Giving your mobile payments wallet the right name is important. I wonder if the same goes for my son?
In September, I’m becoming a father for the first time. I’m having a son and choosing a name is one of a million things that’s on mine and my girlfriend’s plate at the moment.
We’re considering calling him Erik, after my grandad. My mum will be happy with this.
Erik is a typical old-school Norwegian name. No offence to other Eriks but it’s nothing too fancy and hasn’t been up there with the in-fashion names since the 1950s.
It’s actually an old Norse viking name and means “sole emperor”. Is there a new Joffrey in the making?
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I asked my colleague Erik, a very kind and non-Joffrey type of man working in Customer Success at Auka, how his life had been thus far as an Erik. After explaining that “I’m not naming my son after you,” he said:
“It’s been fine. Nothing really negative and nothing overly positive. It works well abroad. There, I’m Eric”.
That’s good enough for me and hopefully for future-Erik.
Naming a brand, be it service or product – for example, a mobile wallet – has its similarities to naming a child. That said, I would argue it’s harder to find a good mobile wallet name.
When Auka launched the mCASH wallet in 2014, we’d already spent four years trying to explain what mobile payments are to banks.
Mobile payments were new and we felt that we needed a name that explained the service. It’s CASH but in your MOBILE. It seemed obvious to us what this service was, but we felt the need to spell it out.
What we didn’t consider was how well this name could be adopted into the everyday speech.
Two of the three dominant mobile payment wallets in Scandinavia, Vipps (mCASH became a part of this initiative in 2017) and Swish, chose a name that can easily be turned into a verb.
It’s a well known and effective way of naming things in the way that when you become a great success, your brand becomes a household verb. Hoover and Rollerblades are two prominent examples. Here’s a fun list of other examples of brand names which have become verbs of descriptors of commonly used products.
“Let me Vipps (can be translated to “Snap”) you the money I owe you”. Or, “I’ll Swish you for the expenses last weekend”. This is a part of the everyday speech in Norway and Sweden.
In Denmark, saying “let me Mobile Pay you the money”, doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily. Nonetheless Mobile Pay was awarded “Word of the Year” in Denmark in 2014.
So you might succeed with a descriptive name, such as mCASH or Mobile Pay, or you might want to chose something catchy, like Vipps, that can become a verb to replace the words “to pay”.
Given the chance again I doubt we would call our first service mCASH. Yes, it was a success, but would it be even more popular with a better name? I think so.
When is the last time that banks were in a position to introduce services and brands that change the way we communicate? The power of mobile payments and the opportunities that the banks now have at their hands is immense.
A part of what Auka offers is strategic advice on how to brand and market your wallet and how it relates to your bank’s brand.
In general, we advise our partner banks to market their wallet as a sub-brand.
The Auka setup allows our partner banks to target new customers and the customers of other banks. The beauty of a sub-brand is its capability to build and sustain relationships with a new audience.
It’s, of course, important to build new and distinct brand attributes while keeping it connected to the mother (bank) brand through brand ID – colour palette, identity and so on.
But keep in mind that this sub-branded wallet will go face-to-face against third party payments services from the likes of Alipay and Apple Pay.
Would a bank brand stand a chance in this fight?
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Creating sub-brands is often a painful process for marketing departments as the fear of diluting the main brand is looming.
What our experience shows, however, is that when done right, the new sub-brand will thrive and grow. It can create a host of opportunities and revenue streams that would not be available though the bank’s original brand.
I was never going to call my son Jørgen Jr, by the way. He will be an important sub-brand in our family. When Erik grows up, he may or may not be happy with his name. But it’s his to grow with, nonetheless.
If you’d like to know more about how to create and name your own mobile wallet, request a demo or drop us a line.