The Global Power of WWW

The most powerful three letters in the world today are www. No further explanation is required.

There are also many other famous uses of this 23rd letter of the alphabet W as in WWI or WWII, and we are still working overtime on a WWIII. Then there's the WWF & WWF. The match between the World Wildlife Fund and the World Wrestling Federation resulted in the muscles losing to cuddly pandas, and the wrestlers became the WWE, the "E" being "entertainment".

WE is also Women's Entertainment, with their exclusive branding theme "WE is smart" Really? A WC is a small water closet or washroom in Europe. There are also the 5 W's; Who?, What?, Where?, When? and Why?.

Let's ignore the WMD's and go directly to this urgent issue of a lone W.

The Hotel W…as they boast on their opening page on websites "starts with the name W…for warm, wonderful, witty, wired. W for welcome."

Perhaps they mean W for Wisdom and a serious lack of. This major group behind big brands like Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Worldwide Inc. is threatening them with a legal posture, demanding from two political merchandisers that they remove the letter "W", as in George W. Bush, from "apparel & accessories" baseball hats and T-shirts, they are selling. "[It] mimics the trade dress of The W Hotels, which has the effect of eroding the unique brand identity developed in the W logo." This battle is way separate than Teresa Heinz Kerry's Heinz Ketchup and a newly released Republican flavored, "W Ketchup"…W as in Washington?

Legally, no one can own a letter. Period. However, in design and logo they exist as W of Westinghouse or any other logo depicting a lone letter W of any other brand. The Hotel W should basically watch and see how others use this letter. After all, the use of the letter W is in public domain. At this moment, W is being increasingly referred to President Bush, so let it be; there is nothing wrong with this.

In the meanwhile, for those who are convinced Al Gore invented the Internet, right on. To match this myth, the WWW is really "dubya, dubya, dubya." Come November, we will know the real power of W-branding.

Going back to WWW. Imagine if there was a PPP or VVV. QQQ or ZZZ are too stingy. Maybe XXX, after all, half the Internet is just that. KKK was definitely not available.

When for every cognitive idea, there is word, which unfolds like an album then this makes each single letter a small painting for our imagination. Let's forget this romanticism or the oil paintings. Here is the reality. The use of a letter or two in corporate naming is very tricky. Outside IBM, 3M or 7UP, most initialised names struggle to stay alive and eventually die. There are other exceptions such as "OK", as in being alright, "XYZ" meaning miscellaneous, or "ABC", as in simple steps.

The branding with a single letter never works. Like Compaq's struggle with a single letter; Q. Ford's fetish with the letter F, where all of their cars must

have a name starting with this letter. Parking the entire marketing and branding campaign on a single letter is like watching a single frame from a movie, the mind simply can't follow the storyline. "Finally she stabs the guy" but who, where and why…

what's going on? This is how this abbreviated branding invites a subtle rejection from exhausted customers at large. Outside XXX, they have no idea why something is called W, Q or a car called Fuddle-Duddle.

In a world of initials and acronyms, when there are millions of businesses using 3-4 letter words with logos depicting such initials as corporate identities, the waste and toil on the human mind to gain attention is awesome. Pick any 3-4 letters, arrange them in any sequence and try them out on Google, and if you get anything less than a 10,000 identical hits than you certainly have a winner. Or do you?

Most initials in business come from long names that customers refuse to say out in full. Hence IBM. Corporations exhaust themselves explaining what the initials stands for.

Ask the duck at AFLAC doing those cute film-noir commercials. Do you know what AFLAC stands for? Nobody does, except the duck. At times, Master Branding, like a conspiracy theory, resorts to recommending initials as a final solution. Most often,

the absence of a winning name, urgently requires replacing a pre-historic long corporate name,

turns into adopting a few confusing letters as a great victory. Watch out the high risks of such master branding. Here, all other divisional names and other products are simply left dangling.

Everything becomes the same set of initials, and customers are ever so confused.

Next time you want to gain attention and would like your customers to park your brand name in the corridors of their mind, then give their imagination an album of paintings. Random initials are not good solutions. A single letter on its own is not a brand; it's nothing, a lost image, a painting without a wall. It's just another lost W.

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