Monday, September 18, 2006

What IS In A Name?

This post is an update on a post I had made earlier concerning Marshall Field’s (MF) and Macy’s. As most of you know, Macy’s bought our MF. The MF in our neighborhood maintained its name. I thought this would last indefinitely. It seemed to me to be a good idea. I considered it a smart business move. As a loyal MF customer, I didn’t mind shopping in Macy’s as long as the MF name was still on the outside of the building.

Imagine my surprise when I went on my last shopping venture to what I expected to be MF! Hanging where the MF logo used to be was a big, red, gaudy Macy’s sign. Uh-oh. I was concerned. I went into the store a little apprehensive but the big gaudy sign did not prepare me for I would find there. Everything had been changed around, and rearranged. I couldn’t find anything where it used to be. Some of the brands were names I had never heard of before and they didn’t have that classy MF look. Others were so outrageously priced I didn’t dare try them on. I looked at the sale racks, where I used to find my best deals, and I found nothing. I carefully walked through every department in the store and found a similar state of chaos in each department. What had they done to my MF? The best parts of the store had been obliterated.

That was honestly my personal experience, and my opinion. Was it correct? Possibly not; I’ll tell you why. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological phenomenon in which we make a prediction based on our own biases and emotions and then we look for evidence to or subconsciously fulfill our prediction. Another example is telling your self, “I’m going to have a horrible day at work today”. You then go to work with a bad attitude and purposefully have a horrible day. The Macy’s sign was like that. I saw it, and I thought, “this store is not going to be the same”. I went in with the expectation that everything was going to be messed up. Guess what I found?

That leaves me to the question of, what really is in a name? Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) and Acer Inc. announced a strategic partnership to distribute a co-branded toolbar and start page and to set Yahoo! as the default search engine on all Acer PCs sold globally. Acer is the world’s number four branded personal computer vendor, and the deal with cover a few years. The Yahoo name and Acer name will be co-mingled as Acer owners will see the Yahoo homepage each time they turn on their computers. It seems like everyone who has a computer to turn on knows what Yahoo is. I had never heard of Acer. It sounds like this is about to change. If Yahoo’s self-fulfilling prophecies are true, this name game could be huge.

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