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Of Interest:

Color Us Impressed

We were delighted to see the New York Times address the topic of names and naming in today’s paper, with specific reference to the changing style of color names in the paint industry. It seems that more companies are taking the opportunity to let the name tell a story or describe an experience, rather than being merely descriptive.

As paint names and colors are apparently never retired, and as there are only so many ways to say ’green,’ we’re not surprised to hear about the marketers looking to leverage the name to help themselves stand out in the increasingly crowded marketplace. We think the name is the single most overlooked opportunity to leverage one’s marketing dollar.

Feathery Names

We note an essay in the forthcoming New York Times Book Review discussing the tradition of authors using a ‘nom de plume,’ the reasons they may do so, and the interesting complications that may ensue.

These days, with anonymity quickly being relegated to the pre-web days, the essay points out that multiple online personas are hardly a rarity, but are most often used to bolster or attack someone’s reputation. Very different from the much older and once more commonly held view that pseudonyms exist primarily for 1) women writing as men; 2) writers with a secret to hide; or 3) otherwise well-regarded individuals “slumming it” in genre writing.

Imbalanced Humours?

We tend to think of all things medical as being rather serious and humorless, but this article rounds up several instances of potentially problematic names for medical conditions requiring a doctor’s care.

The name of the article speaks for itself:

Ten Serious Medical Problems With Cutesy Names


First Impressions Last

Well, this is bound to give rise to argument...

recent study shows an apparent link between academic success and a child’s first name. While naming traditions vary across cultures and socioeconomic strata, the study seem to show that certain names saddle the bearer with preconceptions that have a negative impact on classroom grades, which in turn limits further opportunities as the child grows. More simply put: some names give the impression that the bearers are more stupid than they may actually be, and people will treat the bearer accordingly.

Double Plus Ungood

We noted an article over the weekend that got our goat good. Apparently, the fine folks at the TSA now take the position that being upset at TSA screening procedures is indication of terrorist intentions. So now expressing concern that one’s constitutional rights are being abrogated is sufficient cause to have those rights taken away. So much for freedom of speech, or from unreasonable search & seizure. George Orwell’s ghost must be jealous he didn’t come up with this idea first.

Ways of Being, and the Power of Words

We’re big fans of Virginia Heffernan, and glad to see she now has her own column in the Sunday New York Times. On today’s op-ed page, she has a piece exploring the way we use words to shape opinion, with specific reference to “internet addiction.” We found the article to be thoughtful and thought provoking on several levels, and the comments in response were good reading in their own right.

She observes: “In general, if a pastime is not classy, those who love it are “addicted.” Opera and poetry buffs are “passionate.””

This echoes
George Lakoff’s work on “Framing” rather pithily. The words we use to describe an object or condition have everything to do with how we perceive it, individually or as part of a group. To paraphrase the Simpsons, a rose would not smell as sweet if it were called a stench blossom, or a crapweed.

At Nomenon, we’re keenly aware of the power and effect of words well-chosen, and we’d be glad to bring our expertise to bear on your naming and branding needs, ensuring positive response in your target market.