What is in a name?

Source: jessstryker.com / Money Talks News

Susan and I wanted to take our son Stephen to see Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  It was a bit off the beaten path and on the way to it we passed a cemetery in the town of Little Hope.  The sign just made me laugh since it was obviously truthful but the name itself contradicted what was expected from the loved ones buried there and the ones left behind.

That reminded me of a simple fact.  It does matter what you call something.  Life insurance is something almost all of us have.  We are comfortable with the concepts.  But, the name is an outright lie: it is NOT life insurance … it is insurance about your death!  And, that is what it was originally called … but they found that no one wanted to buy it because it had such a negative connotation.

I think we are struggling with another series of labels and concepts today: smart grid, smart homes, wired homes, etc.  Perhaps we are once again on the wrong side of the customer engagement formula.  Maybe we should seek names that indicate what the customer gets with this technology: affordable control, comfort, and convenience.

We are getting closer with service offerings like “ComfortGuard” available through your local HVAC dealers.  They got the name right, but then blew it when it comes to the product offering.  The expensive system offers virtually nothing that makes sense to consumers.  You would expect it to focus on comfort … but it does not.

We at Apogee have been testing many of the supposedly smart home power monitors, like Sense.  The name is better than most, but once again, virtually nothing “under the hood” that would cause the homeowner to care about what it said over time.

These ideas are simply headed to the kitchen drawer … today’s cemetery for home technology … with little hope.

The formula for success is clear and we are hopefully going to show the world how it is done next Spring.  Stay tuned!


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