GOLC. Yes, it’s all caps. And yet—hello!—it isn’t an acronym. Nor is it a foreign borrowing: GOLC Shoes is based in Tennessee. (The shoes are manufactured in Brazil.)
GOLC. You can’t say it without gagging.
And yet look at one of GOLC’s styles for Spring 2012, the Samantha:
Pretty! No gag reflex at all.
So what’s the story? Here’s what the website says:
The name GOLC is Clog spelled backwards. The first products developed were clogs and as the market needs changed new Brands were developed.
“Clog spelled backwards” is a terrible explanation for a company name. “Clog” sounds bad enough spelled the right way.
To further confuse matters, all the shoes now bear the label “Mariana by GOLC.” “Mariana” is a blend, we’re told, of the founder’s wife’s name, Mary Frances, and the name of the lead factory in Brazil, Ana.
I have no quarrel with “Mariana” as a brand name. But GOLC should have been eliminated in the first round.
It’s not that backward-spelled names (ananyms) can’t be effective: See Aneres, Lorac, and Harpo. But to work as brands, they need to sound good—or at least appropriate. For a women’s fashion brand, GOLC is neither.
And, paradoxical as it may seem, backward-spelled brand names work best if they’re non-descriptive. (Descriptive names are always weak as trademarks; a backward-spelled descriptive name is still a descriptive name.)
Your customers don’t care that you’re capable of reverse-spelling a four-letter word. They do care that the resulting name sounds ugly and looks like the acronym for a government program.
(Hat tip: Barking Dog Shoes.)