To achieve share of mind in the midst of media clutter and busy lifestyles, every ad or promotional piece must grab attention and be remembered. How? Claiming even a tiny territory in the average person's mind is the military equivalent of establishing a U.S. outpost in enemy territory.

Luckily, there are certain tricks of the marketing trade related to the human love of word play. From the simple rhyme or alliteration to the more complex forms such as acronyms and onomatopes--words that suggest the sound associated with their meaning such as buzz or gag-- nearly all people enjoy alphabetic acrobatics.

The made-up word is one trick that can provoke attention and memorability. An example of a coined company name is Kodak. Kodak’s founder, George Eastman, set the following criteria for his trademark before inventing it: 1. a short word that meant nothing, 2. that could not be easily misspelled, and 3. that had strong aural impact. Today, Kodak is still a premier name in its field.*

Of course, made-up names need not be meaningless. New words range in familiarity from their suggestive natures to actual use of known words. Kleenex is associated with the word clean which suggests what to do with the product. Minutemaid combines two familiar words and suggests the length of time needed to prepare the product.

Any made up-word can be memorable if set to music, as proven by supercalifragilisticexpeali- docious. But not every company utilizes radio or TV to take advantage of the benefits offered through musical jingles. Be advised, though, that these benefits are so invaluable that you should consider a jingle for your firm videoor webpage.

Not every situation lends itself to word invention, but before formally introducing your new venture or promotion, ask yourself or your marketing consultant: Could this product or event gain notoriety by naming it with a new word? Would an imaginative name help to differentiate it and sell it?

*From The Name's The Thing by Henri Carmasson, AMACOM. 1988.

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