We all give our friends and family nicknames, and they give them back. Sometimes they may be names of endearment (like calling your boyfriend babycakes) or references to a specific event that happened. Other times they can be for something embarrassing, like “Fruit Loops” because you spilled them on yourself in middle school. One of the most common examples of nicknames is for athletes. Babe Ruth is one of the most famous examples with multiple nicknames such as “King of Swing,” “Sultan of Swat,” “The Babe” and so many more. But, what does it mean when consumers give companies a nickname?
There are many brands that have developed their own nickname, from fast food restaurants to technology companies. Mickey D’s, Tar-zhay (the fancy way of saying Target), Wally World, Big Blue – the list goes on. We are sure everyone has heard or in fact used the nickname for McDonald’s, Mickey D’s or even “The Golden Arches”. We have all heard Microsoft called “Mr.Softee,” but why use the nickname?
When consumers feel connected with a brand, it forms a sense of loyalty. This sense of loyalty feels similar to the relationships you form with family and friends, whom you tend to nickname. In the same way, we gravitate towards nicknames for brands we feel close and connected to. Companies can become humanized and customers love creating these terms of endearment for the brands they support and love. It makes you feel as though you are part of the same family or circle of friends as these companies, on a first name basis. Company nicknames can be positive or negative; it is the reflection of the opinions that form based on customer experience.
Some companies have nicknames based on negative experiences from consumers, such as Taco Bell being referred to as “Taco Smell” or Neiman Marcus being deemed “Needless Markup.” By engaging with your consumers and creating an overall great customer experience you can avoid these negative nicknames. Show your consumers what makes you great, and they’ll come up with a charming nickname for you.
What’s your favorite company nickname?