Naming tips: Number 54 in a series

Continuing with descriptions of coined-word names, this post concerns alternatively-spelled words.

This may be the oldest form of coined word, going back to the origins of packaged goods. Uneeda biscuits comes to mind. They were founded in 1898 and were the first product of National Biscuit Company, A company that later become a coined-word name as well – Nabisco (clipped, then tacked).

Anyway, the idea is usually to phonetically spell a descriptive word or phrase. This may or may not be a good idea. If you’re “borrowing” another’s trademark by changing the spelling, it’s a bad idea. You may be violating that trademark. Usually, the courts base their decision upon whether consumers get confused.

And like many descriptive names, companies tend to outgrow them if they have an active product development program.

You’ve seen many an alternatively-spelled name, and often not even realize it. In parts of the country at least, there’s a pharmacy chain called “Rite-Aid”. You’ll see a lot of “Dunrite”s in any metro telephone directory.

I’ve dabbled in alternatively-spelled names, but so far no client has embraced one of my creations.

And I’m just as happy they haven’t.

It’s a “wimpy” technique for naming.

Martin Jelsema

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