OK, so what do any of us know about naming a product or service? We may know instinctively what we like or don’t. What seems awkward or silly. What’s hard to pronounce or what appears to be trying too hard. But we most likely have not thought that much about a name unless we’re in branding or marketing.
One woman who’s thought quite a bit about naming is Marcia Yudkin of The Marketing Minute. And she demonstrates with an incisive analysis of—are you ready?—Swedish Death Cleaning. Ms. Yudkin compares the name of this system of tidying and organizing with three others: The KonMari Method, Four Box Cleaning, and Junk Snowball Decluttering. She finds these three “either obscure, mundane or mildly odd.” On the other hand, she notes that she was electrified by “the juxtaposition of ‘death’ (extreme), ‘Swedish’ (known but unusual) and ‘cleaning’ (everyday event.” The name triggered that “learn more” reaction any good marketer wants. (By the way, Ms. Yudkin offers a naming service, with which I have no experience.)
Turns out that Swedish Death Cleaning isn’t all that mysterious. It’s simply a catchy way to describe the process of decluttering your existence so your relatives don’t have to after you make your departure. What’s important about its name and that of any other product or service name is that a good name is important. As Ms. Yudkin puts it, “It’s not easy to bestow a name on techniques, events or companies with that arresting quality that still seems appropriate and appealing once you learn more. But why not try?”
And on that note, I’ll end by requesting that you share your choices of good and/or bad names. Here, I’ll get started with Agilent and Abilify? Bet you can’t guess how I feel about them.
P.S. Here’s an interesting YouTube video from Margareta Magnusson of Sweden, Ms. Death Cleaning herself. She’s a hoot.