We live and work in a global marketplace. Doing business internationally is no longer the sole purview of large corporations. With the advent of the Internet, even small companies have the opportunity to reach audiences across the country and around the world. To succeed in this ever-expanding world market, we need to think globally as we name our companies, products, and services. Verbal branding practices that demonstrate awareness and sensitivity regarding linguistic and cultural differences are essential to attracting and keeping new customers.
The best time to think about the international effectiveness of a name is before it is created. How and where a name needs to function should have a profound influence on which name is ultimately selected for use.
Imagine you're getting ready to launch a new product that will be the centerpiece of your corporate offering for years to come. You expect that sales for the first two or three years will be in the U.S. only. After that, you'll expand to Japan, Europe, South America and the rest of the world. Is it worthwhile to conduct an international check of name candidates now? The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
If you expect that your product will eventually be marketed internationally, you can save yourself a lot of time, heartache, and money by determining up-front that the name you select is available in and appropriate for your international markets. Although international screening can seem like an expensive and unnecessary investment during the critical period of a product's launch, the time and cost associated with checking the international viability of name candidates prior to name selection is minor compared to the cost (in financial and public relations terms) of changing the name of an established product, or, even worse, trying to promote different names for the same product in different markets.
Determining the international viability of name candidates involves two areas of concern: international trademark searches and linguistic/cultural analyses.
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