ICI Shouldn’t Be Here For Long

[Cache – #118]

The first rule of naming is that a name should mean something relevant – that it should say something meaningful about the brand it represents.  Otherwise you waste an immensely valuable opportunity to help people understand your offering.

In this light, is Radio-Canada’s decision to change its name to ICI (French for “here”) a good one?

The politically-motivated answer is no:  ICI cannot possibly be a good choice, because it receives in the area of $1-billion a year from the Government of Canada and its programming is mandated by law to, among other things:

i. be predominantly and distinctively Canadian, reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.

This is the first and thus, presumably most important requirement in the view of the 1991 Broadcasting Act.  The Act however expands on the “special needs” provision by requiring that programming:

iii.  be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities.

It could be that the needs of the French linguistic minority are such that “predominantly and distinctively Canadian” programming runs contrary to those needs (I really don’t know), and thus the programming should exclude a Canadian focus.  If this is the case, then a name that doesn’t include the word Canada makes sense from a branding perspective.

Of course, it is self-evident that such programming would not meet the predominantly and distinctively Canadian requirement, which would put ICI in contravention of the Act, which theoretically should lead to de-funding unless and until it gets back on the Canadian track.  Which would then require, according to good naming discipline, a name that evokes “Canada” in some fashion, which ICI does not.

Assuming for a moment that ICI’s programming currently meets the standard of predominantly and distinctively Canadian, ICI again fails as a name, because it is totally unrelated to the abiding message of the network.

And so it seems that ICI should – emphasis on should – not be here for long.

Brand: It Ain’t the Logo is now on sale for Father’s Day at TARGET stores across Canada.

brand: it ain't the logo - The #1 Globe and Mail business bestseller - Ted Matthews with Andris Pone -

In case you missed it:  my short interview on CBC Radio One about IKEA’s horse meat problem.
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Also in case you missed it:  My BNN interview re. Lance Armstrong’s brand (starts at the 3:30 mark, after the ad).

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