Nokia Lumia: What’s in a name?
Seriously.. What IS in a name? Why not just call a dog a ‘dog’? Would you be more afraid of a worm simply because it was called ‘Godzillus’? Sometimes things just are what they say on the tin.. Or are they? Well, as far as naming goes, it would seem the folks at Nokia have hit upon the right idea. For a generation of users struggling to remember the difference between a Nokia C3-00 or a Nokia X3-00, can breath a sigh of relief with the introduction of the New Nokia Lumia and Nokia Asha families.
Even for someone who has been a part of the Nokia brand architecture team, Chris George admits that “the number of Nokia products on the market had become so great that even we were becoming confused by our naming”. The decision to name products by families, rather than individually, was driven by two factors: The success of similar strategies for other technology companies and the complexity of finding so many individual product names each year.
“From an initial list of nearly 200 names only a handful made it through this stage for what was eventually the Nokia Lumia,” says Chris George. Then experts in 84 dialects started work, checking for any negative associations in different languages and assessing how easy they are to pronounce. Some letters like J, L R and V are difficult to pronounce in certain countries. Some languages don’t have certain letters in their alphabet (like Q in Polish). This process is never foolproof – as a couple of comments pointed out lumi, or lumia, is a very old Spanish word, long fallen into disuse.
Lumia has particular meaning in Finland where ‘lumi’ means snow, and ‘lumia’ means snow in plural (they know a lot about wintery weather). The Nokia Asha range has more multi-cultural connotations. Knowing that the Series 40 phones were most heavily sold in emerging markets, the Nokia team worked through a different range of name possibilities. In the case of the Nokia Lumia the team were looking for a name that sounded great when used with the Nokia brand name and ended with a vowel to make it work phonetically. Asha is the Hindi word for hope: it sounds good, and it has meaning.
The final stage involves running through the shortlist and working out what sounds best with the Nokia brand name.A shortlist was presented to the Nokia Leadership team and Lumia emerged as the winner.