Model names do make a difference

No, I’m not talking Naomi Cambell or Heidi Klum. We’re talking about the nomenclature of your products.

When Acura first came out they had two models- the Legend and the Integra. People started talking about their car model name instead of the brand name and Acura soon switched to numbers and letters ala Mercedes Benz, BMW, Jaguar et al.

Giving your brand top billing is great, but- make sure customers can actually identify your product clearly. With cars- it’s pretty simple because they have brand name, model number and model year. When it comes to computers and peripherals, cameras, hi-fi equipment and other stuff- most companies fail.

Computers should be easy- because you can turn them on and there should be a screen that has all the info. Apple has it under the “About my Mac” where you can copy the entire spec sheet. But- what if you CAN’T TURN IT ON- and are trying to identify it? Frustration sets in. This is critical for customer support- this is critical for the resale market (and never ignore the resale marker- because the value of your used goods is the best indicator of the value of your new products). Serial number look ups are great- if they are readily available online- but, then again- please don’t make it microscopic (Apple- are you listening?).

Recently trying to sell some old Pantone swatch books on Ebay I was having a hard time identifying what year each book was printed. For a company that likes to claim that you should buy new swatch books or chip fans- annually- shouldn’t the product date be on EVERY page you print?

When you look at the myriad of offerings from companies like Dell- compared to the simple product matrix from Apple- how do customers really choose between the 7 different 24″ monitors with different price points- and know what model does what? Did you make your product matrix and nomenclature too complex?

Customer frustration isn’t a good branding strategy. Think back to the early days of Sears & Roebuck: Good, Better, Best- and make sure the numbers and letters work in some kind of logical order (Hello Canon- 1D, 5D, 7D which is best? Most expensive? ARGH!).