What’s in a name?

How do you pronounce that? (From the Facebook page)
How do you pronounce that? (From the Facebook page)

You have to give credit to the agency (Arnold Worldwide) which, faced with creating commercials for the recently renamed Sovereign Bank, came up with idea of embracing the potential pronunciation problem – Santander.

“Hi! We’re Santander Bank, and we look forward to getting to know you. The only thing is we’ve noticed people have trouble saying Santander…” (Listen to the full commercial).

I’m not sure what is more difficult – renaming a business, or naming a child. (Want to discuss pronunciation problems? Ask our son Anders). In either case there are no lack of debates whether the name should be traditional or creative; lists of names and spelling variations, and opinions – mostly unsolicited – about the final choice.

Unlike expectant parents, when selecting a name for a bank or business we have the option to research ideas, public perceptions and potential names. Utilizing available tools, we can test closely held ideas – Is a name that includes a town “portable?” What do businesses think of names which include “savings?” Does anyone know what “cooperative” means as it relates to a bank? Should you use an established regional identifier, or make up a new word?

The answers you receive to these questions may surprise, reassure, or inspire you.

While the final name is clearly important, there are plenty of examples of organizations including Walpole Co-operative BankRedneck BankAvidia Bank, and Middlesex Savings Bank that succeed, while using names that seem to defy conventional wisdom.

So do your research, engage in the debates and discussions, then, like Santander, embrace your final choice.

Next up – What’s in your logo?

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