iPad – What’s in a name?

Today’s launch of the iPad created some serious hype, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the initial launch of the iPhone. While there have been some mixed reviews about the device, the product’s name itself has drawn quite a few snickers and been the butt of a few jokes.  Even the Wall Street Journal reported on it.

This got me thinking about how (or if) I would respond to the silliness surrounding the product name if I were on Apple’s PR team. On one hand, having the WSJ write about the issue does raise some concerns; but on the other hand, the product name is not going to change and people will ultimately pay more attention to the news itself and product reviews. Without overthinking it, I would let the whole thing blow over.

I asked my Twitter followers what they would do, and it seems my thinking is spot on. Of course, I’m curious to see what approach Apple takes. 

One thing is for sure, while some folks take pot-shots at the iPad’s name, those of us in PR and marketing can use this as a reminder about the steps we can take to try and avoid similar situations. These are the two most basic approaches that come to mind:

  • Use focus groups or surveys during the planning stage to get feedback about a product’s potential features, naming conventions, etc.
  • Embrace social media monitoring tools like Radian6 or Sysomos leading up to a launch. Whether it’s a movie, a product or a service that you’re bringing to market, gaining insight into consumer sentiment before you launch can help guide your marketing plans; provide some direction on product features/functions to add/remove; help you tweak your messaging, etc.

What would you do? Would you also let the storm blow over?


4 responses to “iPad – What’s in a name?

  1. I appears to be a big issue now, but is it really – it will all go away pretty quickly especially as the other brand associations that relate to the ipad attach to it.

    Sorry marketing sacrilege – but did they research the name Apple to start with – is that a good name for a computer, was it when they started working with it, how well would google have done in that focus group.

    You know what – I think its a pretty good name that describes the concept well, short, easy to remember, easy to pronounce.

    My two cents worth @walterpike

    • Thanks for your comments, Walter. It seems like obscure names like Apple and Google are ones that seem to resonate (who knew that Google would eventually become a verb!). But you’re right, they probably wouldn’t have done well in a focus group.

      I saw a few pre-launch names floating around including iSlate and iTablet. I didn’t think either of those was particularly fitting. I actually liked iBook as a name – positions it as larger than an iPod and not quite a MacBook.


  2. That was my first reaction as well (also liked ibook) but actually book is too limiting in fact -it implies ‘kindle” and this is very much more – even now ( remember its only the opening bid)

    Pad’s are more interactive, more personal, more creative. ( I refer of course to the non school boy interpretation.)

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention iPad – What’s in a name? « Echo Communications -- Topsy.com

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