By Andrew Neitlich

Branding lessons from a 3-year old and a hot dog stand

By Andrew Neitlich

My son loves hot dogs. This weekend we went to a hot dog stand called, “Hot Diggity Dog.” They served good hot dogs, but nothing unique or special.

But my son loved the place. “I want a Hot Diggity Dog!” he’s been saying for the last couple of days.

Again, “The Hot Diggity Dog” is just a hot dog. Nothing more.


This gets one to thinking about branding. Today the fashionable definition of a brand is the entire experience a customer has of your business.

But let’s keep it simple: Do you brand your services the way Hot Diggity Dog brands their hot dogs? Why not have a (Hot Diggity Dog) Web Assessment? Or the (Hot Diggity Dog) 3-step Agile Development Process? Or the (Hot Diggity Dog) Remote Technology Audit? (Of course, insert a catchy name for Hot Diggity Dog).

A hot dog is just a hot dog, until it is branded. In many respects, the same is true of professional services.

Are you branding your services with a catchy, memorable name? What else are you doing to create a unique customer experience?

  • Bryan

    I think 37 Signals does a great job of this with their 37express one page redesign projects and their 37better projects.

  • Ned Collyer

    Umm.. is the point of this post that catchy names are catchy? If you make something cool, the masses will flock?

    You need the right target audience. Having the Hot Diggity Dog Agile Process might very well turn away your potential clients because it isnt business savy. (unless I’m selling to 3 year olds ;))

    Remeber that the “Hot Diggity Dog” business impressed your Son and not yourself.

    The company where I currently work tends to name things that make no sense. Eg, a combination of sylables that you can pronounce, but doesnt mean anything. (eg, Ka-gol-dee).

    That way people quickly know Kagoldee as your brand. They adopt it as a brand, rather than words. (thats what the powers above tell me).

    Obscure latin references also work.

    It’s all driven by your desired audience.

    btw, if Kagoldee is a brand, I appologise. its my random 3 sylables :)

  • MarkB

    Like Andrew said, “Of course, insert a catchy name for Hot Diggity Dog” :)

  • Joshua Paine

    Your advice is timely. Today a potential client was asking if I had the skills to complete their project. After reading this, I did a domain availability check and stuck a catchy name on some of the internal software I use to backend sites like the one in questionand explained how it is built for sites just like his. He now seems quite confident, and we’re nailing down price and feature set. (Not-for-profits are brutal!)

  • cholmon

    “Obscure latin references also work.”

    It’s amazing the names people come up with, especially for open source projects. Lucene, Turbine, Maven, Cactus, Tapestry. If you pick any noun, Latin or not, you can probably find some way to relate it to your project/business.

  • Good point as always Andrew :) Branding is a key part of any business or product. Take sprite for example, just thinking about it now I think of cool, refreshing drink. The slogan “Quench your thirst” is a great one, and my mouth is watering right now.

  • Hows mah biz name PrimaCognos? Translated from latin it roughly means “first thought”. I was thinking “Redakon” earlier but scrapped it because it sounded similar to “Rubicon” =P

    So now the products get named on the same lines, catchy latin names and not “shiny disco balls” =P

  • Ruddy

    You are never to old to learn from a young one!

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