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Would the TX-1090 smell as sweet?

I was looking at some catalogue for stainless steel washroom products when it struck me that, although a number of products would have fitted the required specification, the product that was going to be specified was the one that had a name.

It was simply easier and more convenient to remember Gibraltar then something like CWB1610.

Historically, technical products were not named; they were created by technical departments who generally work with project numbers, so that when the TX-1000 is developed and improved it became the TX-1001 and so on.

The technical bods knew what was going on and knew what it meant, and probably some customers would understand the upgrade.

Everybody else had to have what the TX-1000 was explained to them so that they might appreciate how much better the TX1001 was.

Memory and retrieval processes are central to studies such as cognitive psychology and neuropsychology and they are equally important in construction marketing if the desire is to have your products specified or purchased.

So giving your products names rather then numbers will instantly make them more memorable and thus more likely to be recalled when the need arises.

Gibraltar is in fact a wall-mounted stainless steel washbasin; it could have been called Hector or Greengage and it would not make much difference to how I recalled it, as almost any name is easier to recall than CBW1610.

And naming is essential if you want to differentiate your products from rivals. Not only will the product name be memorable but it will stand out from the CBW1610s and HD11126s and Tec45s of your rivals.

On top of this, a well-named product can develop its own identity and move across the world on its own. And sometimes the name itself does not matter.

If you were starting from scratch you are unlikely to name a children’s drink after a dangerous drug or a type of coal, but Coke is doing pretty well. Coca-Cola has a 70 per cent market share of the cola drinks market worldwide and the Coca-Cola brand is estimated to be worth about half the company’s total market value.

Having decided to name your products it is wise to maintain a consistency across the names; in that way one of your products will help cross sell our others. Gibraltar, Cyprus, Malta, Bermuda are obviously related in some way whereas Hector, Greengage, Castle and Pingo are not. If Gibraltar proves a success when installed than there will be a halo effect for Malta.

So what is in a name? As Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet”; but if it is called TX-1090 is unlikely to be specified.

As well as being a CIMCIG committee member, Rick Osman is a director of Highwire, www.highwiredesign.com, a design and marketing agency that specialises in the construction industry, and one of the team that created www.hotel-standards.com. You can find details of CIMCIG’s events, along with news and much more about marketing in the construction industry, at www.cimcig.org.