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Why Your Middle Initial Makes You Smarter

Years ago, I stopped using my middle initial on business cards, bylines, and other places. I’m not quite sure why I changed… simplicity? Google? New research shows that making that switch might have been a dumb move. […]

By |May 13th, 2014|

Can Your Name Make You A Liar?

Here’s a piece of potentially bad news. Your name, which you are likely stuck with for the rest of your life, can have a significant effect on whether other people believe you. […]

By |May 2nd, 2014|

Names Change Behavior

A new study by David Just and Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food & Brand Lab found that calling the same portion of spaghetti “double-size” instead of regular caused diners to eat less. In fact, the double-size group left 10 times as much food on their plates! […]

By |August 8th, 2013|

The Power of Positive Names

Most of us don’t give much thought to what we call our product, at least in terms of category. Toothpaste is toothpaste. Cars are cars. Perhaps it’s time that other businesses learn what many restaurants already know: what you call a product affects its appeal and sales. In particular, unhealthy dishes that consumers might avoid can be made more appealing. Potato chips can be relabeled as “veggie chips,” while a pasta/vegetable combination will appear more healthy if it is called a “salad.” My personal favorite is the re-branding of “cake” as a “muffin.” None of us would order carrot cake for breakfast, but what about a nice carrot muffin? It sounds like health food, even with the layer of cream cheese frosting! […]

By |April 25th, 2011|

The Last Name Effect: Why Zimmerman is Impatient

WARNING: If your last name starts with a letter from R to Z, you may be more susceptible to urgent-sounding sales pitches.

As a direct marketer, I tried all manners of segmenting my mailing lists. Some of the best […]

By |February 9th, 2011|

What’s in a Name? Lots!

Dale Carnegie once said, “Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.” It’s a good bet that even Carnegie would be surprised at how true that statement is, even at the unconscious level. […]

By |November 17th, 2010|

Weird News: Names Affect Outcomes

This seems too odd to be true, but researchers at Yale and UCSD have found statistically significant differences in outcomes for individuals with names that start with different letters. Students whose names start with A or B earn higher grades than those with C or D names. Baseball players whose names start with K strike out slightly more often than the rest of the player population (a strikeout is marked as a “K”). Is this effect real? And should marketers care? […]

By |November 8th, 2007|

Names Disrupt The Brain

“Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” So said Dale Carnegie, famed author of How to Win Friends and Influence People. As it turns out, Carnegie may […]

By |August 19th, 2007|