Branding Dangerously Within the Julian Calendar
By Naseem Javed
As the big accounting/consulting conglomerates rush to save their butts by splitting the baby, PriceWaterhouseCoopers accounting is spinning off their management consulting and technology services businesses, which they call PWC Consulting. Distancing their little company from papa, PWC Consulting is going to rename themselves Monday. Right, Monday. That's the name, not the timetable. Why? As they say, "Monday is a fresh start, a positive attitude, part of everyone’s life. Monday is a real name, universally understood and easy to remember." Okay. With that as background, we introduce a delightful new columnist, Naseem Javed, a naming guru with a wonderful sense of humor and a worldview that perfectly fits within the cyber-walls of CornerBarPR.com. Read on, as he tells us ...
Why you should not borrow a name, like MONDAY, from a calendar, The Julian calendar is full of powerful names with a rich history of its origin. But we don’t want to go there. Let’s leave Augustus, who gave us August, and Julian, July, alone. Borrowing a name from a calendar will only make you spin out of time. So why did the venerable PWC Consulting become MONDAY? Days of the week have their own charm. To start, Monday to us is the first day of the working week, as in most industrial countries, while others see it as an extension of Sunday. Monday is when the struggles begin, from fighting the blues to mild hangovers. Tuesday, is when movies go cheap. Wednesday, for the child of woe. Thursday, who cares! And, let’s Thank God It’s Friday, because this is the day when the world population takes off, half going to the bars and the other half heading to the mosques. Okay, It's Monday in English, and Lunedi in Italian, and ... The word Monday also varies by country: in Italian Lunedi, in French Lundi, and so on. How a global corporation explains this disfunctionality to its populous is still a very big question. Monday Inc., the new name of PWC Consulting, will result in a struggle between deep blues and lingering hangovers. The army of bright, clear-eyed, highly educated consultants marching on Mondays will have to explain whether they are working Tuesdays or taking the rest of the week off. The issue of Monday morning’s fresh thinking, as outlined in the PWC strategy, may be slightly flawed, as new thinking really starts much earlier in the day -- in the shower, that is. SHOWERS INC.? Hello KPMG! Deloitte is now called Braxton, a name from the past; future will be the judge. It was tough for PWC to select a day from a short list of seven. Sunday would have been the best choice, as everybody in cyber-living thinks, sorts, strategizes, and sends email on this day of rest. But then, how can we forget Sabbaths and Fridays, so, why not call it FridaySaturdaySunday Inc.? After all, it is the same people who gave us the longest name in recent history, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 'Uh, Tuesday Morning -- Today's Monday -- Are You Open?' Borrowing a company name from a calendar is deadly. An interesting case is a chain with 57 stores across the Southwest that closes seven months of the year because, they say, most consumers do not purchase gifts and linens year-round. The store is called Tuesday Morning and opens seven days a week, five months a year. They chose that name because their founder and chairman believes that Tuesday is the most positive day of the week. Maybe so, but at least a dozen times every day, each one of the 57 stores receives a call, asking, “Are you open today?” MarchFirst, an e-commerce consulting company, valued at a couple of billion dollars during the peak of the DotCom Bubble, did not start in March, rather in April, and AprilFirst was already taken by some fool. Most people were convinced the firm started in March -- while they were marching straight into a brick wall -- and no amount of advertising could save them from their demise. Images Catching Fire: Enwrong, WorldCon, DoubleCrossing Suddenly, Corporate Image USA caught fire; it is all up in flames. The sleek, world-class corporate images like ENRON, WorldCom, GlobalCrossing, Merrill Lynch, and many others, are badly charred and look more like ENWRONG, WorldCon, DoubleCrossing, The Merrill Lynch Mobsters, etc. Andersenization of corporations started when voodoo accounting met voodoo branding. Start with a dumb name and splashy logo, and roll out the Corporate Identity show. Steal money from shareholders, yet return them a fair and a decent Corporate Image, at least. CEOs forged ahead making their marks, the likes of Zorro! Only this time, it was zero, really Zero. Naming is a very serious business. It is a black-and-white exercise of pursuing the rules of corporate nomenclature, trademark, and domain registration laws. It requires knowledge of global languages, translations, and, most important, understanding of how corporate names really work in the marketplace. Naming should never be confused with logos, graphic design, packaging, and advertising strategies, which are only important after a name has been properly selected under professional guidance and a global strategy.