FOXTROTS

Fox – sly. Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.
Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

November 25 2010

Companies. The name game.

I
AM quite enjoying this – thinking of appropriate names for companies.

I started some time ago when Accor owned a backpack-hotel division, based in Australia. I suggested either ‘Walk Inn’, ‘Budgis’, or a mere ‘Bagotel’. I like to think that the division failed for Accor because it ignored me, and chose the meaningless X Base Backpackers (yes, XBB) instead of my brilliant suggestions.

Continuing from that unrequited success, I told management at Malaysia’s Tune Hotels, which should know better, that they should name their hotels ‘Tune Inn’. To me that is a no-brainer once you get to ‘Tune’ and the hotel business. But obviously TH management’s brains don’t work in the same way as mine, because they stuck with the almost-great Tune Hotels. Ah well.

Refusing to be beaten – and waiting for the fame that surely one day will be mine – I am offering the following to the market:

1. This is for hotels that are trendy – light-pine, minimalist-design, Design Hotels sort of hotel. In fact, DH itself might be interested. The name? ‘ImageInn’. Good, yes?

2. Not satisfied, I have now moved on to the airline business. First, a planned low-fare-airline in Japan. It’s would be a partly-owned subsidiary of All Nippon Airways. Elsewhere, I have noted the mistakes the owners have made even before getting the airline started, and one of them was that they have not even chosen the airline’s name.

Now for free, I can give them the name – ‘NihonGo’. That actually means ‘Japanese’. A common corruption of this is Nippongo, and I am still not 100% sure that the airline should be named NihonGo instead of NipponGo.

3. And that leads me to my proposal for Easyjet. This UK-based LFA has just signed an onerous legal commitment to pay a bunch of money (every year for 50 years!) to the owner of its name, Stelios Haji-Ioannou. He is still a substantial shareholder, with about 36%.

I find it ironic that for Easyjet he actually followed the businessplan of another airline when he founded Easyjet. At that time, the businessplan was more important than the name.

Stelios paid nothing for the idea – which came from Southwest in the US, although Stelios might not know what SW actually got the LFA businessplan from long-defunct airline, PSA in California.

All Easyjet needs to do is look back at its old back-up computer files, and take the name of a British Airways-started airline that Easyjet bought – Go, or its fuller name, GoFly.

Surely that advice is worth half of the royalty payment that Easyjet is due to pay Stelios for the first year – US$6mn.

The Fox