What to call the college football playoff championship game
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
12 January 2015
The Punch Bowl?!
This is all you need to know why branding companies often get a bad name. On NPR’s Marketplace this morning, the reporter asked a brand strategist what would be a good name for the college football playoff championship being played tonight.
Her answer: The Punch Bowl.
“There’s no need for the NCAA to cram some clever name upon us.”
Where do I start? There are many ways to criticize this expert advice, starting with a name so clever that it would never be taken seriously. It’s one of the problems most brand agencies create in naming (and other tactics). They look for the clever, love puns and will come up with anything that makes people laugh in the boardroom, convinced it will be memorable.
Instead, clever means it will be forgotten. It means audiences will see that you don’t take it seriously, so neither will they.
To be fair, another brand strategist – a former player – responded that names such as The Super Bowl and March Madness came organically. That they started with descriptive names, like the AFL-NFL Championship Game, before some other verbiage entered the public lexicon and was adopted.
I except that’s how this playoff championship will go as well and there’s no need for the NCAA to cram some clever name upon us.
And I understand I may be making too much of this because, as far as I know, the first brand strategist could have been joking, although it didn’t sound like it. (Her agency theme line said they create names that are Awesome!)
It points to the reason why so many brands are lost, and not just in naming. So much branding (whether it’s in naming, messaging, brand positioning, etc.) has the stink of clever on it and execs end up going back to the drawing board, hiring another agency that is either looking to please the client or win awards. So that agency either builds the brand on product benefits the company is in love with but don’t matter to the target audience. (Also, in most cases, the competition has the same product benefits.)
Or the agency comes up with something that is clever, punchy if you will. These messages win awards because they seem creative, like Citibank’s “Citi never sleeps.” (Get it? Get it?) But they do nothing to move the needle.
Branding is hard work, digging deep into what audiences respond to emotionally that is straightforward and clear. Anything else just feels like marketing. And, as savvy as audiences have become to marketing, they will just laugh and move on.
Apple streaming Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 25 March 2019 How does Apple streaming fit into the brand? We’ll learn more later today, but the entry of Apple streaming into our world fascinates me. And not because Jennifer Aniston and Reese...
Zion and Nike Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 20 March 2019 Zion Williamson, the shoe explosion and the Nike brand It's that time of year again. March Madness is upon us. And, with Temple (my alma mater) losing last night, I’m most looking forward to...
The Dalai Lama Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 19 March 2019 Let’s understand what’s happening with the Dalai Lama I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for more than 25 years. So, last week’s Time magazine cover featuring His Holiness, the 14th Dalai...