Archive for May, 2006

3 Rules for Naming Companies

I came across this interesting post by Joe Colopy of Bronto Software. Joe gives us his three rules for naming a company:

1. Give it a personality
The great challenge in marketing technology is putting a personality on what you do. Some how “Distributed Computing of Large Scale Crawling Projects” or DCLSCP wouldn’t be nearly as compelling as the name Google, although the name probably more accurately describes the founders’ original intentions. Bronto Software is named after a distinguishable thing, which helps us immensely in establishing a brand around a set of web services. Red Hat, named after a lacrosse’s cap of one of its founders, followed similar thinking and out branded their competitors with faceless names like Caldera, TurboLinux and Suse.

2. Avoid initials
Too often I see companies that decide to name themselves after the initials of their founders. This tends to more common in small consulting services. Avoid this temptation. Although self-flattering and cool for about 30 seconds, you’ll be wasting a perfect branding opportunity — refer to rule #1.

3. Include what you do
Insert the company’s function into the name, especially when you are just launching the business. I know that the rave in the Internet space is to think of something clever like Yahoo or Google but, in general, I prefer company names that spell out the function a little more clearly. Is this contradictory to #1 and #2? Doesn’t have to be. For example, Bronto Software started off BrontoMail. Only later did we switch it to have broader scope. Earlier on, it is easier to land sales and market with a self-descriptor in the name. Plus, if the business takes off, then you can name it whatever you like and not worry about naming suggestions in blogs such as these.

Go visit Joe’s blog and Bronto Software’s website. I recommended Bronto to my company as our email solutions provider and I have been happy ever since.

You might be able to discern (from this post or a previous one) that I am a fan of Bronto. I like the fact that the software is very powerful and the company has a young, exciting vibe. Go check them out.

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Word-of-Mouth-Marketing at Work

I was at my local Apple computer store earlier this week and encountered a word-of-mouth-marketing moment. I got into a conversation with another customer at the store. Apparently, the man I was talking to had made “the switch” from PCs to Macs about three years ago. He then told me that it was one of the best decisions he has ever made.

I have been a PC user all my life. My only experience with Mac computers has been through the design classes I took in college. I have been an admirer of Macs ever since but I have always been too cautious (and too cheap) to make “the switch.” However, for the past year I have been looking to get a Mac. Now, since the introduction of the new Macbooks, the time is finally right. But such a decision, especially one that costs you a thousand dollars, is not to be made lightly.

But, thanks to the enthusiastic Apple customer I met, I decided to make “the switch.” Why is the other customer to thank? Because he represents an unbiased third party that I can trust. I can have the nicest, most charming salesperson give me their undue attention and care but I will always look at them as a biased source looking to make a sale. This is why evoking word-of-mouth-marketing is so powerful. If a company can get its client base to sing the praises of their product, then that company has tapped its greatest marketing and advertising asset.

I believe advertising, which most people view as biased information, cannot effectively generate true word-of-mouth-marketing. However, one of the main functions of public relations is to cultivate word-of-mouth-marketing. This is why it is extremely important for every company to focus on public relations.

Final Thoughts:

A company’s greatest asset is it employees. A company’s greatest marketing tool is its customers!

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Bausch & Lomb Crisis

Have you heard of the fiasco that Bausch & Lomb (B&L), the contact-lens-care company, is trying to stem? If not here’s a quick, one-sentence summary: Reports say that B&L’s ReNu MoistureLoc lens-cleaner brand caused a rare but potentially blinding cornea infection.

That’s not very good PR to say the least. As a result, B&L has now entered a state of crisis management. But how should they go about managing this crisis? I think an excellent example to follow is Johnson & Johnson’s response to the Tylenol/Cyanide scare in 1982.

However, B&L has already made mistakes that could potentially devalue its entire brand. One mistake is that the company waited three days between the time it suspended shipments of ReNu MoistureLoc and the time it actually withdrew the product from store shelves. Retailers were forced to withdraw the potentially blinding product themselves. Another mistake is that B&L used their criticized and controversial CEO, Ronald Zarrella, as the company’s spokesman. Why is he controversial? Because he was exposed for falsely claiming he held a master’s degree in business administration from New York University.

Of course hindsight is 20/20…

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Pricing Strategy: Value vs. Features

I read an interesting article concerning product pricing on The article makes a very interesting and valid point:

The Internet provides to both business and individual consumers the capability to track prices around the globe any day of the year. Consequently, when ready to buy, the consumer already knows the price, and needs to be convinced based on the perceived value.

Many companies do not base their pricing strategies on perceived value. Rather, they base them on the amount of features the product offers. A great example of feature based pricing are PCs.

Most PC companies (HP, Dell, Sony, etc.) bundle an excessive amount of feckless software with their computers. By doing so, these companies believe that the extra software validates the higher pricing level. But Apple, with their line of Mac computers, does the opposite.

Apple, for quite some time, has built a reputation of value with its loyal customer base. When you buy a Mac, you will not get the extra software that comes with traditional PCs. However, the software that does come on a Mac is valued by most end consumers. Right out of the box you get the ability to edit pictures and video, record your own songs and podcasts, and the capability to burn DVDs. It is true that you can get software that accomplishes the same tasks on a PC, but you have to pay extra for it. They come standard on a Mac. Have you seen the new Apple commercials? They do a great job of explaining the great features of Mac compared to a PC. But this post is not about Macs and PCs; it’s about value versus features.

The problem with a feature based pricing structure is that companies tend to develop overbuilt products that do not necessarily solve a customer’s problem. Another problem is that the companies lose money through development costs and deals by adding these extra features. Conversely, having a value based pricing structure allows companies to focus on the key features that differentiate its product.

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Getting Back to Normal

I apologize for the lack of updates this week. I have been battling a fever since last Friday and work has been extremely busy. I have also been working on a special project outside of work but I will post about that at a later time.

You might have noticed that I have updated the look of my blog by adding my own customized header. I created two more headers that I plan to put into rotation with the one you see now. Let me know what you think.

Video Friday – ‘Boys of Summer’

I have a confession to make… I am a staunch Eighties music fan! It’s the result of having three older siblings that watched MTV eight hours a day during the big-hair decade. Inspired by David Parmet’s Video Friday posts, I give you my absolute favorite song from the Eighties… Don Henley’s Boys of Summer.


Apple Macbook Is Coming… Soon

Great news! is reporting that the new Macbooks are possibly being released May 9, 2006. I have been waiting for this for quite some time. I just hope that the Macbook’s videocard has been upgraded from the measly 32 mb of the iBooks.

Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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