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Naming Matters: Eschew the Fancy “E”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Laurel

 

Ye Olde English Condo Development

Ye Olde English Condo Development

I was traveling on a train recently and I found myself staring at the station sign at Bay Pointe, the name of a new housing development. Is it pronounced “bay point” or “bay point-ee” or “bay point-ay?” I wondered. Who decided on that spelling? What’s the deal with that Fancy E?

Adding that superfluous “e” at the end of an English noun is supposed to make a name sound old, established, and premium. In the writer’s mind, it hearkens back to Ye Olde Middle English, Shakespeare, QE1, and all of that—instant class. But while that might have been true a hundred years ago, adding that Fancy E now just makes your name look stale and a wee bit pretentious. Probably not what you were going for!

When naming something—whether it’s a company, a product, or a service—resist the urge to use tricks like the Fancy E, faux-French language (like adding “le” in front of the name), or hopping on the Tumblr/Flickr/Scribd dropped-e bandwagon. As with your copywriting, you should strive for simplicity and clarity. Creating a name that your customers (or even co-workers!) have to puzzle out will distance you from them and may even undercut your message.

If you’re naming something that’s strictly B2B, such as a service or a software product, your best bet is to choose something simple and descriptive. Does your product manage content? Call it Content Manager—simple, quick, and to the point. Research has shown that business decision makers want to know what a product does as quickly as possible; they don’t have time to guess the benefit or warm up to a quirky, unfamiliar name. You’ll also save time on name creation, and money on marketing and trademarking.

For consumer offerings, you should carefully consider the target audience and the competitive field before embarking on a naming project. If all of the other players use fun, unique names—like Cheerios or Captain Crunch—you might want one too. And to develop a branded, trademarkable name, your best bet will be to engage a naming firm. It’s becoming tremendously difficult to find names that are appropriate and available; a professional namer can help you navigate those deep waters.

Your content should reflect your brand promise. For most companies, that includes qualities such as honesty, trustworthiness, and transparency. Make sure your names connect to those qualities, and you won’t be getting in the way of customers who would embrace your brand. Leave the Fancy E to condo developers!

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Purple Throwback Thursday: 5 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from Prince

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Kate

The beautiful Purple One is, sadly, gone. His most enduring legacy will be his virtuoso guitar playing followed by fabulous showmanship in a killer wardrobe. But there are other ways Prince left his mark, and content marketers could learn a thing or two from him in our own work. Stories and visual prose are more […]

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6 Best Practices for Working With an Outside Content Provider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 by Eric

I’ve been creating marketing content for clients small and large for more than 20 years. Most of the projects I’ve worked on have been enjoyable and even fun. Occasionally, though, things have turned south, putting an unpleasant taste in the mouths of everyone involved—client and content provider alike. To optimize the return on your investment […]

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Distance Makes the Writer Grow Fonder of Editors—Or, Bringing It Home with the TZ Advantage

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Lucy A.

For millennia, members of families—blood and work—lived mostly in the same area and were impacted considerably when one of their own struck out for distant pastures. But now that we’ve become wedged in the ethereal arms of technology, distance is a snap to negotiate. Electronic devices make it almost too convenient to move all forms […]

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What Format Should We Use: Adobe InDesign or Microsoft PowerPoint?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 by Allison and Todd

  “In the end, we want a PDF—but should we create it in InDesign or PowerPoint?” It’s a question frequently asked around here, and the answer is always the same: “It depends.” When deciding on an asset format, we ask our clients to consider the following: Design sophistication: Do you want a beautiful, slick, professional […]

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The Oxford Comma Argument Rages On

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Chris

“Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender pronouns, apostrophe abuse—excites the passion of grammar geeks more than the serial, or Oxford, comma,” according to The New Yorker. Much like asking creative types if they put one space or two after a period, demanding they pick a side in the serial-comma debate can spark fistfights, especially now that we’ve […]

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Vector or Raster = Huh?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 by Michelle

You’ve received a request for a vector logo file from the Content Bureau’s graphic designer. If you’re confused about what that means, and about the difference between image file types, you’re not alone. Let’s chat about these two image file types—vector and raster—and discuss how each is used for various marketing collateral. Vector Files Vector […]

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Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Ruth

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following: Timely. Just like a box of cereal […]

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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy A.

February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone […]

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How to Write an Award-Winning Tagline

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Laurel

Part three of a three-part series. One of the most fun categories to judge at the 2016 LIA Awards was taglines (endlines). This was because—as we say in the naming biz—we had seven words rather than seven letters to play with and consider! The taglines we reviewed were mostly from advertising campaigns, both print and […]

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