OATH? Ufda

How you introduce your new brand name is almost as important as the name itself. And since everybody is a budding comedian with a wry comment and a social media account, you have to have your head in the sand not to anticipate sideways looks and withering commentary about your new name no matter how great and powerful it is.

The branding highway is littered with new names that, good, bad or indifferent, were pummeled in the media. And while you can’t completely protect yourself you can be smarter about how you introduce your new self to the world.

First, constraining yourself to launching something as important as your brand using just 140 characters invites ridicule. Names need context, a story, a reason. Brands will never stand alone so why introduce them that way? 140 characters begs people to crack wise with one-liners. Tell your customers and prospects why you chose the name you did. It will aid recall and seat the message.

Second, the Twitter medium itself facilitates the ridicule. Creating is hard, criticizing is easy. No one is going to go viral patting you on the back for your strategy and creativity, so why encourage the negativity with a medium known for anything but reasoned thought.

Now to the name itself, Oath. Verizon didn’t do itself any favors.  In the end, the business will rise and fall on its merits and the name tempest will be but a footnote, but still. Oath is a serious word about serious matters. Let’s face it, we're talking entertainment here so there is a disconnect that could have been easily avoided.  Digging a little deeper and over-parsing it like no consumer will, didn’t Yahoo! take an “oath” to secure its customers’ data?  Irony much?

Linguistically, Oath is short but nonetheless it is an awkward word requiring a few more gyrations of the vocal tract than its brevity would suggest. Not a deal killer, but there are 249,999 other words in the English language.

Yahoo! captured the ethos of its time. AOL, anticipating the social aspect of social media before there was such a thing, invited all of America to join in. Is Oath too serious for these troubled times? Perhaps, something more diverting was called for.