Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas proved you can never underestimate how important the name of a new product or an entire brand can be to its future success.
Many people do not know or have forgotten, but when the Wynn Hotel first opened in Las Vegas in 2005, it was called “Le Reve.” The phrase means “the dream” in French and it was the goal of the hotel to make the property a perfect dream location in the gambling city. However, Steve Wynn and the Wynn management soon learned the name was not working for them. In fact, it became evident that the name may actually have been harming the launch of the new property.
A research company was brought in specifically to look into the situation and they found that the average Las Vegas visitor had no idea what Le Reve meant. Plus, when 20 people were asked how to pronounce “le reve,” half of them pronounced it incorrectly or had no idea how to say the name. It soon became evident that as far as names go, “the dream” was becoming “the nightmare.”
Acknowledging that the name had to be changed before thousands and thousands of marketing dollars were spent on promoting the hotel – and also realizing that Wynn management was very anxious to start marketing the facility – the research firm suggested that the best name for the new property was nothing other than Wynn Resorts.
They found that Steve Wynn had already made a well-known and well-respected name for himself with his former hotels, the Golden Nugget, Bellagio, and the Mirage. Americans and visitor from all over the world had heard of Steve Wynn. And many associated his name with high-end luxury, quality, and comfort.
In fact, the researchers even found that visitors expected – and were willing – to pay more to stay in a Wynn hotel. So not only was this a far better name selection – along with more memorable, recognizable and certainly easier to pronounce – the hotel was able to make more money by using Wynn’s name.
“Branding this property [the Wynn Resorts] was the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” says Wynn. “When I walk through the lobby, people line up to get a picture of me or have me sign something. That’s never happened to me before. It’s the name. It’s the name.”
So what does this tell us? The words used to name a product or to describe a product must be selected very carefully. According to Frank Luntz in his book Words That Work, “words that work…can actually make the difference between millions of dollars and billions of dollars.” Choose wisely.