Friday, May 6, 2011

Count on Numbers in Product Names

I spent most of my elementary and middle school time living in Burbank and Hollywood, California, two centers of production of television shows and movies. Among my classmates were a few genuine child stars and a whole bunch of aspiring child stars, each of whom seemed to place great importance on the teacher getting their name right.
     At the start of each school year, when the teacher would ask us to introduce ourselves, I found myself tickled by the special posture and tone with which each of the child stars would announce their name. Pomposity, I’d call it. If I’d known what that word meant at my age.
     My reaction to this was a bit of mischief: When it was my turn, I’d stand up, raise my chin so my eyes appeared to be looking down at the teacher, and spell it out. “B-R-U-the numeral 3-C-E. But the 3 is silent.”
     Recently reported consumer behavior findings indicate I was on to something. Numbers in names can add a special touch, and this is where I bring it all back to improving retailer profitability. On your limited shelf space, which would you prefer to depend on to yield high sales: V8 juice or Campbell’s Tomato Juice? Levi’s 501’s or Dockers?
     Researchers at University of Florida and National University of Singapore find that, everything else being equal, a number in a product name will make it more attractive to your shoppers.
  • Small numbers add appeal to low-tech names, larger numbers to high-tech ones.
  • Formula 409 has a history of selling well, and 409 is a prime number. However, the researchers find that for unfamiliar products, prime numbers do less well than non-primes. The imaginary shampoo name Zinc 24 was liked better than was Zinc 31.
     There is an important exception to the appeal of numbers in product titles. It has to do with movie stars—child and adult—or more accurately, with the movies they star in. Researchers at University of California-Los Angeles and University of Pennsylvania found that, compared to numbered movie sequels, named sequels earn more box office receipts and receive better reviews. The researcher’s explanation: A numbered sequel seems to be too much like the predecessors—and may very well have been produced to achieve similarity with a proven formula. But movie goers prefer fresh experiences.
     When the benefit is novelty, not consistency, omit sequential numerals.

Click below for more:
Number Costs & Benefits for Desired Effects
Boast About Underdog Determination

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