What do you think of when you hear the brand name PUMA? Most people respond to that question by saying, “shoes”.
Yes, there is already a PUMA, and while it’s in a very different market than the new Segway PUMA, and it’s unlikely the products will be confused with one another, the problem is that the name is already taken and consumers already associate it with another product. PUMA already communicates a brand message, image and promise.
So why did Segway choose PUMA as the brand name for its new ultra-small, eco-friendly car? Because companies can’t get away from their love of acronyms! There are acronyms for everything. It’s the cool thing to do. PUMA stands for Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility. Dull huh? I guess Segway felt the same way. Acronym to the rescue, and PUMA was born.
This seems like such a missed opportunity. Does anyone really care that PUMA stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility? Isn’t that obvious just by looking at it? Segway had a rare opportunity to choose a creative, innovative brand name. Instead, they chose a brand name that’s already taken. It takes some of the mystique out of the product. Instead of Segway’s PUMA being perceived as “next generation” and “futuristic”, it becomes boring and the opposite of unique.
Therein lies the problem. It’s a unique product. Why not give it a unique name?
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