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Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business [Paperback]

Alex Frankel
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 22 2005
In Wordcraft, Alex Frankel, a business writer who once briefly worked as a namer, tells the story of how five major brands got their names: BlackBerry, Accenture, Viagra, the Porsche Cayenne, and IBM’s “e-business.” Behind each name is an account of how words and language infuse the products we use every day with meaning, and how great words actually succeed in changing people’s behavior. The book is filled with stories about words that come from every corner of our world: technology, health, sports, food, business, and more.


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Product Description

From Booklist

Frankel has managed to crack open the world of professional namers, a highly guarded group of specialists who focus exclusively on coining brand names. A winning name is crucial to the success of any product, and large companies may spend half a million dollars or more for a cadre of wordsmiths to craft just the right one. A successful name--think of Viagra or FedEx--will leap beyond mere brand recognition to enter the public lexicon. Professional namers don't just sell a name, they craft a complete story to go with it, one that companies will expand on when marketing to the public. Frankel explores the details of the creation of five brand names: BlackBerry, Accenture, Viagra, the Porsche Cayenne, and IBM's e-business, revealing industry-level insight into the characteristics of a good name, and the difficulties involved in finding one that is catchy yet functional. Frankel, a business writer for magazines such as Forbes, Wired, and the New York Times Magazine, briefly worked as a namer himself. A mind-opening examination of image, perception, marketing, and manipulation. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Enlightening, engaging, and entertaining.” —Newsweek

“A thoughtful and engaging exploration of how companies and products get their names nowadays, as well as the function of brands in a global culture . . . Hilarious and revealing.” —Wall Street Journal

“Words always matter, but they really matter to a corporation trying to make its brand the one we remember out of the thousands we see daily. That’s why the stories behind the creation of names like Viagra or Accenture are so surprisingly rich. With the outsider perspective of a journalist, plus insider perspective gained by crossing over into the ‘synthetic language’ business himself, Alex Frankel knows the name game like nobody else.” —Rob Walker, “Consumed” columnist, The New York Times Magazine

“Informative, overdue . . . fascinating.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Wordcraft is a rare peek inside organizations making enormous decisions about their identities and futures—struggling to develop a brand name that captures what they want to be when they grow up. Journalist Frankel talks his way into situations most of us never see. The book is both vivid and lively.” —Chip Heath, professor of organizational behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful May 14 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Great book. Fast read and Frankel has a lot of insight into the industry.
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Format:Hardcover
I will never think of "Viagra" the same way again. Frankel is an astute verbal anthropologist; he takes recent brand names ("blackberry") that have become household words and traces them back to their roots -- back to their early beginnings as ideas in a focus group meeting, scribbles in a whiteboard session, a twinkle in the eye of a member of the word-obsessed "naming" community. The world of creating corporate brand names is both thrilling and terrifying. (You learn how Frito-Lay has teams of scientists who have calculated the precise times of day in which people crave salt or sugar, so the company can play their commercials at the right times.) Frankel, a wonderful wordsmith himself, brings each brand's story alive. He has created the year's must-read book for anyone in advertising, marketing, business, or the business of names.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Looking beyond the obvious... May 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
What I enjoyed about Wordcraft is the way Frankel examines the everyday, and in many ways, obvious use of "name" in branding and how that effects consumer patterns (and sometimes corporate). That being said, it is more then just the name, but the color, font and movement of the name. This book coupled with a book by Paco Underhill (Why We Buy)should be required reading for first year namers/branders, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insiders View of Marketing May 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
What a great look inside the workings of the marketing world, for someone like me, who is not in that profession. The personal insight was very interesting and enticing. I want to know how many job offers Mr. Frankel received from this book. I would hire him to help my business-he is so creative and articulate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insiders View of Marketing May 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
What a great look inside the workings of the marketing world, for someone like me, who is not in that profession. The personal insight was very interesting and enticing. I want to know how many job offers Mr. Frankel received from this book. I would hire him to help my business-he is so creative and articulate.
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