The wheels of time turn and turn. We grow older. Our phones keep telling us we need to upgrade or update our operating systems. Such is the way of life.
For those who have neither a sweet tooth nor bluetooth, let me catch you up: Android uses alphabetically sequenced candy names for their major operating system updates and upgrades. They started with Cupcake (1.5) and have hit every letter until most recently Nougat (7.0 and 7.1). Now, Android 8.0 is inbound, and they’re calling it Oreo.
Brand collaborations like this do provide some fun co-marketing opportunities. Beyond that … it’s America’s favorite cookie. Need I say more?
I’ll admit it. I’m having trouble coming up with interesting stuff to talk about. The name is neither surprising nor edgy. It does what it needs to do: continue Android’s OS naming architecture and be cute … that’s about it.
It may be a lifetime till we reach Android … Zagnut? We’re barely over halfway through the alphabet! (Get it, Google? Alphabet?) And though this naming architecture is starting to grow stale on me, personally, there isn’t really a reason not to MILK it for all it’s got.
At the end of the day, a cookie’s a cookie. I’ll still eat it.
And though this naming architecture is starting to grow stale on me, personally, there isn’t really a reason not to MILK it for all it’s got.
Long-time Catchword client and audio pioneer Plantronics has unveiled an innovative solution to the chaos of the open office: Habitat Soundscaping. Using nature-inspired audio and visuals, coupled with responsive software, Habitat transforms dysfunctional offices into peaceful spaces where people can focus and collaborate. The Catchword team worked closely with the company to develop the name for the new service.
“Habitat will improve workplace happiness and productivity,” said Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton. “Plus it’s really cool. Even the site’s landing page inspires calm focus.”
Plantronics was motivated to develop the solution when it moved to an open plan for its Santa Cruz office. They discovered that while an open plan can promote collaboration (and save money), the frequent disruptions of a dense, loud workspace with no psychological privacy often decrease productivity and sense of well being.
The company’s experience is common, and the negative impact of open office distraction is significant (no news to most folks who work in them). According to U.S. and Scandinavian research cited by the company,
- on average, employees take 23 minutes to regain focus after an interruption
- 53% of workers are bothered by others when trying to stay on track
- open office workers are two times more likely to take sick days compared to those working in traditional offices
With 70% of offices using an open plan, other companies had tried to solve the noise problem by masking it with white or pink noise, but Plantronics workers found it fatiguing and stressful.
Research has shown that a connection to nature in the workplace improves mood, memory, and cognitive functioning while reducing absenteeism. So the company turned to natural sights and sounds for their solution, combining waterfall sculptures, sound design, and virtual landscapes to create a multisensory experience.
“I’ve experienced it myself in the Plantronics office, and the difference is amazing,” said Catchword’s Sutton. Digital skylights and windows display images of nature while hidden speakers broadcast sounds of running water. Adaptive software recognizes distracting speech and adjusts the sounds in the surrounding areas to minimize disturbance.
“It’s not surprising that serene landscapes and the gentle shh of a stream make a more pleasant setting than fluorescent cell yell,” said Catchword principal and co-founder Maria Cypher. “What’s amazing is how Plantronics is using these qualities to transform the workplace.”
“We wanted to develop a name that expresses this comprehensive, fundamental change to a more organic environment,” she continued. “Habitat was a natural.”
Tech media also seem excited, with at least one speculating about whether Habitat Soundscaping could become a bigger business for Plantronics than headsets. Cypher explained, “Habitat could revolutionize indoor spaces — schools, shopping malls, government buildings — not just offices. We can’t wait to see the impact it will have.”
The City of Roses has a nose for puns.
Read Maria’s recommendations in the current print issue or download here:
For more guidance about company and product naming, check out Catchword’s Resources.
Who does multimedia powerhouse Collective Hub turn to for advice on brand naming? Catchword co-founder Maria Cypher, of course!
Nothing like prospect of a recipe change to get brand loyalists all hot and bothered. Coke has rebranded Coke Zero to Coke Zero Sugar, promising that Coca Cola Zero Sugar will have an “even better unique blend of flavors” … and riled up they got.
At first glance, the change can be a head scratcher. Coke Zero, as the name suggests, has zero calories. Calories can come from either fat, sugar, or protein. So there is no way that Coke Zero had sugar in it to begin with. In fact, Coke Zero and Coke Zero Sugar list all the same ingredients (though perhaps the proportions were slightly changed), and preliminary blind taste tests suggest that die-hard Coke Zero fans can’t really tell the difference.
So what’s up with the rebrand? Why foment a fizzy fracas?
The first thing to note is that dietary focuses are changing faster and faster (paleo, kale, GF, Whole-30, ancient grains, La Croix, etc.), and it would appear that consumers are amending their purchasing habits more quickly as well. As such, food and beverage companies have learned to become incredibly responsive to trends. If you haven’t looked into the history of sugar in the food and beverage industry (specifically the big fight the sugar lobby had with the fat lobby, once upon a time), you should — but suffice it to say, sugar is out. And this consumer shift has happened relatively swiftly.
Further, it has always been the case that shoppers don’t want to have to look too hard at the labels. That’s why name brand drugs like Zyrtec and Tylenol still sell even though they are next to the cheaper, exact replicas Wal-zyr and … whatever the Walgreens version of Tylenol is. That’s also partly why foods that don’t contain gluten, and never have, now are labelled gluten-free. (Of course, the gf label is also a promise that there has been no cross-contamination.)
So Coke needed to make sure people knew without having to think too much that Coke Zero has no sugar. That explains the primary goal. But why did they need to change the whole packaging and name? Why not just add a short little “Does not contain sugar” line?
With soda, acquiring customers often takes the form of launching a new product rather than marketing an existing product. It’s relatively easy to switch around the packaging for these big companies; soda makers crank out new varieties that are more or less gimmicks all the time. (Remember when men weren’t buying Diet Dr. Pepper, so they made Dr. Pepper 10 to make them feel better about buying something lo-cal?)
What’s interesting in this case from a naming perspective is, this is a rare example of a major brand rebranding a less descriptive name into something more descriptive. There are plenty of instances of companies rebranding from more descriptive to less — e.g., RadioShack becoming The Shack, Research In Motion (RIM) becoming BlackBerry, or Overstock.com becoming O.co. But the other way round is rare.
It speaks to the pace of change in the food and beverage world. It speaks of a more fungible industry, and faster consumer spending habits. And in industries where the cycles can be short (like, say, naming mobile games), names have to get to the point and hop on the trend as fast as possible to make money. There’s no time to mess around, and they’ve found it’s easier to introduce an apparently new product to consumers than clarify something about an existing offering, even if they are, for all intents and purposes, the same.
What’s interesting in this case from a naming perspective is, this is a rare example of a major brand rebranding a less descriptive name into something more descriptive.