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品牌名字看起来像数学题,怎么回事?

Aric Jenkins 2019年05月06日

品牌名字有简单的+号到底是有效还是画蛇添足?

2+1等于3。在横跨数周的时间里,消费者迎来了一连串新订阅服务,它们分别是Apple News+和Apple TV+,以及迪士尼(用了一个很合适的名字Disney+)。这些服务承诺将让人们的生活变得更加丰富多彩。同时,它们的到来也让这个日渐庞大的数学化媒体服务品牌大家庭变得更加拥挤,其中包括迪士尼自家的ESPN+,而这也算是对科技领域原创品牌“+”模式的效仿,例如Google+。

但对于Google+来说,事态的发展并不怎么顺利。这家互联网巨头于4月关闭了运营7年的社交网络。尽管Google+最终是因为与Facebook的竞争以及大规模的隐私泄露而败走麦城,但品牌专家说,它的名称在一开始就没有什么吸引力。

品牌命名机构Catchword联合创始人劳拉·萨顿表示:“这就是[这种名字]所存在的最大问题。它并未透露任何信息,也没有告诉你会得到什么,也没说为什么不同。它只不过在最后加了一个最高级,就像是在说‘终极’或‘高级’或‘更好’一样。”

当然,“更好”正是像苹果和迪士尼这样的公司所希望传达的信息。Naming Group创始人兼总裁妮娜·贝克哈特说:当你把“很强大、很知名的母公司品牌与+号连用时,它会让人们想起,例如……这就是迪士尼——我们不会尝试去另起炉灶。”她还指出,但问题在于,品牌随后会失去实现自身差异化的机会,而且也会面临仿造风险,但这些仿造品牌并不好销售。不妨去看看那些在首字母加i的已破产电子品牌。

那么这个简单的+号到底是有效还是画蛇添足?萨顿说,这是一个失去的机会,“看看迪士尼就知道,其品牌全都与魔法和奇景有关。‘+’这个名称并没有起到任何作用,也没有体现品牌的内涵。”(财富中文网)

本文的一个版本出现在2019年5月刊的《财富》杂志,标题为《当加号变为减号》

作者:Aric Jenkins

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Two plus one equals three. In the span of that many weeks, consumers were introduced to a trio of subscription services promising to add to their lives: Apple News+ and Apple TV+, plus one from Disney, aptly titled¬¬—Disney+. They’ll complement a growing roster of arithmetic-branded media services, joining Disney-owned ESPN+ and following in the footsteps of the original “plus” brand in tech, Google+.

Things didn’t work out so well for the latter. The Internet giant shut down the social network in April after seven years. And while Google+ ultimately failed because of competition with Facebook and a massive privacy breach, its name didn’t do much to encourage engagement in the first place, branding experts say.

“That’s the biggest problem with [this type of name],” says Laurel ¬Sutton, cofounder of brand-naming agency Catchword. “It doesn’t tell you anything at all. It doesn’t tell you what you’re getting; it doesn’t say why it’s different. It’s just adding a superlative on the end—like saying ‘ultra’ or ‘supreme’ or ‘better.’ ”

Of course, “better” is the exact message companies like Apple and Disney want to convey. When you use the + “in conjunction with a really strong, well-known parent brand, it reminds people, like … this is Disney—we’re not going to try to reinvent the wheel,” says the Naming Group founder and president Nina Beckhardt. But the problem, she adds, is that brands then miss a chance to differentiate themselves, and they expose themselves to copycats with vague symbols that aren’t easily ¬trademarkable. Just look at the knockoff electronic brands beginning with a lowercase i.

So is the simplicity of the + effective or obscure? It’s a missed opportunity, says Sutton. “Look at Disney—its brand is all about magic and wonder. The name ‘plus’ doesn’t do any of that stuff. It doesn’t appeal to the essence of the brand.”

A version of this article appears in the May 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “When Plus Is a Minus.”

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