Brand names have the ability to transform everyday commodities into sought after, premium-priced luxuries. Or, they can destroy the value of an otherwise rather useful product. My recent posting about BP tries to prove the latter.
Everyone knows and loves the Beatles. If they don’t, they are lying. However, the Beatles would have been significantly less popular had their beloved drummer Ringo been relegated to his given name of Richard. Or worse, if they’d kept Pete Best around. The Ringo brand name added significant value to the group, distinguishing the band’s image, and later, solidifying its legacy. Ringo gave the Beatles a comedic point of difference; he even wore four rings on each hand to reinforce this positioning.
JUST FOR FUN: (Who can name all of the Rolling Stones? Really interesting here, guys: Mick (twice), Keith, Brian, Charlie, oh and Bill…and Ron. Real zany bunch of blokes, don’t you think?)
Tiger Woods, whose brand I also touched upon, owes much of his initial popularity to his name as well. When he gained traction in 1996, my 11-year-old self was enamored more with his signature “Tiger” head cover than his talent.
I will even throw my name into this discussion. Introducing myself always as “Rick Fox” has been much more memorable and differentiating than just “Rick.” A hearer’s inevitable confusion with a championship basketball player doesn’t hurt, either.
OK, let’s dig a little bit deeper, still. The recent debate surrounding the “Ground Zero Mosque” is more an exercise in branding than it is anything else. The proposed building is neither a Mosque nor is it at Ground Zero. It is evident that an Islamic Cultural Center built in the Financial District would push less paper than the current media-preferred nomenclature.
Another interesting example was last week’s New York Times article stating that Lou Gehrig probably didn’t have Lou Gehrig’s disease. What? How can A.L.S. garner the same support without the association of a famous ball player’s touching story?
Oh, and in closing, just a friendly reminder that Madison Square Garden is nowhere near Madison Square Park.