The Today Show said "good-bye" yesterday to co-host Ann Curry after 15 years. What? You…
Names are an essential part of our brands (both personal/self brands and corporate brands). We agonize over the perfect name for our perfect bundle of joy, and we spend months coming up with the right name that will epitomize our corporate identity and values.
But what happens when that name is mispronounced? It can be catastrophic. All your hard work at branding seems to just disappear. But sometimes, if it’s a strong brand, then the mispronounced version almost becomes a nickname or an endearing feature, almost as strong as the actual name itself. I’m thinking of Ghiradelli chocolate (correctly pronounced gh-ear-adelli not Geer-a-deli), or Carengie (correctly pronounced Car-nay-gee not Carna-gee).
And sometimes—if the mispronunciation is so wildly wrong–the whole world stops and takes notice, resulting in a PR coup!
This is exactly what happened two weeks ago at the Oscars. When introducing the Frozen star’s performance of the Academy Award-winning song “Let it Go,” John Travolta somehow called Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem.” The mispronciation was so horrendous, that it did more than just go viral—it went epidemic. Spinning off into online memes and apps, it catapulted Idina Menzel’s personal brand from something just known within the Broadway circles to that of national name recognition.
So, how did social media and pop culture skyrocket Idina Menzel’s brand when John Travolta had just mangled it? Simple, they used the 3 basic tenets of social media marketing: Conversation, Engagement, and Loyalty/Stickiness via fun and comedy.
1) Fans of the mispronunciation immediately created an @AdelaDazeem Twitter account, which immediately attained over 20K followers. This created conversation among over 20K people.
2) David Letterman immortalized the name gaff as a Top Ten List. This furthered the conversation, keeping it relevant at the water cooler, furthering the interest in the actress with this crazy botched name.
1) Slate.com created The Adele Dazeem Name Generator which went viral on Facebook. According to the New York Times, it received over 9.5 million unique views! That’s a tremendous amount of people engaging with content. Since it had a fun, game-like quality, people also engaged with it multiple times, sharing their new names and trying different versions (ex: nicknames, maiden names, middle names, etc).
In case you were curious, my Travolified name is:
Create loyalty and stickiness
1) According to the Washington Post, sales have surged for Idina Menzel’s new Broadway musical If/Then. This illustrates how increased and constant brand recognition (in this case the Idina Menzel brand-actress as product) will create loyalty and stickiness. Fans (new and old) are lining up to see her new show.
2) Don’t “Let it go” just go with it! Idina Menzel took advantage of this brand boost and had fun, publishing a special Travoltified edition of If/Then’s playbill listing her name as “Adele Dazeem” and her credits as “Nert (Rent), Wicked-ly (Wicked) and Farfignugen (Frozen).
Sometimes the best things in life just happen organically. No one could have ever predicted that John Travolta would mess up someone’s name in such an over-the-top manner. (I mean really, how did he get Adele Dazeem from Idina Menzel?) But anyway, the point is, from that crazy mistake, a whole viral social media experience took place, catapulting a Broadway star to a nationally recognized brand.
HI! I’m a Shana, self-proclaimed Media Mixologist, wife, and mom to two little girls. I love to mix up cocktails of crafts, recipes, wellness, family and business with just the right amount of sparkle to help you shine everyday. So, grab a glass, and let’s celebrate the cocktail of life!