You may have met Luna, my furry-faced pup, in my previous post. Those whiskers seem to be an instant ice-breaker with pretty much everyone, and she’s very affectionate towards any person or dog. This is, of course, a positive thing because she’ll need all the social advantages she can get to counter any intimidation she instils with her high-energy German Pointer nature.
So far so good then, but her name often causes comment, which surprises me.
To me, it’s just another, standard, dog name: two syllables that roll easily off the tongue when you need to shout it; and always appearing on internet lists of most popular female dog names, amongst all the Mollies and Lassies and so on.
Last week, though, having a burrito and a lager outside at a Courtenay Place cafe with the dog resting under my table, the young couple at the table next door asked her name and on hearing it said it was a really ‘cool’ name.
Conversely, out in the country, my elderly neighbours Peter and Pauline think it an odd name for a dog; and Peter, five months after first meeting us, still refuses to use it. Linda, a bit further down the road, after quizzically trying Luna a few times, feels more comfortable calling her Loony.
Another shaggy dog story developing here, so jumping to a point of sorts: with business communications, understand your target market and what motivates it and plan your comms accordingly. The words and images you use will resonate differently with different groups of people; and first impressions can leave a lasting impression.
Last week, I had a call from a young guy who had recently arrived in New Zealand and had set up a software company, giving it a name with a symbol in it and three syllables that are meant to sound like the English language, but don’t, and an extensive website where each page has, by the looks, been very badly Google translated from Chinese.
He’s dead keen to promote his company and wants publicity in all the major computer industry publications. His enthusiasm is great, but I said perhaps he needed to think about getting his public face in order first before setting his sights wider.
With limited spoken English, he needs every advantage he can get to help create a favourable impression to prospective local customers. An ad or profile in an industry magazine, while personally flattering perhaps, will not help him without the backup of NZ-focused comms.
He hasn’t yet quite understood the relevance, and simply wants to get his firm’s profile out there as fast as possible. I think he risks serious brand damage before he even starts and unless he puts effort into reworking his comms, it’ll be difficult to help him.
Luckily for Luna, her target market is small, and me yelling Lu-Na across the paddocks works just fine for both of us, even as, I imagine, Peter grimaces and turns down his hearing aid.