Memetic Naming: A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

Check out this link to find a pretty good overview of traditional brand thinking when it comes to brand naming:

What makes a winning brand name? A name that requires no introduction, no explanation and very little advertising to give it clout.

Here is great new thinking about naming from Seth Godin:

A long time ago, the goal of a name was to capture the essence of your positioning. To deliver a USP, so you could establish supremacy in your space just with your name. International Business Machines and Shredded Wheat were good efforts at this approach.

It quickly became clear, though, that descriptive names were too generic, so the goal was to coin a defensible word that could acquire secondary meaning and that you could own for the ages. That’s why “Jet Blue” is a much better name than “Southwest” and why “Starbucks” is so much better than “Dunkin Donuts”.

“Naming companies” flourished, charging clients hundreds of thousands of dollars to coin made up words like Altria.

And here is a something that made me think – hey!  a memetic brand name! 

What do you think?  Life ain’t easy for a boy named sue, but its that name that had memetic qualities and implications far beyond any traditional notion of market positioning.

UPDATE: Doug added a great comment below: “I think one person who has used his memetic name quite well is Om Malik, of GigaOm.com – the homonymic relation to ohm gives it a tech luster while keeping the sense of the personal perspective of a curator of information.”

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4 Responses to “Memetic Naming: A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash”

  1. Signal of Altruistic Type and Corporate Motivations « Social Capital Value Add Says:

    […] blog … A Worthy Request: Signal of Altruistic TypeMemetic Naming: A Boy Named Sue – Johnny CashAre relationships […]

  2. Doug Says:

    I think one person who has used his memetic name quite well is Om Malik, of GigaOm.com – the homonymic relation to ohm gives it a tech luster while keeping the sense of the personal perspective of a curator of information.

  3. Michael Cayley Says:

    Thanks Doug – that is a comment that deserves an update the post (not to mention a link/trackback to Om, lookin’ for a little love 😉

    cheers,
    mc

  4. Social Capital Value Add » Signal of Altruistic Type and Corporate Motivations Says:

    […] Douma, the real Johnny Cash of social media, started this train of thought rolling with a worthy request. He is a great guy and his sister is […]


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