What’s in a Name?

While zipping through the TV commercials on a show I recorded, one of them caught my attention. The commercial was for dried plums. It was very hip and showed children and young, active adults eating those fruits. The commercial extolled the health benefits of dried plums. Well, I know that dried plums are more commonly called prunes. Technically all prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. Unfortunately, prunes are most often associated with the elderly population and others that might need assistance in digestive elimination.

According to the California Dried Plum Board, “Research conducted in the U.S. showed that our target audience, women ages 25 to 54, responded more favorably to the name dried plums. It is also more descriptive for people who don’t know that prunes are fresh plums that have been dried. Outside the U.S., the product is still called prunes.” So, now there’s a whole rebranding campaign with television, billboard and magazine ads.

And sure enough, when I was at the grocery store in the section where they sell packaged nuts and dried fruit, the bags said “Dried Plums” yet in the bulk bins, they were labeled “prunes.”

Large corporations often change their branding when they want to redirect their image from a negative association or when sales don’t meet their projections. Perhaps we as individuals, as well as a profession might consider rebranding or repackaging what we offer.