Technology around us becomes more accessible and more personal everyday. The closer it gets to us, the more we should be able to trust it and let it become a part of our lives, a true part of us. Marketers have been very creative on positioning solutions to a larger audience with a friendly name. They are even using names that sound like they could really be our friends.
Remember Dr. Sbaitso? The program that came with the first SoundBlaster and would “converse” with you as if he was your psychologist. It was kind of an ELIZA/A.L.I.C.E. chat robot. It was one of the first software solutions I remember to have a kind of a personal touch in the name. Although Sbaitso was just an acronym for “Sound Blaster Artificial Intelligent Text to Speech Operator” it still had that friendly ring to it. Maybe it also helped that he talked to me… about me…
These names of technology also remind me of the first digital pet I had: a Tamagotchi. Not really a friendly name and that might be why I was unable to keep it alive for longer than a few hours. I started calling it the ‘trauma got me’ just to have a bit more fun with it. Furby was a much friendlier example of a name. Remember these funny little fellows? Cute and playful. A name that fits and a name that sticks. A very successful strategy.
In the Netherlands we have several popular online and connected solutions with common, friendly names. We got Evi van Lanschot who actually is an online platform from the bank van Lanschot. Tim from ING bank who helps us with insight in our household spending’s. And we have Toon© from Eneco, who is our thermostat that sounds just a bit friendlier than NEST does to me. Would a friendlier name be a better fit for such a smart and learning solution like NEST?
Does adoption really go faster when using friendly names? I’m not sure on that one. I do think however it is a nice way to introduce new friendly concepts, especially those that learn from our behaviour. We live in a world where digital is the most direct channel to do business on a bigger scale and we still forget to behave friendly and personal.
With all the data we collect these days, we should move up from business information and business intelligence to a much more personal delivery of services. This especially is valid for business over all the digital channels: business intimacy as the new normal for digital. Doesn’t being personal deserve or maybe even need a friendly name?
I propose Aron for the next grand and smart personal digital assistant, as Aron gave me the inspiration to write this blog post. Baron Aron. Friendly and of good heritage J. Wouldn’t you trust his guidance?