The International Power Of a Good Name

Luke Johnson, writing in today’s Financial Times reminds us that “the power of words – how they sound, how they look, what connotations they bring – should never be underestimated.” and goes on to say “the internet has only intensified competition for English (business) names, since domains like dotcom are instantly international.”

In today’s Business Without Borders environment, Johnson reminds us that:

Online search engines have amplified the value of a good name. Every technically literate entrepreneur knows their company’s web address is vital if there are to attract digital traffic.

He cites examples of good globalization friendly names: Viagra, Youtube, and Blackberry, and illustrates how a balance must be struck (Diageo instead of Guinness), and how the dynamics of today’s economy can turn tradition on its head:

Avoid being too precious, obscure or stuffy about names. The French have clung on to their complex system for designating wine, part of the reason they have relentlessly lost export market share to New World rivals. But some growers are beginning to learn: the fastest growing French white in the US is called Fat Bastard Chardonnay.

Funny, I thought it was Scottish

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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