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Why names matter more for Services

Alphy's decided to take on the city of Bangalore on wheels. It won't be easy. This despite the fact that she's the one who drives me around when we are in Dubai. Bangalore's a different proposition. The nitwits on the roads are unpredictable. You won't know till D-day whether the guy in the car ahead of you will turn right, or left or drive straight ahead when he comes to a turn on the road. Its your skills at prediction that will save you on Indian roads.

So Alphy's decided to go in for some classes at a Driving school. She listed down a few schools she decided to consider. Last evening as she read the names out with their charges something funny happened. In my mind, I started to develop a faint discomfort to those school names that didn't sound right. For example, Deccan Driving School sounded fine, Preethi Driving school didn't. This happened to all the names, with a clear division forming between names I took to, and ones I didn't. Now that's pretty irrational. I have no idea which of these schools are better at teaching how to drive. Yet I start picking favourites.

Consumers do just that. They may even pick favourites on the way names sound, despite having zero experience with the brand. More so when its services. When it comes to a service, its very difficult for consumers to draw on a schema in their minds, because of its nature of intangibility. There are no tangibles to draw from. And so consumers will turn to anything that can help form impressions. Like names. Deccan rings a bell. It means something. It sounds respectable. Deccan as a name refers to the south of India. There's a newspaper by the same name, Deccan Herald. And so on. 'Preethi 's just a name, of a person. At least for me. That isn't good enough for me to draw positive impressions about the service being offered. In fact I can't even connect the name with the service I am looking for.

It isn't easy branding intangibles. Because there's nothing much that's tangible to work with. That's why 'physical evidences' matter. For a service. But what can still help services is intangibles like names. Get that right, and you get impressions right. Helps you become a part of the consumer's consideration set. As for me, I will fight my discomfort with names to widen my consideration set. I just hope, once we decide, Alphy's gonna a nice time, navigating Bangalore roads.

Though I doubt it.


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