A friend, Lyn, is opening a toy store and over drinks said, “I know what my inventory will be and I know who I want to draw. What I don’t know is what to call the store.”
It was at this point that Susan, beloved wife, partner, all things great and good, attempted to drag me out of the restaurant. “Never give Joseph a problem to solve” is one of her maxims.
But in this case, too late. I was already off.
What’s in a Name?
Anybody remember Nasalcrom? And even if you don’t, would you use it? I still remember the commercial in which the announcer said, “Nasalcrom,” then stared at the camera and loudly and belligerently said, “That’s right, Nasalcrom!”
The agony of appropriate naming is profound. You think you worry about naming a child? That’s nothing. Name a product some time. Whoosh!
The initial conditions are:
- Audience – anybody shopping for 0-9 year olds with a max cap at 11-12 year olds (definitely preteens). Mostly upscale shoppers. Possibly interested in having a section of adult games (not hobbies, not roleplaying games, …).
- Price – US$0-250
- Focus – Educational toys, socially oriented toys
So I came up with some names (in order of preference):
|The Toy Factory||Obvious while using “Factory” to add some appeal (concept of growth, maturation) to your target audience|
|The Kidz Toy Factory||This possible alternative will decrease your market reach while focusing your market on people shopping for an age-based toy. You need to decide what your overall objectives are.|
|Tiddlywink Toys||Won’t capture entirety of described audience, definitely focuses on those shopping for 0-3/4 year olds|
|Totally Toys||Won’t capture described audience and will bring in a much larger audience. This will be the name to use if you plan on increasing your audience over time.|
|Funtastic Toys||Might be good and will cause you to reconsider your inventory over time. Benefits and detriments much as Totally Toys|
|Thinkin’ Toys||Excellent for a section of the store, probably too much segmentation for a store name unless your geographic population is large enough to support it|
|Lollipop Toy Shop||Increases benefits/detriments inherent in Tiddlywink Toys|
|Toy Zone||Definitely will cause a rethink of inventory as you’ll bring in monied 10-15/16 year olds|
|Specialty Toys||Won’t capture described audience, however combined with above to produce Specialty Toys Zone (as awkward sounding as it is) might be good while focusing audience without losing target audience. See Creating TagLines that are Remembered: Alliteration and Syllabation|
|Unique Toys||Won’t capture described audience, will bring in alternative audiences (price point would need to be higher if nothing else)|
|The Learning Palace||This would cover your “adult” toys/games, as would Specialty Toys Zone above or Specialty Games&Toys|
The big challenge to most of the names listed is that they’re not cognitively brandable (they won’t create a lingering impression that someone will reference again and again and again (ie, they’re forgettable names because every town has something similar)).
The simple way around this is to use Lyn as part of the brand. Thus you’d have Lyn’s Specialty Games&Toys, Lyn’s Specialty Toy Zone and so on. Note that this option negates the some items in the list. That aside, associating an individual so closely with a brand can have negative impact down the road should the exit strategy being selling the business. When the owner is the brand the transfer of image needs to be handled very carefully (think Orville Redenbacher or Frank Perdue).
The goal of branding anything is to create an association between offering and offeree that goes well beyond the material and lands deep in the offeree’s psycho-emotional being and is the art of making the customer want to know you (see Usability Studies 101: Brand Loyalty and Reading Virtual Minds for more on this).
In the end, it’s not about product or price at all, it’s a wish made by the consumer and promised by the business’ brand. Meet the consumer’s internal expectation and it won’t matter what you have on the shelves. As in Field of Dreams, they will return to your store, your offering because they feel rewarded simply by doing so, not because of their purchases there. And of course, the more they return to your store and offering the more they’re branded (excellent!) and the more they’re not at your competition (very excellent!).
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