Via Scott Adams I recently learned of a new smart phone app that connects experts and those seeking expertise via live video. The app is named “Interface.” Adams is an investor in the company that makes Interface, and as a master persuader, I think it makes sense that anything he is involved with should have his persuasion fingerprints on it. And it does. Here are four ways the name is persuasive.
1. The app’s name is a verb and a noun at the same time.
You can open up Interface, and you can Interface with someone. This enables the app to occupy more “semantic positions” in people’s speech and in their thoughts. They can think about it, and they can talk about doing it. You can Google at Google.com. You can tweet on Twitter. You can Interface on Interface.
2. The verb describes in one word what the app does.
Minimal description is required, because the name itself provides a summary of its function. Interfaces connect things. In contrast, does anybody know what Zelle does? Or Bebo (what is that, a jazz music app?) Or Redfin ( … tuna?). A few early apps like Google defined their industries with nonsense words, but the days where that can happen are long gone.
3. The name has an existing usage, and the app’s usage leverages the existing connotation.
Interface is a business term. It is not slang or a nonsense word, or something odd. In the corporate world, people interface with customer liaisons all the time. The app will eventually take on the additional scope of the dictionary word already in use, leading people to think of the app for any interaction that could reasonably be called interfacing.
4. The name of the app has the potential to appropriate the generic term for the entire category of similar functionality.
This works because Interface is, as far as I know, the first app to offer this function, and has the previous three boxes checked. This makes Interface the default app for its function – the one people think of first. The semantic dominance wins market share in people’s minds.
So we can see that Scott did indeed make sure the name of his app was highly persuasive.
How can we use this information? DuckDuckGo.com, if you are reading this, you need to start popularizing the term “D-Go” to refer to searching on your site.