Naming tip: number 64 in a series

Be sure to consider the associations, other than the one you intend, when evaluating brand names.

Let’s say you’ve decided Mercury might be an ideal name for in-line skates.

Mercury, the name of a Roman god who acted as a messenger , does connote speed. But from its ancient roots, Mercury was also the god of “rogues, vagabonds and thieves”.

But more important are current associations. Check out other companies and products with the same name. Think of Mercury automobiles (isn’t the perception today of a poor-man’s Buick?), Will there be an association, even a subtle one, between your skates and the car? Then there are outboard motors and a host of Mercurys.

There’s a reference book available at most larger libraries that alphabetically list all registered names. It’s a two-volume reference by Gale Research called Brands and Their Companies and Companies and Their Brands. Reviewing Mercury under both products and companies will reveal trademarks you’ll want to scan for unsavory or conflicting associations.

Then there are other possible associations. How about the NASA Mercury project? But there’s also the element mercury and mercury poisoning of tuna.

There may or may not be any conflicts, poor associations or just too many “Mercury”s to make the name attractive for your skates. But at least a review will help you decide.

Martin Jelsema

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