Hype is building recently for the release of the new Chevy Volt car.  The car is expected to get 230 MPG in city driving and is the first big release of a new electric or hybrid model since the US car companies tanked.  Is it the future of driving? I don’t know, but I doubt it.  Stopping to charge a car just isn’t that practical or sexy, unless it only takes a few minutes.

The VOLT brand name, I like it a lot.  VOLT sounds small, cute and fast (even though the car may not be).  Of course, it is highly suggestive of the electric engine.  Suggestive trademarks are generally, in my opinion, the best kind for most businesses — they hint at your product or services without using common descriptive words that are difficult to protect as trademarks. (Some suggestive names: 7-11; Palm,  Geek Squad.  Arguably Descriptive names: U.S. Cellular, National Football League; Wall Street Journal; Baltimore Light & Gas; etc.)

US trademark application by General Motors for VOLT here.

(A clever trademark application for CORVOLTTE filed by someone here.  No surprise that GM has filed an Opposition to the application.)

While I like the VOLT brand name, I’m not sold on their marketing thus far.  I the below image dozens of times without a car in front of it and didnt’ immediately know what it meant or was promoting.  I thought it had to do with “23”, not “230”.  If it had just said Volt on it somewhere, it would make a lot more sense (to me).

Lesson: Is your brand name suggestive?  Does it require too much though to figure out what you offer customers, or not enough though? The VOLT name gets it right, I think, but the advertising for it has some more to do.

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