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Fat Ho Burgers: Naming Genius?

March 28, 2011

Fat Ho BurgersA new burger joint has come to Waco and if you haven’t heard, it is blowing up despite those people who wish they had chosen a more “appropriate” name. Marty Neumeier, Director of Transformation for the world-renowned Liquid Agency, is a recognized leader in brand strategy, innovation, and design. He has written some of the best books ever on these subjects and his naming criteria (see below) pretty much says that Fat Ho Burgers is ‘Genius.’

A strong name is:

1. Differentiated. It should stand out from competitors’ names, as well as from other words in a sentence. This is sometimes called “speech-stream visibility,” the quality that lets the eye or the ear pick out the name as a proper (or capitalized) word instead of a common word.

2. Brief. Four syllables or less. More than four, and people start to abbreviate the name in ways that could be detrimental to the brand.

3. Appropriate. But not so descriptive as to sound generic. A common mistake is to choose a name that doubles as a descriptor, which will cause it to converge with other descriptive names. Actually, a strong brand name can be “blind,” meaning that it gives no clue as to its connection with the product, service, or company it represents, yet still “feels” appropriate.

4. Easy to spell. When you turn your name into a spelling contest, you introduce more confusion among customers, and make your brand difficult to access in databases that require correct spelling.

5. Satisfying to pronounce. A good name has “mouthfeel,” meaning that people like the way it sounds and are therefore more willing to use it.

6. Suitable for “brandplay.” The best names have creative “legs”—they readily lend themselves to great storytelling, graphics, PR, advertising, and other communications.

7. Legally defensible. The patent office wants to make sure that customers are not confused by sound-alike names or look-alike trademarks. A good name is one that keeps legal fees to a minimum.

Fat Ho Burgers hits the mark head on. It is completely different than any other burger joint around, it has only 4 syllables, and people love saying it. I think I’ve said it approximately 50 times in the last 5 days—not including typing of course. The best met criteria, though, is being suitable for “brandplay.” The menu includes a Skinny B**** burger for those watching their weight, a double  patty burger called the Supa Dupa Fly Ho, and a soon-to-be local favorite, the Sloppy Ho brisket sandwich. Now that’s “brandplay!” Fat Ho Burgers might not be catering your next church picnic, but you better believe the choir will be visiting afterwards.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniel permalink
    March 28, 2011 2:55 PM

    Love it! I gotta go get some!

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