Handset Names Key To US Smartphone Market Share?

Wednesday 4th February 2009 - 21:24


Forget a stylish smartphone packed with cutting edge features - if you want it to sell give it a cool name.

At least that's what research by Strategic Name Development (SND) claims in a report that links higher market share with cell phones having names that consumers prefer.

The study suggests that Nokia's "clinical-sounding alphanumeric names" are why the Finnish phone giant fails to connect with US consumers.

Equally, Motorola's succesful use of 4LTR names - RAZR, ROKR, SLVR, PEBL - eventually became jaded with KRZR and consumers stopped buying.

The study by SND argues that its claims on the importance of a phone's name are borne out by both companies' experiencing a falling market share.

Between 2004 and 2006, Motorola’s market share peaked at 35 per cent but after it introduced the KRZR in late 2006, this fell to 21 per cent by the second quarter of 2008.

William Lozito, president of SND, a brand naming consultancy, said names created a distinct sense of identity and personality.

He said thay also offered a way for people to connect with the product on an emotional level.

"Names matter," he said.

Lozito said it was no coincidence that LG and Samsung had identical US market shares of 16 per cent in Q3 2005, and 20 per cent in 2008.

He said this was because they introduced very similar product naming strategies.

The researchers praised LG and Samsung's choices - LG's Chocolate, Shine and Vu "appeal to the senses", while Samsung’s BlackJack, Juke and Glyde brought "fresh naming innovation" to the category.

“Conversely, during the same period, Nokia continued a less popular naming convention and its US market share dropped from 16 per cent to 9 per cent," said Lozito.

For some unexplained reason, the survey only looked at Motorola, LG, Samsung and Nokia - and was limited to the US market.

And while a great name undoubtedly sets the tone for a phone, can it really condemn a handset to failure?

We would be really interested to hear how important you think a name is to a smartphone's success.
More about: research , name , brand , market
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