The name you select can make or break your brand. It may not be consumed by the world, but it’ll be known by the world.

Here’s an example.

We may never have the opportunity to experience North Korea’s new video on demand streaming service. It’s only for them, and the whole country is pretty much off-limits to the rest of the world. This is definitely a product and brand that has no aspirations for expansion. What will the North Korean subscribers get? An amazing array of no less than five state-run channels. No reruns here. The video will be real-time. If that’s not enough, viewers can find information related to the leader Kim Jong Un‘s activities, or read articles from the newspaper Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Endless hours of escape and entertainment.

And it’ll be so easy to watch. All you have to do is connect a phone line to a modem, and then plug a cable box into the national network. Next, connect your high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port to the TV. It’s a bit complicated, but those of us who remember the early days of cable TV can relate to it. Subscribers also get this helpful diagram, which hopefully they can see without having to connect to the service.

Okay, that’s all sarcasm on my part. I don’t know how entertaining it’ll be for North Korean viewers. If you have HDTV, your life could very well flourish.

Back to the subject of branding. This new service and set top box is called Manbang. It means ‘everywhere’ or ‘every direction,’ according to  NK News.

Manbang will have a different – and unfortunate – meaning in English-speaking countries.

Manbang as a brand name would not flourish outside of North Korea. Except maybe as a porn site.

Kim Jong Un and his regime probably don’t care about brand names. There’s a lesson to be learned for the rest of us.

This is not a shameless plug for my company, even though my slogan is “Words are powerful. Choose them wisely.”

The world is your customer, whether you like it or not. (Unless you’re someone like Kim Jong Un.) It’s the moral we learn from the story of Manbang. Have you ever looked to see what your brand name means in other languages?

It’s wise to make sure the name you choose for your brand is appropriate for global consumption.

So sayeth the StickMonkey

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