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  • Posted by: Eden White and Taylor Goddu on Monday, March 3 2014 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

    MobileIn our continued conversation on technology and branding, we took a look at some of the tech names that emerged from this year’s Mobile World Congress.

    Take the Samsung Galaxy S5, the latest in the company’s ever-evolving Galaxy S line of smartphones. Aside from updates to the actual interface, forget having to submerge your phone in a bowl of rice — it’s now waterproof. There’s also a fingerprint scanner and a sensor in the back that acts as a heart-rate monitor and tracks your vitals. But while the S5 is the latest extension of the Galaxy portfolio, for a product that seems to be heavily focused on new features, the name doesn’t capitalize on any new applications, and might get lost in the greater Milky Way of phones.

    There’s also Samsung Gear, a line of watches and wearables. Last summer, Samsung dropped “Galaxy” from the product name. Why the change? In the latest revamp of the product, Tizen replaced Android as Samsung’s operating system of choice, and since “Galaxy” is reserved for Samsung’s Android-powered devices, the name change effectively signaled a strategic shift. “Gear” is a strong standalone name in that the product functions like a well-oiled machine. From emails, texts and calls, to even a pedometer, life is easier with everything directly at your wrist. With “Galaxy” now reserved for smartphones and tablets, Samsung’s overall portfolio is easier for consumers to navigate.

    The flip side of these high-tech devices are budget-friendly smartphones, like the Nokia X, the LG F70 (by LG Electronics), or the BlackBerry Z3. They all have a price tag of $200 or below and are all named with letters or alphanumerics. It’s a particularly effective strategy to drive brand equity back to the masterbrand—think about the luxury automotive world, where alphanumerics have long since been used to define the class of a car. When a lower price point is driving your decision in buying a phone, consumers might be less focused on specific features, but more attuned to the reputation of the overall brand.

    We’re seeing a difference in naming strategy based on price points and audiences, and we’re curious to see if this trend will stick or if new naming techniques will take hold. What do you think?

    Eden White and Taylor Goddu are Associate Consultants in Interbrand New York’s Verbal Identity.

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  • Posted by: Katie Conneally on Friday, January 17 2014 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

    We’ve looked at how companies are naming some of the biggest trends in technology, but what about the names for everyday products? This year’s CES was a treasure trove of technology that stands could impact on our day-to-day lives. With many names leaning toward the descriptive, it’s clear that companies are prioritizing making it easy for their audience to get what they do, even if the product isn’t as simple.

    Our smart phones have almost become a part of us, so it’s no surprise that many companies launched products for mobile phones at CES. Take Prong, whose PocketPlug is a case for your iPhone that plugs directly into the wall for easy charging, no pesky USB cables needed. The name itself is descriptive and alliterative, making it fun to say and hard to forget.

    One of the more fun phone accessories launched this year was TYPO, a physical Blackberry-esque keyboard for your iPhone. As a play on “typing” the name speaks to the function of the product, and as a real word; TYPO suggests that it helps users avoid exactly what the name describes.

    The smart watch is at the crossroads between mobile accessories and wearable technology. The original Pebble launched at CES last year, and a new version was announced this year: the Pebble Steel. As the name promises, the Pebble Steel offers high-quality materials, enhanced durability, and more of a metallic look. We don’t often see companies name to materials in the tech space — it may be shortsighted with such a quick pace of innovation and changes in manufacturing — so we’re curious to see how long the Pebble Steel will last.

    Outside of the mobile space, everyday products for the home took the stage. Clio, from ClearView Audio, is an “invisible” speaker for the home. Like the design, its name has the ability to blend into your life with a very human and familiar tonality; it sounds identical to the human name “Cleo.” Clio also evokes clarity, both of the sound and of the device itself, and is a suggestive and coined name that works well for the product.

    And the craziest thing that has the potential to become a part of your daily routine? That’s PulseWallet from Fujitsu, a cash register that scans the veins in your hand to collect payment. Another real word composite name, it taps into everyday terminology to tell you what it does, and uses friendly language to make something futuristic seem not that far out.

    Knowing this, if we had to venture a guess at what Samsung executives might name their new 85-inch bendable TV, we’d lean toward the descriptive. It gives them a chance to define the product in their own terms, and can tell users what to expect from something they haven’t seen before.

    Katie Conneally is a Consultant, Verbal Identity at Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Katie Conneally on Tuesday, January 14 2014 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

    The big news out of CES 2014 may have been the futuristic technology — everything from Samsung’s bendable TV to AT&T’s Drive, the connected car project, to personal drones that fit in your pocket. But here in Interbrand’s Verbal Identity department, we’re more interested in the product names that will be on everyone’s lips this year, starting with two of the biggest trends: the connected home and wearable technology.

    Connected Home

    Both Samsung and LG debuted connected home products with descriptive, real word names that have the potential to define the category. Samsung’s Smart Home platform lets you use your smart gadgets to manage home devices and appliances. And in case you’ve ever wanted to ask your fridge what’s for dinner, LG’s HomeChat allows users to communicate with their appliances via text message.

    On the other side of the naming spectrum, new company Sen.se launched Mother, a programmable home monitoring device that can track everything from movement to temperature, and “cares about you and loves you” just like your real mom would.

    Wearable Technology

    When it comes to the trend of wearable technology, the focus is on fitness. Names like LG’s Life Band Touch, which descriptively says it all, and Garmin’s Vivoki and Vivofit, which coin names off Latin roots, position wearable technology as a total lifestyle.

    Other wearable technology names highlight the “getting in shape” aspect of their devices. The Core from Sony speaks to everyone who’s ever gone to a pilates or yoga class, and Reign from JayBird, taps into the competitive side of fitness tracking where stats are king.

    There’s also wearable technology with a specific purpose. June is a sophisticated name for Netamo’s device that alerts you when you’ve been out in the sun too long. The name is an elegant nod to the month with the longest day of the year and start of summer, and complements the device’s fashion-forward design.

    Voyce, a fitness tracking collar for your dog, displays stats like heart rate that help you keep watch over the health of your pup. While it may sound generic, the name subtlety suggests the power of technology to help your pet communicate through more than just woofs, giving a voice to man’s best friend.

    Katie Conneally is a Consultant, Verbal Identity at Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Tuesday, January 7 2014 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Our social listening experts and on-the-ground Interbrand team are monitoring the interwebs and live press conferences at CES 2014 this week to bring you the latest product launches and innovations from the world's leading technology brands. Check out our recap of the biggest connected ecosystem stories and latest tech gadgets, live from Las Vegas, and follow @Interbrand on Twitter as we follow the buzz from Las Vegas this week. Stay tuned for news about how brands are forging connections, making consumers' lives better in the car and at home with wearable health trackers, and more.

    Samsung looks to partner brands to create a truly connected home - Yes, Samsung's 85-inch bendable TV sparkled, but its announcement of the "Smart Home" demonstrated the brand's understanding of the connected ecosystem's importance. Although this concept isn't first to market, Samsung's single platform will connect all smart devices and home appliances, allowing consumers to monitor and control every aspect of their home from any mobile device (phone, wearables, etc.). Initially, Samsung plans for the app to only work with its own products, but the brand understands that its future success relies on partnering with other brands' devices, as to create a truly connected home for consumers. [Engadget]

    AT&T Creates a "Smartphone on Wheels" - At the AT&T Developer Summit on Monday AT&T's announcements included the Drive Studio, a collaborative garage where partnering automakers will engage with the AT&T Drive technology to create a safe "smartphone on wheels," as Fast Company puts it.

    Text your appliances what to do with LG's HomeChat - LG's HomeChat app introduces a new level of consumer convenience and control. With an app that allows users to text their home appliances from anywhere, the sky's the limit: ask the fridge if you are out of milk while at the grocery store or start a wash cycle before arriving home from vacation. [CNET]

    Wearable Health Gadgets Off To a Running Start at CES - Wearable technology brands like Nike and Kolibree are improving lives in a growing market, connecting health-tech devices used across life spaces. We're looking forward to seeing the impact of these brands in 2014. [brandchannel]

    Intel Brings "Human-Like Senses" To Devices - Intel's RealSense technology aims to make tech feel more "human-like" through voice, touch, gestures and 3-D notebook cameras. [Forbes]

    Sony reveals its fun side with wearable tech - Demonstrating the brand's latest vision centered around "play," Sony announced the SmartBand, a gadget that captures not only physical motion, but emotion as well. This device will monitor consumers' daily activities and visually represent them in the Lifelog app, allowing users to reminisce about their past and plan for the future. [CNET]

    Monitor grilling temps with iDevices - iGrill2 serves up a little help in the kitchen for the grill master of the house, allowing you to monitor your meat's progress on the grill from your smartphone. Never overcook your steak again! [CNET]

    To learn more, please contact Andrea Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer, North America at asullivan@interbrand.com. To subscribe to The Connected Ecosystem: Interbrand at CES, please click here

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  • Posted by: Rob Meyerson on Monday, October 14 2013 05:18 PM | Comments (0)
    Basis B1 Band

    Last week, Basis Science, maker of fitness tracker Basis, announced an $11.75 million round of Series B financing from investors like Intel Capital and Stanford University. The news serves as one more data point for an increasingly obvious trend: the wearable technology market is in the midst of explosive growth, predicted by some to increase tenfold in the next several years. But whether they’re backed by startups, small businesses, or major brands like Samsung, Google, or (potentially) Apple, wearables face a common challenge: They must successfully bridge the disparate worlds of cutting-edge consumer technology and mainstream fashion.

    As pointed out in a recent Fast Company article, the advent of wearable computers demands that technology companies “pay as much attention to the ‘wearable’ as [they do] to the ‘computer.’” Simply offering multiple colors, inviting designers to launch events, or putting their products on models may not be enough to make these devices desirable from a fashion standpoint.

    Many consumer technology companies have a history of designing stylish products, but earbuds and phones—no matter how beautiful they are—differ significantly from watches and glasses. For instance, phones spend the majority of their time in our pockets or purses, whereas watches and glasses are on display all the time. More importantly, most of us are comfortable with just one phone, while many people own several watches or pairs of glasses, whether for reasons of fashion or function (e.g., digital watches worn while exercising, reading glasses, or sunglasses).

    How should brands known more for "computer" than "wearable" handle this challenge? Herein lies an opportunity for co-branding.

    Google is already rumored to be working with Warby Parker to design a more fashionable version of Glass. Nike, who makes Fuelband, is already an expert in designing fashionable apparel. But for others, the secret to good looks could lie in teaming up with well-matched partners and creating “ingredients” that work modularly with multiple products.

    Basis, for example, could partner with a brand like Nixon, who already makes some watches with a similar aesthetic, to produce a co-branded line of beautiful and hyper-functional watches. Or perhaps another option is Omega, already known for precision and innovative watchmaking—but also for luxury and design. Furthermore, the Basis health tracker components could detach and fit snugly into a full line of watches, similar to the Nike+ Sensor and Nike+ ready shoes (a co-branded offering from Nike and Apple).

    Deciding which brand to team up with depends on a host of business and brand considerations and without a doubt, negotiating the specifics of relationships like these can be difficult. Which brand is getting more “credit” for the product? Whose name comes first? If something terrible happens to one brand, how will it impact the other?

    Like any partnership, co-branding comes with risks, and can backfire because of mistrust or misaligned goals. Done right, co-branding benefits all parties involved: each brand benefits from the strengths and positive associations of the other, and consumers get a best-of-both-worlds product—in this case, a computer that is not just literally wearable, but desirably so.

    Rob Meyerson is Director, Verbal Identity, for Interbrand San Francisco.

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