It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That (Bada)-Bing.

Devon Thomas Treadwell | Branding,Naming | Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Rumor has it that Microsoft’s new search engine–previously known as Live Search, then temporarily renamed to Kumo–will now be launched as “Bing.”

Admittedly, we have been tough on Microsoft for its lackluster naming. But when a company has the budget of a Microsoft, shouldn’t it nail its branding every time?

According to this story in PC World, Bing’s value innovation lies in making searches more efficient by providing a list of related categories with your search results. So what does “Bing” refer to?

To me, it connotes cherries and Crosbies. But maybe Microsoft was going for the “bing” in “bada-bing.” As in, “Bada-BING! Here’s what you were looking for.”

If that’s the case, they should have used the whole word so that the idea hits the brain fully formed. Without the “bada,” the “bing” can mean too many things, leading the brain off on tangents.

On the other hand, maybe I’m giving Microsoft too much credit. Maybe they were just looking for a short, meaningless, onomatopoeic word that sorta sounds like that seminal moment when you find exactly what you’re looking for online. Maybe they wanted a short word that could be made into a verb.

I get that. But of all the criteria that a name should be evaluated against, brand promise is the most important, not length or sound.

“Bing” is not the worst brand name ever invented. But it could have been better.

Moral of the story: When you’re naming, don’t use just parts of words that can make too many irrelevant connections and diffuse the focus of your brand message. Use the right whole word–a word that people already know–and (bada-bing bada-boom!) you’ll connect to existing ideas that communicate how you want your brand to be perceived.

1 Comment »

  1. [...] on how Microsoft came to the “decision” to re-brand its search engine, yet again, with some commentators hoping for more bada bing in the new name. It is too early to tell what the newly branded search engine will bring. Some may [...]

    Pingback by CatchThis: The Company Naming and Product Naming Blog » Blog Archive » Guest Blog: A Hopeful King Bing, But It’s Not Google — June 4, 2009 @

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