I told my colleagues what I’d chosen, one of the guys asked me if I knew what a ‘pocket book’ was in America? – it’s a handbag! Weirdly, while watching “Columbo’ on tv over the holidays, he did indeed look through a womens’ ‘pocketbook’.

I’m actually quite happy with this cultural / geographic variation of meaning (I’m a girl), but it highlights that the most generic terms should be investigated if your potentially going to be found internationally when choosing a name….

Cross cultural marketing mistakes are a way of understanding the impact poor cultural awareness or translations can have on a product or company when selling abroad and need to be explored before launching any domain name marketing. There are obviously more famous examples than me and my ‘handbag’…

Apparently in 2002, Umbro the UK sports manufacturer had to withdraw its new trainers (sneakers) called the Zyklon. The firm received complaints from many organisations and individuals as it was the name of the gas used by the Nazi regime to murder millions of Jews in concentration camps.

I was also told that Honda introduced their new car “Fitta” into Nordic countries in 2001. If they had taken the time to undertake some cross cultural marketing research they may have discovered that “fitta” was an old word used in vulgar language to refer to a woman’s genitals in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. In the end they renamed it “Honda Jazz”.

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into “Schweppes Toilet Water.”

It can happen to the best of us!

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