Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Catchy Name Is Indispensable

I think a significant chunk of the success of a product or marketing campaign is often attributable to catchy naming. I've noticed several very mudane business processes that are made to sound much more exciting and sophisticated via a cool-sounding name:

Sky-hooking: back in the 80s, when insurance claims still arrived as paper, and before off-shoring was in the dictionary, an insurance company sent boxes of claims, air-freight, to Ireland, to take advantage of lower-wage, English speaking labor to process them. The sky part obviously came from the airflight aspect of the process. I really don't know what, if anything, hooking derived from, unless perhaps it was some kind of pre-existing claims-processing lingo.

Blow-back to paper: 5 years ago, the idea of receiving mortgage documents via DVD was somewhat cutting-edge. So cutting-edge, in fact, that we had no processes for internally processing them as images. Our vendor, Xerox, helpfully explained to us that was no problem, there imaging workflow included the option to "blow back to paper". Translation: mass-print the entire contents of the DVD, for further processing 100% unchanged from the past generation of dead-tree-oriented workflow.

Skip-tracing: in the debt-servicing industry, this refers to the process of methodically filling in gaps in address records.

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