Seth Godin wrote an interesting post today commenting on what he acidly describes as "dumb branding strategy." Here's part of what he had to say:
Jewelry Central is a really bad brand name. So are Party Land, Computer World, Modem Village, House of Socks and Toupee Town.
It's a bad brand name because Central or Land or World are meaningless. They add absolutely no value to your story, they mean nothing and they are interchangeable. "Here honey, I bought you these cheap earrings at Diamond World!" Not only are they bland, but you can't even remember one over the other. This is the absolute last refuge of a marketer who has absolutely nothing to say and can't even find the guts to stand for what they do. It's just generic.
Where I run into this is in helping clients think about tag lines. Particularly with professional services firms, there isn't much you can do about the actual name of the enterprise: it's the name of the founders. But you do have a chance to present a tag line, and that is where you can brand yourself. Or not. Frequently, what happens is "not." Here are a few examples (some of these are somewhat out of date, but trust me, they illustrate the current landscape nicely anyway):
"Power of Collaboration"
"Forging Results in a New Business Age"
"A Tradition of Innovation"
"Solutions For A Changing World"
"A Source of Strength"
These, and many more like them, beautifully illustrate Godin's point -- bland, forgettable, meaningless and interchangeable.
Now, let's consider our friends in the brave new world of pornography. Setting morality aside, let's look at this industry purely as a business. The adult market is ferociously competitive. They have been on top of every new technical innovation, including the Internet, for years. I have heard, and I believe it's true, that the industry's revenues exceed that of Hollywood's. And, to top it all off, they excel at branding. The names they give their products, and their stars, are memorable, unique, and usually make it clear exactly what they're promising. Can there be any doubt as to what a movie called "The Babysitter" is going to be like? Or about?
There are many more examples, which, for obvious reasons, I can't present here. But I'm sure you get the point. The first rule of branding is "Thou shalt not be forgettable." Pornographers get this. Law firms often don't.