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Jun 3, 2020    Burn Book

Zoom, It’s Gotta Be You (A Naming Agency Knows)


What has been disconcerting about what we shall all call “This,” is either one or another is happening, and possibly both simultaneously: Zoom is behind it all. Or the one-word entity name, once unquantifiable, is now what category marketers like myself, have suspected to be true all along. When it comes to content marketing, the fewer words you can say something in, the better it performs. If––and this is a big if––the brand build is done right. 

There has to be fluidity between the digital ad itself and the authoritative voice that gives the ad more value in it’s a more urgent appeal. 

Zoom, I’ve got your number. What has remained consistent is that you were dominating a highly saturated market, and somehow I became a customer after using Uberconference for years although I can’t remember exactly why. But how you became the “familiar thing” that even celebrity gossip rags are using left and right? Color me impressed. No one says, “Hey let’s get on Hangout.” Do they? 

But why are people not saying Skype, which is one word as well? Skype, there is hope for you yet as people aren’t saying they’re ‘zooming’ yet, which would be the equivalent of telling someone you’re ‘googling’ something. Or are they? At what point does a brand reach the coveted “Kleenex” or “Xerox” space where the brand is the defining umbrella term for the type of service or product? We were using search engines for years before looking something up online became “Googling” by default. Has it ever happened so quickly though?

This is where the value of a naming agency, brand consultant, and category marketing methodology come in. Certainly Zoom reached this stature partly because the technology is better. Somehow teleconferencing has been around for years but every solution is as close to garbage as Oscar the Grouch. Zoom is somewhat better, in my experience. But it’s also the brand name that attracts people. Zoom sounds fast and easy. It isn’t difficult to spell. Skype has been around for a long time but the idea of skyping with someone does not evoke feelings of joy and ease. 

There are similar software leaders in different spaces, and you can tell that they follow a similar naming and branding ideology. For whatever reason, slack is the most popular business chat tool. It is far from the first, but they quickly became number one in the hearts of anti-social office mates the world over. It too has a one syllable name with a familiar spelling. It gives the sense that you aren’t even working if you are using it. It’s like they’re using reverse psychology on employees, which is perfect in the era when offices have ping pong tables and kombucha lounges aimed at keeping workers there way past happy hour. It fits the moment while also conveying a timeless concept.

The more you think about it, the more the ascendance of Zoom and Slack seem like a foregone conclusion. Which is why you need to take your naming so seriously. A naming agency understands that the right name needs to take into account the product’s function, must convey emotion, must tap into the needs and desires of the target audience, and often in just one or two words. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Literally, a naming agency can provide the key difference between you and a competitor in the mind of a prospect. Forget about technology or feature sets, think about what seems easy, effortlessly cool, sort of fun even if it serves an unglamorous purpose.

We are in an era when there is a massive consolidation among big players in major industries. Most of the websites we have open on our tabs are owned by Google or Facebook, and all the other sites rely on those two for any revenue or traffic. How could Zoom compete against Google, Which has a product that does the exact same thing? The ubiquity of Google gave them a huge head start. But Google isn’t interesting or cool or fun. These aren’t factors that you would see in most B2B companies’ business plans. But they matter.

That’s how Zoom zoomed their way to the top of the telepile. “This” era might have heightened the need, but only one could reign supreme. It had to be you, Zoom.

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