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The Name Game Works Wonders

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Kit Kat, Coca-Cola, Jelly Belly. Sure, they all taste great. But there's something else at play that makes these brands so attractive: repetition. A study published recently in the Journal of Marketing found that brands with repetitively structured names favorably affect how consumers perceive and choose items and decide where to buy them. The study, reported by Business News Daily, provides the first evidence of this discovery even though savvy marketers have been using the tactic for years. One experiment even pitted identical samples of ice cream against one another--one with a repetitive-sounding name and the other without. As it turned out, study participants more frequently chose the ice cream containing repetition. Still, marketers beware: the researchers also found names that stray too far from natural linguistic sounds (a restaurant called "ranthfanth," for example) can induce negative reactions.

Making a case for dropping out Seth Priebatsch wants you to drop out of college. Well, sort of. Priebatsch, the CEO and Founder of SCVNGR, pens a persuasive argument in The Huffington Post where he argues that students who have a great business idea shouldn't waste their time and energy in the world of academia. "For that small percentage of us out there who have a great idea burning up inside, dropping out is not just a good idea, it's the right choice," he says. Himself a former Princeton student on an indefinite leave of absence after a year of school, he reasons that his alma-mater "proudly proclaims that 98% of all entrants graduate within four years. To me, that's an awful statistic. It means that no one at the university is inspiring students to think big enough to get the hell out and build something."

The rise of the mommy CEO. Shattering the idea that women must choose between either a successful career or motherhood, the Wall Street Journal examines a recent study that finds of the 12 women who are currently CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 11 are mothers. Like their male counterparts, the female CEOs interviewed for the story say that they have had to make a number of sacrifices in their family life to achieve their success in business, but that motherhood has also helped them deal with the challenges of being a CEO. As Mary Dillon, CEO of U.S. Cellular explains, "I learned plenty about how to be an effective executive from raising my children."

Cleaning up the message boards. Today's New York Times offers advice on managing your online reputation straight from Henry Posner, the social media coordinator at the New York camera store, B&H. According to the Times, "Much of his time is spent addressing perceived wrongs with B&H customers--with remarkable success, to judge by the ratings." So what is Mr. Posner's advice on addressing customer complaints? First, keep your mouth shut until you have all the facts. If the company's at fault, "confess and correct," if not, "calmly make your case." Don't fill message boards with "endless chatter," but do direct customers to the best of what your company has to offer. For more tips on keeping your customers happy online, check out our story on automated reputation monitoring tools.

Take a hint from the military. What can small businesses learn from combat? Plenty, the Harvard Business Review reports. Team leadership and setting positive role models are one skill set that businesses can learn from the military. So is "subordinate development." Our favorite? Intelligence. "The military excels at systematic and ongoing analysis of competitors as well as how the operating environment influences the outcome and potential success of an operation." Translation: know your competition.

Is Steve Jobs getting nervous? Much of the talk in the mobile tech industry over the last few months has centered around how smart phones running Google's Android operating system are bound to overtake Apple's iPhone in market share. This, to no one's surprise, has not sat well with Steve Jobs. So yesterday, Jobs made a surprise appearance on Apple's earnings call and took aim at Google in a minutes-long rant in which he argued that "open systems don't always win." Android chief Andy Rubin, TechCrunch reports, has responded simply with a tweet. This is going to be good.

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Last updated: Oct 19, 2010




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