AN EXERCISE IN IMPROVED BRANDING
When the name of a brand/business/entertainment event conjures up images of negativity, or lacks desirability, then it truly is inhibiting growth and really should be changed!!!!
Every single Player to whom I say …….
GREATEST GAME..……..BUT THE STUPIDEST NAME……
agrees fully. Not a single person disagrees! Not just nodding heads in affirmation, but emphatically forceful and emotional responses of agreement.
While the backstory may seem interesting, having been around for half a century…… this should not be taken as confirmation of brand name acceptance. The longevity is solely due to how great the game is!
That it is the fastest growing sport in North America should ALSO not be seen as affirmation of brand positivity, but rather how inviting, involving, easy to learn, combined with low barriers to entry (costs as little as $20 for a paddle) driving the growth of this game.
The brand name is Pickleball. Negative? Childishly Limiting?
Further impacting acceptance is the inexplicable/socially unacceptable description of the the black zone above. It should not require an explanation to new players who are sure to be confused/intimidated enough by the scoring. So eliminate the term and exclusively use the fully descriptive, easy to comprehend name no-volley zone NVZ .
HOW THE NAME LIMITS GROWTH?
An avid racquet sportsperson in squash for a half-century, as well as tennis, badminton, volleyball, and a reasonably accomplished athlete, I could not be enticed by my partner to play for over a year because of the idiocy of the name. Since beginning playing I’ve completed 4 years of play (4 mornings a week), while trying to help my club grow it exponentially, which a simple name change WILL DO!
I’m not alone! A new member to our club last year was a fanatic about cycling, 20-30 km’s/day. He let his wife play, even driving her with his bike in tow, to cycle while she played. He finally broke down after over a year and has been playing every day since and virtually no cycling.
Heck even my computer wants to correct the spelling of Pickleball!
One should just have to explain the rules in less than a paragraph, not tell the complete story of origin.
Getting to a new and aspirational identifier similar to these leading brands should be held as a gold standard:
- Kawai …. The Claw
And all have the impactful “K” and all are established and many aspirational and positive.
None of these conjure up a bitter, goofy-looking, whacky green fruit/vegetable.
Does one feel inhibited when going to play, tennis, soccer, football, badminton, basketball, golf?
Muhammad Ali changed his name for all of the right reasons. The argument of inclusion, while completely different, applies here too!
PROPOSED NEW NAME TO CONSIDER:
It is OK to be a critic, but providing a well-supported alternative makes this actionionable.
A name to be passionate about might be Krakit because:
- It is very unique and is descriptive of the sound of the racket contacting the ball
- It uses hard consonants, proven successful with major national brands featuring a “K” not once, but twice
- It is sufficiently different from other games (even if people bring up Cricket, it is not close in spelling and also it is not an insect)
- Nor does it conjure up images of negativity (allowing for building only positive imagery), but I leave that to you the masses who play.
Is it strategic to elements of the game?
- Minimal impact
- People from the ages of 9 to 90 can play
- Equally balanced for males and females, with no physical advantage
- Racquets are the only equipment new players need and can be had for as little as $20 (a tennis court can be used)
- Getting hit with the ball is like a swat, unlike being struck with a tennis ball
So push the conversation. If you like Krakit, then get a groundswell of change going at your club.
An alternate may be to shorten it into a contraction PBX.