What's in a Name? Product Naming in a Global Economy

While Shakespeare would say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, many marketing gurus would not agree. This thought came to my mind when I came across the microprocessor series from Energy Micro Devices (recently acquired by Silicon Labs).

Vimal K. Puthiyadath

Energy Micro Devices claims it makes the world's most energy-friendly microcontrollers and radios. The EFM32 microcontroller family is named after the Gecko. These chips have a lizard logo on them, inspired by David Attenborough and the BBC camera crew that made a series on amphibians and reptiles.

These cold-blooded creatures consume 10 percent of the energy of a mammal of similar size. Hence the Gecko name is used to indicate the ultra-low-power characteristics of EFM32 MCUs.

Thanks to recent developments in bioelectronics, low-power designs are gaining importance in the healthcare domain. Miniaturization with low-power design is a definitely a winning combination. By naming its energy-friendly processor "Gecko," the company also expressed its inclination toward biomimicry or biomimetics.

I think it is important to name a product in a way that proclaims the mission and vision of the company. It is also important not to fall into the unfortunate cultural trap related to naming of the product -- choosing a name that may have an unfortunate meaning in a different geography, like that of Mitsubishi Pajero, which is now a case study in foreign branding.

Mitsubishi Pajero had to be renamed "Montero" in Spain and Latin America, since Pajero is a lewd Spanish slang term, which even has similar connotations in the UK. Mitsubishi originally got the name Pajero from the pampas cat, Leopardus pajeros.

What do you think about naming a product? What is its significance, especially in the context of medical devices?

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Vimal K. Puthiyadath, Biomedical Electronics Engineer

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