Naming and branding - Oware?

Hello everyone,

There has from time to time been discussions about the branding of our software. It has been pointed out by many that the current name is far too restrictive: We are not building just a District system, and it is not only targeted to Health data, i.e. DHIS is really a misnomer.

As you also know, we also see the software as a possible successor of HealthMapper (which has lead to the suggestion of OpenHealthMapper). However, that branding may also in fact be too restrictive, in that it again narrows things down to Health and skews it unduly towards Mapping, which is just a tiny bit of the overall functionality.

Jason and I were just discussing the issue of too restrictive naming, and he came up with the well known African game where seeds/beads are placed in pits, which goes under a range of names:

Awari, Mancale, Ayo (Yoruba), Awalé (Côte d’Ivoire), Wari (Mali), Ouri, Ouril or Uril (Cape Verde), Warri(Caribbean), Adji (Ewe), and Awélé (Ga), according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oware

I thought it was quite a nicely fitting name, especially thinking of Jørn’s famous pic from Sierra Leone:

http://www.openhealthconsortium.org/wiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?cache=&media=sl_stones_.jpg

Knut

···


Cheers,
Knut Staring

hello, we are many who have discussed naming - and branding.

first: today nobody would call their new venture International
Business Machines, because it doesn't depict anything going on in the
world today. However, the reason why IBM is not changing their name is
not related to the hidden meaning of the acronym, but because the
biggest asset they have is their name, i.e. three letters making up
the logo.

So what is our biggest asset in terms of "branding"? Undoubtedly the
acronym DHIS

So to give that away is not exactly smart.

Furthermore, the term "district" is more than an administrative or
geographical identifier, it depicts the historically core health
policy process (or "business area") from which DHIS emerged.

However, HealthMapper is also a well established brand name.

So what you suggest is to give up two well established brand names and
replace them by a new construct.

Well, its difficult to construct "de facto" brand names. I dont really
see the Indians getting exited over changing the brand name to an
african game, although, of course, if they look it up in wikipedia and
apply their abilities for abstract thinking they might understand the
rationale.

However, in times of mergers, post merger naming is the biggest issue.
Recently the most well-known Norwegian brand name (Hydro) gave in to
the "top-down" soviet union style brand name, and became Statoil
(stupid if you ask me, but its not difficult to sell oil).

So in times of mergers, a new label for DHIS may be needed, and as we
have discussed multiple times; HealthMapper is a descriptive term and
cannot cover more than exactly that. Districts, if taken out of the
acronym, is also only part of the story.

OpenHealth was better as a name, I think, but when I suggested to
Thies at WHO to change to OpenHealth he found it stupid, because
"district" is the key issue.

Why not keep names as they appear and try establish an overall label
as e.g. OpenHealth?

Or the game name (forgotten what it was!)

But I agree to a new label - tired of selling a "product" (multiple
names would have solved that!)

jorn

···

On 11/13/09, Knut Staring <knutst@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello everyone,

There has from time to time been discussions about the branding of our
software. It has been pointed out by many that the current name is far too
restrictive: We are not building just a District system, and it is not only
targeted to Health data, i.e. DHIS is really a misnomer.

As you also know, we also see the software as a possible successor of
HealthMapper (which has lead to the suggestion of OpenHealthMapper).
However, that branding may also in fact be too restrictive, in that it again
narrows things down to Health and skews it unduly towards Mapping, which is
just a tiny bit of the overall functionality.

Jason and I were just discussing the issue of too restrictive naming, and he
came up with the well known African game where seeds/beads are placed in
pits, which goes under a range of names:
*Awari, Mancale, Ayo* (Yoruba <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_language>
), *Awalé* (Côte d'Ivoire<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Côte_d'Ivoire>
), *Wari* (Mali <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mali>), *Ouri, Ouril or Uril*
(Cape Verde <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Verde>), *Warri*
(Caribbean), *Adji* (Ewe <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewe_language>), and *
Awélé* (Ga <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga_language>), according to
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oware

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oware>I thought it was quite a nicely fitting
name, especially thinking of Jørn's famous pic from Sierra Leone:
http://www.openhealthconsortium.org/wiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?cache=&media=sl_stones_.jpg

Knut

--
Cheers,
Knut Staring

This is a tough issue and one that I really do not have much more to
say on other than this. One of the reasons that this "game name",
Oware, sprung into my mind is that it there are basic rules for the
game which are applied essentially everywhere, but there are slightly
different names for it in each country. Seems very similar to the
problem we are dealing with in all of the places we are trying to
implement DHS. Forgive me, I am an engineer and not a marketeer. I am
rather prone to abstract thinking as opposed to coming up with snazzy
acronyms that sell a given product. :slight_smile:

I have been totally unclear over the last few months what the
OpenHealthmapper is. It has seemed like a rebranding of DHIS, which I
think is not an entirely bad idea. However, in places like Zambia,
where the acronym DHIS is well known, it would not make sense to try
and rebrand it to anything different. In some places, it might.

Perhaps we can have multiple names for the same thing, or simply stick
with DHIS. I agree with Jørn with his IBM analogy. I am writing this
email from a ThinkPad which in this particular incarnation no longer
has any IBM logo. ThinkPad is still a strong brand, and it seems to
still be on this machine. The key question for us, as a community, is
to have a clear marketing strategy. I feel that the discussion on
names is quite distracting, but also important. If WHO and HISP agree
that the product should be called DHIS, then we perhaps we should
stick with it, but consider that it might be possible to market the
product as something different depending on the country. I would
assume that DHIS would mean little in non-anglophone countries for
example.

Anyway, late Friday night musings.

···

On Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 7:38 PM, Jørn Braa <jornbraa@gmail.com> wrote:

hello, we are many who have discussed naming - and branding.

first: today nobody would call their new venture International
Business Machines, because it doesn't depict anything going on in the
world today. However, the reason why IBM is not changing their name is
not related to the hidden meaning of the acronym, but because the
biggest asset they have is their name, i.e. three letters making up
the logo.

So what is our biggest asset in terms of "branding"? Undoubtedly the
acronym DHIS

So to give that away is not exactly smart.

Furthermore, the term "district" is more than an administrative or
geographical identifier, it depicts the historically core health
policy process (or "business area") from which DHIS emerged.

However, HealthMapper is also a well established brand name.

So what you suggest is to give up two well established brand names and
replace them by a new construct.

Well, its difficult to construct "de facto" brand names. I dont really
see the Indians getting exited over changing the brand name to an
african game, although, of course, if they look it up in wikipedia and
apply their abilities for abstract thinking they might understand the
rationale.

However, in times of mergers, post merger naming is the biggest issue.
Recently the most well-known Norwegian brand name (Hydro) gave in to
the "top-down" soviet union style brand name, and became Statoil
(stupid if you ask me, but its not difficult to sell oil).

So in times of mergers, a new label for DHIS may be needed, and as we
have discussed multiple times; HealthMapper is a descriptive term and
cannot cover more than exactly that. Districts, if taken out of the
acronym, is also only part of the story.

OpenHealth was better as a name, I think, but when I suggested to
Thies at WHO to change to OpenHealth he found it stupid, because
"district" is the key issue.

Why not keep names as they appear and try establish an overall label
as e.g. OpenHealth?

Or the game name (forgotten what it was!)

But I agree to a new label - tired of selling a "product" (multiple
names would have solved that!)

jorn

On 11/13/09, Knut Staring <knutst@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello everyone,

There has from time to time been discussions about the branding of our
software. It has been pointed out by many that the current name is far too
restrictive: We are not building just a District system, and it is not only
targeted to Health data, i.e. DHIS is really a misnomer.

As you also know, we also see the software as a possible successor of
HealthMapper (which has lead to the suggestion of OpenHealthMapper).
However, that branding may also in fact be too restrictive, in that it again
narrows things down to Health and skews it unduly towards Mapping, which is
just a tiny bit of the overall functionality.

Jason and I were just discussing the issue of too restrictive naming, and he
came up with the well known African game where seeds/beads are placed in
pits, which goes under a range of names:
*Awari, Mancale, Ayo* (Yoruba <Yoruba language - Wikipedia>
), *Awalé* (Côte d'Ivoire<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Côte_d'Ivoire>
), *Wari* (Mali <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mali>), *Ouri, Ouril or Uril*
(Cape Verde <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Verde>), *Warri*
(Caribbean), *Adji* (Ewe <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewe_language>), and *
Awélé* (Ga <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga_language>), according to
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oware

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oware>I thought it was quite a nicely fitting
name, especially thinking of Jørn's famous pic from Sierra Leone:
http://www.openhealthconsortium.org/wiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?cache=&media=sl_stones_.jpg

Knut

--
Cheers,
Knut Staring

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