Please Name Your Technology Something We Can Remember

By on February 20th, 2019 in Ideas

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 [Image: Pexels]
[Image: Pexels]

There’s standing out, and there’s STAndING ouT.

Will you lose a layperson in conversation if you talk about making a new product with XCELSIORzoopzoopPRO software on your new PRINTitALL 9000 AMCFPAPVC 3D printer using Co-Branded PAEK 9085 Pelletized Super PAEK?

Probably — and not because of the actually-quite-simple hinge you’re making that saved months in tooling time and thousands in molds, but because they just can’t follow the brand names.

If you brand enough, eventually it stops seeming accessible and might seem more like, well, a bot just came up with it.

Branding is more important than some of us might like to pretend.

Marketing is a careful craft of drawing and keeping attention, focusing on highlights and perhaps keeping barriers in the shadows. Faced daily with flashy commercials, YouTube ads, sponsored content, never-ending press releases, and omnipresent branding, it can almost be easy to forget there’s a deep psychology that goes into it all.

Think about how people Hoover (vacuum), ask for a Kleenex (tissue) or a Q-tip (cotton swab) in the bathroom, or want to Xerox (photocopy) something. Exceptional branding power becomes synonymous with a product.

Excellent marketing professionals are worth much more than their weight in gold, and are vital to growing successful business exploits. Those who are truly gifted in messaging can convey the benefits and values of a product or service that can lead to successful sales and partnerships.

And then there are those who… aren’t. Or, worse, those who have great products and services but fall prey to the temptation of over-branding. Creating tech with a more user-friendly interface can lose something in translation when those users (and the media) can’t easily remember the exact name of what they’re using. How can someone recommend a product they can’t immediately recall?

During networking events, I often find myself chatting with other journalists and analysts who have access to a variety of technologies, and who themselves attend a great many events. We’ll share impressions of new introductions and catch up on companies. I’ve heard of some interesting developments this way.

If I don’t have a pen and paper on me (which admittedly I normally do), or my phone battery died, I’ll make a mental note to look up whatever lead or point of interest was dropped so I can get more detail later. I can’t do that if I can’t remember it. Likewise, if I can’t recall the name of a new tech, I’ll either have to go around it (“It’s a new release from FantastaPrint that can do a carbon fiber composite, but isn’t their CF printer…”) or will just chat about a different one. Forgettable names will literally be left out of the conversation.

Introducing a new 3D printer in a line is often a great step forward for a printer manufacturer, for example. The lines make sense: if you need to print nylon, check out these compatible machines, and choose the one whose specs most closely match your needs.

But if they’re all named the Super Printer X, Super Printer XM, Super Printer T, and Super Printer T300… it can be easy for a new drop to lose grip on some marketing prowess. For a busy inbox, an email with subject line “Super Printer T300” might be ignored because someone recalls recently receiving word about the “Super Printer T” and perhaps think it’s more of the same, despite the T300 adding 300 new features or printing at 300 degrees or…

There’s a fine line to branding, to what works and what doesn’t. Fitting in to the company’s overall messaging and adhering to overall vision is important, especially for larger players with global recognition and large portfolios. But getting caught up in their own cleverness and focusing overmuch on the latest expansion of the ALL CAPS NAME that maybe has a super- or subscript addition can, while making the names stand out, also make them a pain to type or format.

So maybe this one’s a selfish ask, in the end. But I want to talk about (and write about) this tech, and it’d be great if that wasn’t sometimes hard to do in ensuring the formatting meets someone else’s marketing team’s standards. Marketing is critical; it’s the tech at the heart of the message, though, that really matters, and that’s what I want to talk about. Easily.

By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.