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The Power – and Value – of a Good Name

On Wednesday, December 8th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Racebrook Marketing Concepts is holding a “Brand Name Auction.” Essentially, they’ll be selling names. That’s right – no companies, no stock, no brick and mortar – only names. They’re names that millions recognize, but the companies they used to represent are now out of business. Names like General Cinema, Handi-Wrap, Lucky Whip, General Instrument, Braniff International, Infoseek, Victrola, and many more. They’re auctioning them off, because even after all these years, these names still have brand equity. They conjure up feelings, emotions, and memories for millions of people, and as a result, they have value – in fact, some have a great deal of value.

It reminds me of the immortal quote from John Stuart, Former Chairman of the Quaker Oats Corporation: “If the business were split up, I would take the brands, trademarks, and goodwill, and you could have all the bricks and mortar – and I would do better than you.”

The question is – what’s the value of your company, organization, church, non-profit, or project’s name? Forget how cool your building is, or how great your product, or how creative your team. Think about the value of the name. Is it so powerful, and does it represent so much goodwill that long after your organization is gone, people would still be willing to pay for the name?

That’s an important question to ask from time to time. Any good answers out there?

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Phil Cooke, Ph.D, is a filmmaker, media consultant, and founder of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California. His latest book is “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking." Find out more at philcooke.com.