What’s in a name?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now as the latter half of last year I was sat in a training room discussing how to make the Shop Direct name (where I work) more visible to customers…a bit like Arcadia is.

This got me thinking about what Very.co.uk means to our customers and how Shop Direct either fits or contradicts this same customer. Which then led me onto thinking about other retailers, both online and on the High Street and their names.

My rationale was to see whether having a name so far removed from what we do, something that feels corporate, can actually help with performance or whether it has any influence over sales and success.

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Warehouse basically means a large storage space; vast, emotionless and empty. However, the Warehouse women’s fashion brand is arguably one of the UK’s most successful High Street brands with a swanky £1million flagship store in Oxford Street. With a great offering of party dresses, denim and basics for reasonable prices, they present their stock in a streamlined format with a slick black and white logo too.

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Starting in 1919 Dorothy Perkins, Dotty P’s or DP has always stated how they’ve shook up the fashion world. Offering a range of extremely reasonably priced collections they’re a little more bargain than Warehouse with a less formal look. However, did you know that they were one of the first brands to use celebrities as the face of their brand? Oh and in 1939, the CEOs wife suggested the name change to Dorothy Perkins based on her favourite English rose…how lovely!

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Not taking its name, as one customer thought, because it made the girls in the store look so fit he wanted to whistle at them or, as another customer thought, sold suits based on the London slang of whistle means suit, this store is a timeless classic.

Clean lines, stronger, sleeker silhouettes and darker colour palettes as of recently are all set in the very demure backdrop of their stores. Dressed in white with plenty of lighting there’s a sophistication to shopping in this store that works with the font in the logo, but perhaps the name is a tad misleading…if you’re a man anyway!

So how about Shop Direct with its blue and green logo, font and corporate history? Is this really going to become as memorable as the Arcadia Group or is it up to Very to continue its growth as one of the most successful UK retailers in recent years?

This blogger isn’t sure, I guess only time will tell, but I’ll continue to test people whenever I meet a new face at a party and the inevitable question gets asked…”So where do you work?”

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