You’re likely familiar with the buzzword FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out. We even named an app, Gravy, that helps people avoid missing out on interesting things happening nearby.
Here’s a new buzzword I’d like to coin right here and now: FOSO — Fear Of Standing Out. This is a real phenomenon we have observed time and again in regard to company and product brand names. It is ironic because naming and branding is usually considered to be part of a company’s marketing efforts, and marketing is all about getting your brand to stand out from the crowd and be noticed, talked about, recommended and remembered. Yet for some reason, when it comes to naming, many companies become blinded by this irrational fear of standing out, and–consciously or subconsciously–elect to blend in with their competition rather than stand apart.
In our Manifesto entry number 18, Let Your Freak Flag Fly, we write: “It’s a very simple calculus: if your competitors are all doing the same thing, then you will stand out if you do something different. And the first and most visible point of differentiation is with your name.” We don’t mean being different just for the sake of being different (see manifesto entry #24, Difruhnt, But Not That Different), but by connecting the dots metaphorically and poetically to a unique, compelling brand positioning story, your brand will naturally stand apart from the crowd. But first your company must overcome its FOSO.
Zinzin can help. We have found that a rigorous and time-tested process such as ours helps everyone on the client naming team understand the reality of the marketplace, why great brand names succeed, and work through the internal divisions and concerns that are likely the root of their Fear of Standing Out.
Foso also just happens to be a Spanish word for a moat, ditch, pit or hole dug in the ground, a perfect metaphor for what can happen to your business if you allow your brand to be mired in the ditch that is Fear Of Standing Out. So let’s all open the window, or stand on our cubical desks, and shout to the world: No more FOSO!