Monthly Archives: May 2009

Microsoft Comes Up With A Great Name–Bing

I was very pleasantly surprised to read in today’s New York Times about–not the new search engine from Microsoft–but its choice of a name.  Bing. Naming is one of the very hardest things to do in branding, which I have obviously mentioned before, and I think this one is a winner.

Early commentary on AdAge is negative, but it’s more about Microsoft the evil empire, than it is about anything else. I’m just taking a moment to revel in a real word that is clearly the result of an actual creative brief! Bravo to Microsoft’s marketing team as well as their agency, Interbrand. What is not known is whether or not this is the same team that came up with the original name, the unfortunate “Kumo“. (If so, well, congratulations on a good recovery.)

Clearly, I have not seen the brief, but can infer some of the criteria:

Short, Memorable, “Verb-able”, Evokes a sound, Easily pronounced, Upbeat (?)

For all I know, it took 18 months of torture to come up with the solution. But it doesn’t look that way. It’s a completely non-tortured, non-coined word. It’s a fun word, which is a departure for the massively literal Microsoft.

And yes, of course, the actual product must now deliver on a rather delicious promise that suggests “aha”, “eureka”, etc. But right now, it’s delightful to recognize some very very nice work. 



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Filed under Brand strategy, General Marketing, Naming

Cheap and Cheerful Is Just the Ticket!


I had a little time to kill yesterday at Grand Central Terminal. I headed toward the bookstore–generally my favorite place to waste time–when I was stopped in my tracks by a storefront I hadn’t seen before.

The company is Pylones, a French-based retailer. As far as I can tell, they bring new meaning to anthropomorphism. 

For example:





A Grater!

A Grater!

Imagine these, and hundreds of other, colorful objects, artfully arranged on tables, walls, cubbies, piled in pyramids and so on. The music was bouncy, playful. Every shopper in the store was smiling. I noted that some packaging identified Pylones as an “editeur d’objects”. What a perfect description.

In addition to being different, special and fun, almost everything in the shop was inexpensive. Many items were under $10. 

All in all, a delightful branded experience. Lighthearted is good! After so much seriousness, we are greatly in need of a happy moment or two.

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Filed under General Marketing, Identity Design