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August 29, 2007 | Tate Linden

I just read on POPwink (a couple days too late) that the Dems are looking to come up with a new bumper sticker. I had no idea.

You should read Michael's post over there, and I must agree that his judgement (that the ones they've come up with are "hideous") is spot on.

The choices they've laid out for us are:
  • W IS OUT - Send the Right Wing with Him
  • What Have Republicans Done For You Lately?
  • 2006 Was Just the Beginning. More Dems in '08
Ouch. Y'all already know I dislike naming contest and such, so I won't go into that here.

Is the left wing in such a state that they have to recycle old concepts? Two of the four are just reworking old slogans "No Child Left Behind" and "What Have You Done For Me Lately." One uses a visual key to link W (as in Bush) to Wing (as in right) but seems to ignore the fact that the left has a wing too. The last option seems to endorse doing whatever we did in '06... but somehow doing it better.

None of them seem catchy. None of 'em seem smart. None of 'em speak to me (as one of the centrists that typically decide elections.) None of them take advantage of the location of the message (a bumper.) None of them are memorable (without having to recall either right wing rhetoric or bad pop songs.) These are conversation enders rather than conversation starters.

But what if you could fix that? What if you had a phrase that sounded catchy, implied at least a bit of intellect, could speak to disaffected centrists, used language that mixed well with the bumper medium, and could be used by talking heads as a conversation starter?

I think it's possible.

Something like "The Right Turn Is Left" (tm)(sm)(c)(etc...) above a contextualizing message such as "Democrats for ___________" (where the blank is a platform cause) or "Vote Democtratic in '08" seems to fit the bill.

It throws wordplay, logic, message, direction, context, mnemonics and all sorts of good stuff (like the fact that this is a "Googlenope" as I write this) at the reader without preaching about "W" or gloating about 2006...

...and you can almost hear people chanting it at the Democratic Convention if you listen hard enough.

(Added bonus - the logical Republican response "The Right Turn is Right" or "The Left Turn Is Left" loses all of the power and wit that the use of the conflicting statement brings. It's a hard slogan to fight effectively.)

Anyone else think there's a better option?
July 17, 2007 | Tate Linden
Here we go again.

The Chief Thingnamer of Stokefire is headed West to the city by the bay from September 4th through the 7th. Yeah, I know I'm invading the territory of just about every other namer in the United States, but I come mostly in peace (I only had one client in the Bay Area and it was a little vineyard about a year ago.) Heck, I'd actually like to visit some of you in your places of work and write about it here.

So all of you Landorians, Igorians, Lexiconians, assorted Luddites (I say that with the deepest affection) and technophiles - anyone want to give me the grand tour of your naming/branding empire? I promise I'll be on my best behavior.teddybath.JPG

In the interest of full disclosure I've gotta admit that I'm bringing Thingnamer Jr. along, though if you don't want to see him (as thus far his best behavior can't be promised, and isn't particularly good anyhow) he can stay with The Boss.

Edit: Both the photo and text above are clicky (and take you to different places) and enable those that are interested to get their "Teddy fix."

Last time I came out West I somehow ended up in the middle of a party overflowing with fellow namers. As absolutely awe inspiring as that was, (thanks Alexandra and Steve!) I'm hoping that this time I can spend some time talking to people without spilling free spinach puffs and beer down my shirt.

Stuff on my mind that I'd love to talk about:
  1. The Yet To Be Named Association of Namers and what it could do for you
  2. Is everyone as messy as I am when they're being creative? (And can I take a picture as evidence?)
  3. What pictures and totems do you keep near you when you work?
  4. Are you a Powerpoint or a Flipchart kinda person?
  5. The name you're most proud of
Anyone interested in playing host(ess)?
May 28, 2007
May 26th, 2007 at 8.30 pm Theodore Joseph Linden was born. Weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz. Congratulations Sarah & Tate!

May 15, 2007 | Tate Linden
No... not with Stokefire. (We're done hiring until we find a bigger space.)

Try Landor - the Grand-daddy of the industry. I received this in my in-box this morning with no mention of copyright or non-distribution policies. So I'll help a competitor out... (They're not competing in my space at the moment so I'll play nice.)

If I were in New York and didn't have my own firm I'd consider talking with them about it... But I'm not and I do, so there shall be no talks.

Landor isn't currently known for their creativity in naming, so perhaps the new person can bring a little spark to the organization. (If I'm gonna help 'em I gotta get a little dig in, don't I?)

If you're applying I'd love to hear about it.

Applied Linguistics & Naming Architecture: Director, Naming & Writing, Landor Associates/Young & Rubicam Brands, NYC, USA

Organization: Landor Associates/Young & Rubicam Brands Department: Naming & Writing Web Address:

Specialty Areas: Applied Linguistics; Verbal Identity


In the 'agency world' and among marketing professionals on the client side, Landor Associates is known as the world's most accomplished and internationally recognized branding and design consultancy. For 65 years we've delivered a multidisciplinary range of brand strategy, design, naming, interactive, and research services, helping clients around the world create, renew, and strengthen their brand power. Besides being a solid career credential for the best designers, marketers and all sorts of advertising, strategic and creative professionals, Landor is also well known as a fun, collaborative, and intellectually stimulating place to work.

The Director, Naming & Writing, based in Landor's New York City office, will be a strategic thinker and doer with expertise in developing branding and naming architectures, nomenclature systems, and naming guidelines for complex corporate and product/service projects. You will also be an expert in name and tagline development and brand voice strategy and guidelines.

Here are just some of the other things we expect from you: - help clients make decisions about strategic and creative work - sell naming solutions and bring ideas to life - provide clear direction to team members for creative efforts, helping them to optimize creative output - identify and take the lead on developing new products, methodologies and processes - be the problem solving "hired gun" on relevant client engagements and function as client leader on all types of Naming and Verbal Identity engagements - have strong and lively facilitation and moderation skills - manage, mentor and develop multiple direct reports - take the lead on creation of proposals and pitches - formulate, assess and manage overall department budget - handle day to day management and operational issues related to the Naming & Writing practice in Landor's NY office.

Qualifications: - The ideal candidate will have a Bachelors Degree in English, Linguistics, Liberal Arts, or related studies with a minimum of 8 - 10 years of Naming/Writing/Verbal Identity experience (on the agency or client side). - Must have leadership experience and worked in an organization as a Naming/Verbal Identity Consultant. - Significant experience with naming and nomenclature strategy is an absolute must. - A "wide angle" view of branding and ability to represent Landor's range of offerings to clients is necessary.

Landor Associates, part of the WPP Group of companies, provides a competitive compensation and benefits package.

To apply, please visit our company website listed below. Please create a new member profile and upload a copy of your resume (Word or PDF format is preferred). If you choose, you may submit samples of your work by clicking on the 'Add Documents' link after creating your profile.

Application Deadline: 30-Jun-2007 (Open until filled)

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information: Manager, Human Resources: Ira Beckman Email:
March 27, 2007

Time Shutters Life

Three years after relaunching Life magazine as a newspaper supplement, its third incarnation, Time Inc. said it would fold the title with the April 20 issue, citing the decline in the newspaper business and outlook for ad revenue in the newspaper supplement category.

The iconic titles name, which will continue to operate online and through its books, had begun to find its footing after rocky start since its most recent reincarnation.

March 26, 2007
A Little Brittan. A Little Corner of New YorkAnyone walking east down Jane Street in the West Village yesterday morning would have known they were approaching the border. There were puddles on the road when the rest of Manhattan was bone dry and somebody had laid little sections of plastic lawn around the bottoms of all the trees. images-2.jpeg All right, we are a little ahead of ourselves here. Wrest yourself from your daydream and look at the little green street sign. It says Greenwich Avenue as it has done for generations. Never mind that the block is home to that little oasis inbase_image.jpegimages-11.jpeg Gotham of British comfort cuisine, Tea & Sympathy. But renaming the block Little Britain is, in fact, exactly what the owners of the restaurant, Nicky Perry and Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, have in mind. They are quite serious. So serious, they launched a petition drive last week to persuaimages2.jpegde the local community board and the Mayor to allow them to do it. There is nothing unsophisticated about their campaign. They hired a marketing company to create a website - www. - brought Virgin Atlantic on board as a co-sponsor and staged a press event with flight attendants and the English soul singer, Joss Stone.
March 16, 2007
The Three Little Puppies. That's what one British school renamed the traditional Three Little Pigs story for a school play, so as not to offend Muslims in the community, London's Daily Mail reported.
March 7, 2007

images-1.jpgBen & Jerry have named a new flavor, Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™. The concoction is "a decadent melting pot of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. It’s the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth."
March 1, 2007 | Tate Linden
logo_iowa.gif...I'm sure I could think of a better parody given time, but... well... this result doesn't really fill me with joy.

Actually, it wouldn't have mattered which way the vote went - the fact that the credit union was unable to disclose the real reason for the name change (hint: it probably wasn't just confusion) meant that the membership didn't have enough data (in either vote) to cast an informed ballot.

While I don't have 100% confidence that the University gave an ultimatum to the CU, I'm more confident in that cause than I am in any other. I'm pretty sure that if this cause had been disclosed initially the name Optiva would've been accepted more easily. In my casual perusal of online commentary I've found that many of the complaints about the new name reference the fact that the old name was the whole reason that they were a member in the first place. Many wanted the strong tie to the University and thought it was almost criminal to tear it away.

But what if the CU had been able to communicate that they had to disassociate themselves from UofI?

Imagine if Weber Marketing Group had been able to work with the full membership to find a way to honor their desire to feel connected to the school? Disclosing that the university was trying to protect its brand (saying, in effect "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here") could've brought a rallying cry from the membership instead of a cry of foul play.

This is not to say that a naming contest was the right way to go - but certainly offering members a chance to contribute to the identity - to make sure that the new identity at least addresses the values the membership holds most dear... that would've been worthwhile.

At Stokefire we're approached occasionally by membership organizations and non-profits that wish to have their leadership team develop names without involving (or occasionally even informing) the membership until it is time to vote. While we may offer consulting support for these organizations we've never taken on a full naming project under these terms. (And FWiW, a good portion of our consulting effort goes towards trying to persuade the client to involve the membership and be as forthright as possible.)

This Optiva re-vote seems to validate our take, no?

Kudos to OptivEx for beginning to tell the full story, to the membership base for showing that there are consequences when an organization becomes disassociated from its membership, and yes, even to Weber for weathering the storm.

To those that find it surprising that I might not be ripping apart Weber... I find it interesting that no one has ever questioned whether the name Optiva was one of the top candidates suggested by the Weber team. Maybe that's because not many people know what the naming process is like. I don't have inside insight into how Weber runs their projects, but when Stokefire works with clients we present numerous candidates and make suggestions as to which are the best for various purposes. We've had a few clients go through the process and select a name that we think is a poor candidate (or that we didn't develop.) The client still has every right to disclose that we were the naming expert for the project - and it isn't likely that we would ever mention publicly that we advised against selecting a name our clients end up with. (Dissing clients - or making them look foolish - is never a good thing.) Our goal is to advise our clients as to the strongest identities available and then to do our best to support the identity choices that our clients make - even if they don't exactly follow our advice.

A few links for you:

I have enjoyed (albeit wincingly) reading the opinions of Nicholas Johnson and see them as an example of what happens when a really smart guy who cares doesn't get enough access to the information he needs. Today he provides an overview of the second vote and links to areas where you can find more backstory. Any CU or membership organization considering a top-down naming effort needs to read Mr. Johnson's words before they go through with it.

I've also watched Michael over at Popwink as he has opined on the issue - today just summarizing the final vote and showing some snapshots of the CU's home page before and after the vote.

[Edit - Thank you to JT the 'Hawk-eyed' reader who noted that I've been watching hermits rock as well. Greg's post today has some interesting quotes from the event last night.]

The story was also picked up by the Iowa Press Citizen and what appears to be another site owned by the same folks - HawkCentral. Both sites have comments enabled and the boards are heating up quickly. My quick Google search found no other news outlets covering the vote.

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925
February 15, 2007
Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company Changes Name

The name change affects only the mutual insurance company that carries the Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company label. See video of announcement.
February 14, 2007 | Tate Linden
[Ed. - updated with new links, grammar fixes, and a dose of humble pie. Apologies to those that I may have carelessly forgotten to credit.]

Many thanks to the kind folks at Igor and Eat My Words for hosting a great party with dozens of namers from around the world. Okay, not really the world, but at least all over North America. Or more precisely the United States and Canada. Well, it was one guy from Canada, one guy from DC, and everyone else was from the Bay Area. Still, though, it was very impressive.

Really! (Investing $2000+ for entertaining a room full of your primary competitors in the industry is no small thing, either. If it had been at Stokefire's pad we'd have had party ice and a few footlong subs.)

Thanks specifically to Alexandra Watkins, Steve Manning, and Nancy Friedman for their efforts in hosting, funding, and organizing the event. What started out as six people at a bar turned into a wonderful industry-wide event with dozens of people making new connections.

Unfortunately the pictures I took are too big for my server, so I'll have to wait until I get back home next week to edit and post them. Check back Tuesday-ish for the goods. Or you can click here for Alexandra's (our party-pad hostess) pix. She seems to have captured many of the same shots I did.

Pretty amazing how many different types of businesses are involved in naming. Lots of copywriters, branding agencies, marketers, list-farms, and full service advertisers. There were a couple businesses that were strikingly similar to what we do at Stokefire.

As for the reaction to my persistant mouthing-off on this blog about the lack of industry representation I'd say the response was a cautious interest. There's a little bit of disagreement as to what naming is and how it might relate to the larger industries of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and identity development. I heard quite a few folks advocate joining AIGA to further our cause. Perhaps starting up a focus group within their organization.

I guess I'm a little wary of that path since I believe that traditionally a name flows from a core identity more readily than it does from a sense of design. The design would traditionally flow from the same place the name does. The question for me is whether we want verbal branding, naming, and identity development to be supplicant to the visual aspects. That's something I strongly disagree with. Both the name and design are supplicant to the identity/strategy of the company.

I've never developed a name after the logo and design have been set and before the identity has been developed. It's backasswards. Ain't it?

The topic came up quite a few times and has me wondering a few things:
  1. Is there enough interest in the concept of a group that represents namers to support our own organization? Are there enough of us to do it? I've gotten interest from about a dozen companies and a handful of freelancers - but no one is committed to it yet.
  2. Is there a stronger call to create an organization dedicated to the creation of identities rather than names - and in this way enable the participation of partner fields such as design, scent, colors, and the rest of the pieces that are involved in the creation of strong identities...
  3. How will an organization that represents namers handle the various approaches (sometimes conflicting) to name generation and evaluation? Can an organization meant to raise the profile of an industry do so without demeaning some of its constituents?
That's it. I'm going to try to enjoy the rest of my pseudo-vacation with my wife. Can't believe I have the good fortune to be in sunny San Francisco while DC is under inches of ice and snow.

I think I'm going to ditch my light sweater for a long-sleeved tee. (I know you all miss me back there. Admit it.)


Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925 (but the office is snowed in, so no one is going to answer the phone today.)
February 9, 2007


ge-lumination-logo.jpgGE's LED lighting business is renamed Lumination

GE Consumer & Industrial has changed the name of its LED business from GELcore LLC to Lumination LLC.

GE says that the new name "reflects the fast–growing business unit's vision of imagination with light, and embraces GE's heritage of innovation and optimism for the future." ."Our name change emphasizes an important element of our growth strategy," states David Elien, president of Lumination. "Our focus since our inception has been lighting applications that leverage the benefits of LEDs to drive real value for customers."
February 9, 2007 | Tate Linden
Quick update from Stokefire HQ before we head off to California to see a few dozen of our naming brethren.

We're beginning work for a DC-area PR firm to help solidify their brand image. This is our first step into the world of PR branding and we're excited to get our hands dirty, feet wet, or whatever the right metaphor is.

We've also got a new project with an ecological consulting firm starting up - one that I've been trying to get into for quite some time. I see developing "eco-friendly" names as one of the most difficult areas - especially since terms like "green" and "eco" are everywhere. Like Web 2.0 it is an industry struggling to break out of the naming conventions in use - and we aim to do what we can to help.

Last - a quick note to the great folks at IABC DC. I had fun speaking to all 80 of you at Tivoli last night. It was a challenge to create a program that would interest naming novices and experts alike (and about 2/3 of you were experts - so I had to be on my game.) The fact that the Q&A session lasted for longer than the presentation makes me think that perhaps I hit the mark. Rest assured that I'll follow up with all of you that left requests or comments. I'm looking forward to becoming more involved with the Business Communicator community.

Oh... and thanks for giving me the feedback on the new business cards! Kudos to Compass360 for their work thus far.

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group
February 7, 2007
racecar.jpgPork Racing Starts its 8th Season with Frank Kimmelarca5076.jpg

Last fall the Pork Racing team celebrated Frank Kimmel’s eighth ARCA championship. It was also Kimmel’s seventh consecutive championship. During this unprecedented run, one sponsor has been a constant with the #46 team – America ’s Pork Producers.

As the team heads to Daytona, Kimmel will be trying once gain to tame Daytona International Speedway and come home with his first ARCA 200 victory, one of the few trophies not on Kimmel’s mantel. Cheering him on will be 50 of America ’s Pork Producers who will descend on Daytona Beach from across the country.

“Some sponsors tend to dabble, but for America’s Pork Producers, when we find something that really works, like our relationship with Frank Kimmel, the #46 team and ARCA, we stick with it,” says Karen Boillot, Director for Retail Demand Enhancement with the National Pork Board. “For example, we started using the term ‘The Other White Meat’ nearly 20 years ago. All these years later, ‘The Other White Meat’ is not only still at the core of our marketing efforts, but has become one of the best known taglines in the world.”1840dd.jpg

America ’s Pork Producers, represented by the National Pork Board, use their sponsorship of the #46 team as an important part of their “The Other White Meat. Don’t Be Blah.” marketing campaign that challenges consumers to make meal-time more exciting.
February 6, 2007
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. will rename its slow-selling Five Hundred model the Taurus, a name Ford previously used for a car that became the nation’s top-seller, two company officials said Tuesday.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition they not be identified by name because the official announcement had not yet been made.The Taurus, considered by some the car that saved Ford, revolutionized the way autos look and feel when it was introduced in 1985.

Photo - Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally introduces the 2008 Ford Five Hundred at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES) 9:37 a.m. ET, 2/6/07
February 6, 2007 | Tate Linden
I'm speaking for the DC chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators Thursday night. Amongst the things I'll be reviewing in my 20 minute discussion (followed by Q&A) will be:
  • The purpose of names
  • A sampling of key aspects of a good name
  • Seven things you never want to do with your name
  • The most important aspect of a successful corporate naming project
  • How to make a bad name good and a good name great. (The trade secret of the great namers.)
I'll try to throw in some examples and audience participation if possible. 20 minutes is a bit tight, but I'll do my best to keep it interesting.

I've been told there's still an earlybird admission (through the end of the day today - Feb 6) and you can get dinner, networking, presentation, and parking for $55 (non-members.) Directions and registration are here. Add $10 for Wednesday registrations and $10 more for on-site. IABC members get in at a discount.

If you're an IABC DC member I encourage you to comment here and let folks know what to expect for the non-speaking part of the evening.

Hope to see DC some of you area locals at the Tivoli Restaurant in Rosslyn, Virginia.

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925
February 5, 2007

Kergy Inc., a green energy company focused on the production of the cellulosic ethanol, today announced that is has changed its name o Range Fuels, Inc. CEO Mitch Mandich said, "Because we are located along the Rockies, we're inspired everyday as we look at the mountain ranges and plains in front of us. Our New name will constantly remind us of our mission to protect the planet as we innovate and deploy our technology."





February 2, 2007

Toyota Tundra to be Unveiled Super Bowl Weekend:

Toyota wants to sell as many as 40,000 Tundras to Hispanic consumers — about 20 percent of the 200,000 it expects to sell this year.

"Our Hispanic campaign is critical to the success of this truck," McCullough said. "If we don't get the Hispanic market to respond, we won't achieve our goals.

The company previewed two Spanish-language television ads with the tagline "La nueva Tundra. Tan fuerte como el hombre que la manejar," which translates to "The new Tundra. As strong as the man who drives it."

Not the best tagline in any language. I suggest: As strong as the man (believes he is) who drives it. Ok, still not the answer but I am working on it.
February 1, 2007

Cartoon Net Promo Sparks Boston Scare

NEW YORK A marketing campaign for Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force turned into a daylong terrorism scare for the city of Boston and a PR nightmare for Turner Broadcasting over boxes that were mistaken for bombs placed around the city and elsewhere nationwide. Police arrested Peter Berdvosky on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct.

Folks, terrorism scare? Not something you want your brand name associated with.

- Adweek, February 01, 2007
January 10, 2007
Apple Computer Is No Longer. Steve Jobs announced after the announcement of the iPhone yesterday, something seemingly subtle, but actually really big: a name change. Apple Computer, Inc., will from now on forward be called Apple, Inc., reflecting the fact that Apple is more and more turning into a general electronics company instead of a computer/software company.
January 5, 2007 | Tate Linden
Okay, so I'm a recovering corporate trainer. There, I admitted it. I spent a few years with General Electric (now GXS) and Primark (now Thomson Financial) developing and delivering training for software packages. I figured that this experience would be enough to carry me through the development and delivery of my own company's coursework.

Unfortunately I forgot one of the first rules of training that I learned... "Prepare for the training like you had to deliver it the week beforehand." Actually I think that it was supposed to be the month beforehand, but even when I was working inside big corporations I rarely had more than a few weeks to pull together a course.

That said, I tried to pull together my course by finishing with two hours to spare. Here's my list of activities for the final two hours:
  1. Put finishing touches on Powerpoint presentation and send to color printer.
  2. Discover that color printer has no black or blue ink - and it won't allow me to print in red or yellow alone (not that I would have, mind you.)
  3. Send presentation to secondary b&w printer
  4. Notice that printouts appear to have been eaten by printer and then spat back out. No, really. There are almost visible teeth marks and some pages are crumpled and ripped - and spooky bits of ghost text are randomly distributed over my own slides.
  5. Throw away ruined print job.
  6. Go back to own computer and attempt to re-print to tertiary printer.
  7. Notice that my computer has frozen and requires hard reboot.
  8. Upon rebooting computer notice that working file has disappeared and four hours of work are gone.
  9. Notice that deodorant has stopped working. (This is not a joke.)
  10. Call tech support to see if they can get my file back. They cannot.
  11. Stay online with tech support when I realize I can't locate tertiary printer on my computer. Install print driver for 25 minutes. (Thanks Russel - it was time well spent!)
  12. Examine original working file to see how bad it was three hours ago.
  13. Realize that it was, in fact, truly awful.
  14. Go to trashcan and pull out mangled presentation.
  15. Make copies of mangled (but complete) presentation.
  16. Print out copies of supplemental handouts via tertiary printer. Marvel that something has worked correctly (though I later learn I didn't print enough copies.)
  17. Welcome my truly together presentation partner (Rachel Pastirik from Netdrafter) who arrives with everything printed out already, saving me from instant combustion.
  18. Rachel can't connect to our LCD projector.
  19. Give Rachel my computer (after all, my own presentation isn't on it anymore) and she's up and running.
  20. Start class almost on time. (We missed by three minutes)
I gave my presentation off of the handouts - which actually worked quite well since it prevented me from falling on some bad habits like reading from the screen.

Overall the reviews were strongly positive - and we had a completely full class. I look forward to seeing the new blogs appear on the scene in the coming weeks.

Is there a lesson in branding or naming in here somewhere? I think there may be. A good brand can help you to overcome truly horrific fumbles. Building the identity behind the name can be a lifesaver when things get tough. Our reputation (an intentional branding) as adaptable, fun, humble, and engaging really came to the rescue for us.

And the naming lesson? Well, it was nice to be able to refer back to our name when explaining what happened. Even when it looked like the light was going to be extinguished we were able to keep at it, poking, prodding and stoking until we got the fire going again. We had a highly successful class - and about halfway through I personally felt that my deodorant had caught up again.

But next time? Finish prep a week before hand. At least.

Last - a big thank you and hello to the class participants who were universally understanding, patient, and highly involved: Gretchen Martens, Yolanta Barnes, Deborah Crittenden, Julie Lassiter, Claude Labbe, Nora Nagatani, Martin & Ruth Saenz, Sally Galloway, and Monica Walker. Once you have your blogs online I'll proudly provide a link from here.

Tate Linden Principal Thingnamer Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925
December 15, 2006
Wii launch ad draws series of complaints over violence. Sword violence... which is different than the locality advertisements running in London Underground stations showing a group of people with bloody stumps instead of heads dancing in a hall of mirrors at the palace of Versailles. The strapline says visitors to Versailles will be "treated like royalty". Which is more offensive?

Virgin Galactic Appoint First Space Agents in NZ. Together with Virgin Galactic, House of Travel, whose tagline is "How Kiwis See the World" will help make the dream of going into space a reality for New Zealanders.

Make that a triple: whisky maker back for another round Johnny Walker has a new commercial that will air next week. It features the global tagline "Keep walking", which has been in use since 1999 and is based on the proposition that a drinker who is "moving up" to scotch is making progress in life.
December 14, 2006 | Tate Linden
Just wanted to send a quick "hello" to the fine folks from the Washington area chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. As you now know we're going to be the featured speaker at February's meeting.

I'm looking forward to a fun, informative, (and maybe even challenging) discussion about naming and how it fits as a piece of the business communications puzzle. I typically speak for corporations, community groups, and general business associations that aren't experts in related fields. While I'm always packing my A game, this time I'm thinking about making it an A+ just to be sure I provide useful information for a group of what are essentially ringers.

If you want to help me assure that I address issues that are challenging you (hopefully related to naming, but also generally in the business communications field if you'd rather) I'd welcome the guidance. Just send me a note (via our contact page) or leave a comment here and I'll make every effort to cover the issue in our discussion. Even if we can't address it in the meeting I'll make sure I connect with you onsite to ensure your questions are answered.

Oh - and if you aren't a member but want to hear the presentation or see what IABC is about you can get a trial membership for $50 (see the bottom of this page for info.)

Final note: If any of you IABCDCers are interested in blogging send us a note. We've got an evening class on January 3rd from 5pm to 9pm on Business Blogging with about five spots left. We'll have a post up early next week with more details for those that would prefer to join up with the masses.

Have a great holiday and... See you soon!

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925
December 13, 2006
AKQA Begins Push for Palm's Treo 680 Touting that it's "Not just a cell phone. A Treo.". He acknowledged the similarity to the positioning of rival Helio, which in ads from Interpublic Group's Deutsch bills itself as more than just a cell phone, but noted that the two devices pursue "different markets. We're going after the multimedia player."

Cape May, Delaware: Beach towns seek recycling advice. The county has printed educational material for real estate agents, property owners, campgrounds, motels and people on holiday with the tagline, "Don't take a vacation from... recycling." It's a effort to help preserve the lovely environment that people choose to spend their time in. New name for Randolph Macon Woman's College. Three months after a controversial decision to go co-ed, the 115 year old Randolph-Macon Woman's College has a new name...Randolph College
December 7, 2006
Freelander 2 Rebranded as a Range Rover? Land Rover is considering rebranding its recently launched Freelander 2 (AKA LR2) SUV as a Range Rover to improve its perception as a luxury vehicle. Land Rovers are considered to be utilitarian vehicles in all countries, but more so in some than others. In parts of Europe, for example, a buyer may look down upon the Land Rover branded Freelander when comparing it to premium marques such as BMW. The other reason behind the name change would be to allow the Freelander to punch above its weight in terms of prestige despite being priced below many comparable vehicles.

'Orbital Outfitters' to Provide Space Suits for Next Generation. "Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel," from the famous Robert Heinlein novel, is also the tagline of a new company that intends to do just that -- make sure a new generation of commercial civilian Space travelers, adventurers and explorers fly in style and safety in Space suits like none designed before. reports the UK's "The Wrestling Channel" is to be renamed to TWC Fight!
December 7, 2006 | Tate Linden
Hello Readers...

We're hoping that a few of you might be in the Springfield area tonight and that you can find the time to swing by and say hello to us. We're participating in an informal trade-show of sorts sponsored by the Women's Business Center and the Springfield Chamber from 5 to 7 PM today.

We've been told that many of the companies there are planning on selling stuff so if you're interested in supporting local small businesses it'd be a good idea to bring your wallet and/or checkbook. Maybe you can cross a few items off of your holiday shopping list.

As for us... we'll be taking reservations for our January 3rd class on "Blogging for Small Businesses" (5 PM to 9PM.) If you pre-pay on-site we're offering a discount of 25% off the walk-in rate. We've already got a few folks reserving spots, so make sure to stop by early. We're pretty sure we're going to cap the class at 15 participants to ensure everyone gets the attention they need.

...and though we're going to be passively selling our services at the show we're more interested in showing off one of our recent projects: a local realtor that has been through our branding process. We'll reveal his tagline and allow him to tell you about how Stokefire works to create compelling identities... specifically his.

If you've been thinking about getting your brand overhauled then this is a perfect after-work stop. How often do you get a chance to peek at the inner workings of someone else's brand. (We can't promise that everything will be open for discussion, but certainly more than you'd normally be inclined to ask...)

So, come by our booth at the Community Business Partnership, say hello to Claude and the Stokefire team, sign up for the blogging class, and then pick up some gifts for the kids and friends.

Even better - if you or someone you know is looking for a home in the DC area you may want to talk with Claude about what he can do to make your life much, much easier.

Hope to see you there!

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925

December 6, 2006
AB Launches Branding Campaign for Interactive Advertising. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) this week announced the launch of a new integrated interactive brading campaign - featuring the tagline "Media More Engaging."

Ford's Bold Moves. With its tagline "Document the Future of Ford," the site presents videoclips, blog posts, comments from readers and recent headlines regarding Ford. As you may or may not know, Ford recently bet the company, putting pretty much all of Ford recently bet the company, putting pretty much all of its assets (even including the Ford logo itself) up as collateral for an extremely large bank loan, simply to keep itself afloat and give it a chance to stave off bankruptcy.

Yahoo and Reuters Welcomes You to the "Human Network". Cisco's new tagline is "Welcome to the Human Network." Not everybody knows what a network does, so by extension would they know what a "human network" does. The New York Times reports that the network thatis "hoping to turn the millions of people with digital cameras and camera phones into photojournalists. Introducing a new effort to showcase photographs and video of news events submitted by the public."
November 27, 2006
The Jedi Religion and How to Start A Religion. Last week, two self-proclaimed Jedi Knights appealed to the United Nations to recognize their faith as an official religion and accordingly rename the International Day for Tolerance to Interstellar Day of Tolerance.

Time to Rename the Cell Phone? They're not just for making calls, and they don't have a lot to do with cells. Maybe it's time to name the ubiquitous gadget something else. - Cingular will be sold under name of AT&T. SBC, which closed its merger with AT&T on Friday, plans to sell Cingular Wireless under the fabled AT&T name.

Timing Could Be Everything. New Itsu restaurant with a tagline of "health & happiness" awaits opening in the World Financial Center at Battery Park in New York City.

Tasmania Tackles Homophobia.The advertisements detail the negative effect of homophobia on families, businesses and the gay and lesbian community, using taglines such as “Names will always haunt us" and "Homophobia stops with you".

From Happiness, to Happy Feet, to HappyNews. "Real News. Compelling Stories. Always Positive." That’s the credo of Have a happy search. That’s the tagline for the search box. Report happy news. That’s the challenge on the left side bar. In contrast, Unhappy News. And the list of the major news stations follows.

Christmas Crackers. The Beeb's strapline "The One to Watch this Christmas" has never been more true than this year, with a cracking line-up of goodies on all Auntie's channels: terrestrial and digital.
November 14, 2006
Japanese Knotweed Solutions is the UK's leading invasive weed treatment company. The new HQ has been re-named Itadori House - "itadori" is Japanese for "strong weed".

The Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A affiliate will be named the Lehigh Valley IronPigs when the team begins play in 2008. The name resulted from a naming contest. IronPigs which won by a 2:1 ratio, reflects a name that bonds the Lehigh Valley's steel-making heritage. The name comes from the term pig iron, which is the term used to melt down iron to make steel, is one of the strongest metal alloys known to earth.

Portland, Oregon's new, PDOT’s “Hub” Project (aka Travel Smart) has a new name, a new logo, and a new plan. Now calling their work “SmartTrips”. A program that is meant to encourage people to take less car trips by making it easier for them to choose transit, walking, and bikes.

Snoops Dogg's canince apparel line is now sold at Amazon. So G-up up your dawg with some Snoop stlyle and check up on some of the possible taglines for this bow-wow line.
November 1, 2006
We didn't think that we'd be getting a link from the Women's Business Center newsletter on a day we were being creative with our blog. It serves us right. Normally we post more obviously helpful information and links. Today we thought we would teach a lesson through repetition. If you look back a few days you'll see we do actually say things that make sense.

We hope you'll be able to make it to Tate's short lecture on December first. He'll be talking about this very blog and how it has helped Stokefire (and Tate) gain exposure and credibility in a crowded market. Rachel from Netdrafter will also be there to handle the technical side.

Feel free to post a comment here if you can make it - and make sure you register!
November 1, 2006

On-line dating sites, such as, let you choose a long screen name and long personal taglines. Just what do you have to say for yourself?

Premium dog food launches and is named after fictional vet called Wainwright. The brand is particularly aimed at dogs with food intolerances and is tagged as "dog's best friend".

Google purchases JotSpot. There’s also no confirmation as to what the new name will be, but suggestions are afloat.
Beverage makers try to find refreshing drinks that do not (like those of yesteryears) have to be re-named to cover up the use of illegal drugs.

Glenfiddich, the family-owned Scotch whiskey brand looks to increases holiday sales. New marketing campaigns, include the strapline "inspiring great conversation since Christmas Day 1887".

Premium Bonds celebrates it's 50th in London. Cake celebration due to parade through Trafalgar Square announcing "saving with a thrill". What's exactly going to come out of that cake?

October 31, 2006
Americans blame Cookie Monster for obesity in children. Producers change Cookie's tagline to "Cookies in Moderation!" [Tate sez: Picture the Cookie Monster stuffing cookies into his mouth in moderation... Doesn't work, does it? If this is true then we've just killed off an American icon with an overdose of Political Correctness.]

Second Helpings, a group that rescues prepared and perishable food from stores and restaurants has updated its image and has renamed its newsletter "Peas and Carrots," followed by the tagline, "Little Bits of News That Go Great Together." The group's new logo features a chef lifting a pot with heart-shaped steam rising from it. [Tate sez: Nice... it's okay to have "second helpings" if it is for charity? Where's my moderation now?]

Millionaire Fair an exhibition opening in Moscow this weekend. Organizers estimate the fair has attracted some 10,000 visitors every day -- fulfilling the event's unofficial tagline "Millionaires of Russia unite!". Ironic nod to an old revolutionary call for the world's working proletariat.

Bikini Ban. An appealing Britain ad campaign showing a Latvian model photographed in a bikini in Eilat, the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv. The photo taken on the Tel Aviv beach includes a tagline reading: The 24 hour Mediterranean city, Tel Aviv. Ads pulled by the Tourism Ministry as not to offend orthodox sentiments in cabinet.

Van delivers tire service to your car. The tagline on the back of the truck is usually what catches people's attention: "Notice: Driver carries no old magazines or burnt coffee."

Hachi Tei Restaurant uses Pelicans, Shark and Walrus' to go for the obvious. Restaurant uses strap line: ‘For those who like their sushi really fresh’.

Patt, White GMAC Real Estate office has changed their name to Pocono Advantage Real Estate. Now they can not even be located in the forest of Pocono related sites.
October 5, 2006 | Tate Linden

Today's links to stories on names, taglines, and branding.

It's a good thing that everyone agrees on what a name should be - especially since evocative, easy to say, descriptive, creative, web-available names are so easy to come by.

Think to yourself about counterfeit branding. Okay, how many of you thought about cows? Forget about fake Coach purses - how about fake Bessie?

Thinking about naming your firm after yourself? Great, but what happens when you leave?

Recruiting firm brands itself after the color of the lumps most people get from employers.

Can rebranding be as easy as putting an umbrella in your drink? Conservatives seem to think so. hates branding, but we're too cheap to find out why.

If we're ever traveling in South Africa we're going to have a really hard time figuring out where to have our tires changed. National chain rebrands and gets a new tagline. We wonder... what exactly is a "Fitment Professional"?

Japan says Light and Mild Cigarettes may be illegal because the terms are descriptive... Excuse me... Not descriptive... Deceptive. Unfortunately "Cancer Sticks" is already taken.

Canada and Australia discuss branding on an international level. If you read it backwards it says "We're not American."

June 7, 2006 | Tate Linden
If you've met me or read my articles in the past you'll know that I believe that one of the critical elements of a successful business is the ability for that business to set itself apart from the competition.

Easy concept, right? Look at what other people are doing - and then don't do the thing that makes them appear to be the same.

Great, we're on the same page then. Now picture yourself at a tradeshow (IFE, to be specific.) You're walking down the aisles, looking at all of these great franchises that you could be a part of... and you begin to notice a pattern. Whenever a franchisor closes out a conversation they hand over something to help the potential franchisee remember them.

Pop Quiz! What is it they hand across to cement the deal in most cases?
June 5, 2006 | Tate Linden

I went to the International Franchise Expo in Washington DC this weekend. I walked the floor for about three hours, talking with CEOs, presidents, marketing VPs and sales reps. Every moment was informative, whether it was because some of the companies weren't really ready for prime time, or because I was able to see how a well branded franchise concept can draw attention.

Certainly the first thing in evidence is that once a single franchise has gone out and made a name for itself (see Coldstone Creamery and PODS) a raft of copy-cats will rush in and attempt to get part of the cut. There appeared to be two or three mix-in style ice cream shops, and a few modular storage facilities as well. Other trends include coffee shops, wings shops, and barbeque chains. I'll be going through some of the actual companies and the strategies they used to attract franchisees over the next few weeks. (With so many shops and so much reading material it'll take me a while to figure out who is well branded and who isn't...)

One thing really stood out.

June 2, 2006 | Tate Linden

Today's seminar went very well, for the most part. I discussed the five aspects of a brand that create memorability and attraction with the target audience. We had a completely packed house - standing room only (a first for me since my days in music performance.) I thank the caterers, the Women's Business Center, and the Community Business Partnership for making this such a well attended event.

I also got to introduce the newest member of the Stokefire Team (Dana FitzGerald) who was the Vanna to my Pat during the presentation. She'll be helping out with client relations for the next month or so. Great to have someone on board to give our clients the attention they deserve even when our branding experts may be momentarily inaccessible.

The presentation itself when quite well except for a couple notable exceptions:

April 12, 2006 | Tate Linden

Okay, okay! I'm back. Sorry about taking a weekday away from the weblog - I didn't know anyone was reading it. (I do now, thanks.) I'll do my best to keep a daily post here, but occasionally things get in the way (clients, prospects, lectures...) and I can't always get back to my computer. I suppose that I could post from my Palm Treo, but it'd be mighty hard on my thumbs.

I'm sticking my head in at a couple local events over the next week or so, so if you're going to be attending feel free to post a comment and I'll seek you out. This Friday I'm delivering the closing lecture for a day-long event covering legal issues, risk factors, and marketing/branding for startup businesses (I think about 20 are registered.) This event is happening at the Community Business Partnership though I can't find it on the calendar. Next Thursday I'll be at the Procurement Conference where I'll be meeting prospective clients and talking about how Stokefire can help government departments develop, implement, and support brands that connect them to their constituency. By the time I get there I'll have a way of saying that so that it doesn't sound like I'm reading a public service announcement, and actually means something to the people I'm speaking with. After all, if I can't connect with my own prospects then why would they think I could connect them with theirs? No microphones involved in this one - I'm going to be wearing my riff-raff badge and mingling in the crowd.