What’s in a Name?

For reasons both profound and petty, what you name your product matters.

This article from Business Week goes into the latest status between the 2 competing hi-def disk formats (HD DVD, and Blu-ray). While this battle has been going on for two years, and while I have no idea what the exact technical merits are for each format, I’ll give my opinion on the branding winner, hands-down.

blu-ray-disc.jpgBlu-ray. Why? Because it’s a cool name. HD DVD is not cool – it’s boring. Petty? Yes indeed. But if I’d just purchased a new-fangled player, I’d feel a lot prouder to say to my friends, “Hey, come on over and see my new Blu-ray player and disks!”

So many companies, especially technology companies, don’t get this. Look, if you’re going to invest a boatload of money into developing a product, why would you launch it with a weak name? Would you launch the Queen Mary 2 by breaking a bottle of Sam’s Club cola over it and dubbing it the “QM 877 Ocean Transport System”?

(as an aside, I saw a Blu-ray disk showing on a large HD panel TV in a store last week, and the resolution and detail were absolutely out of this world. I’m sure that a HD DVD would have looked cool too. But it is easier to remember that I saw Blu-ray!)

(just noticed an article on the NY Times website, about the tendency of new web companies to use nonsense names. Worth a read.)