I attended an event that featured a photo booth called “Lime.” I went over to it expecting to see props involving the green fruit, but there was nothing “lime” associated with it at all. 

I asked the photographer why the company chose that name when there were no limes. He said that the owner was playing off the Apple theme — when you hear Apple, you think computers and not fruit, and so he thought he could brand Lime into photo booths and not lemon’s best friend.

At first, it sounds like a crazy theory, but the principle does have some merit. Think about what first comes to mind with these brands:

When you first hear —
> Snickers do you think of laughter or a candy bar?
> Camel are you referencing a dromedary or cigarettes?
> Amazon do you even consider that it is a river in South America?
> Polo are you thinking of a sport on horseback or a shirt?
> Taurus do you think of an astrological sign or a Ford car?
> Patagonia are you picturing a vacation in Chile or adventure wear?
> Pilot are you reaching for an aviator or a gel pen?
> Pampers do you think of verb or diapers?
> Rolling Stone do you picture a band or magazine or a tumbling rock?
> Outback does your mind wander to Australia or steak?
> Delta do you bring to mind a region in Mississippi or an airline?
> Shell do you think of a mollusk or a gas station?
> Dove do you picture a bird or a bar of soap with cleansing cream?

Your mind becomes used to things as you repeat them, and soon the definition shifts to the newer item instead of the original thought. Normal nouns become products and after time we associate the word with the brand.

When naming things, you don’t have to devise an acronym or conjure up a new word. With enough repetition and exposure, Lime can what you think of when you first hear “photo booth.” And if you doubt me, re-read the list above.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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