Branding: Is an otter cuter than a muskrat?

Image via Wikipedia

Starting a business? Think long and hard about what to call it.

Would Apple be the world’s most valuable brand with a name like Pomegranate? Would Google be No. 2 if the founders had misspelled the name of some other big number?

Not likely.

What about a smaller but fast-growing business like OtterBox, the Colorado company that makes cases for things like smart phones?

They could have latched onto the armadillo because of its protective armor. They could have picked the muskrat, which sort of looks like an otter and does a pretty good job of shedding water.

An otter, though, is certainly more cuddly than an armadillo, and arguably cuter than a muskrat. (There’s that “rat” imagery to consider, too.) What would you want in your pocket or backpack or purse?

A couple of other things to keep in mind:

  • Know what your name means in several different languages to avoid problems as you grow.
  • Keep it to fewer than four syllables. It will be more effective and probably more memorable, not to mention easier to type.

P.S. Don’t associate your business with zombies if the connection is as hard to fathom as it is in Honda’s commercial.

Besides, everyone knows zombies can’t drive.

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