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As brands get more sophisticated and expand their appeal to meet the needs of different consumers, brand-owners must create nomenclature systems to help differentiate and to help customers determine if they want the low end, the middle or the high end version of brand.

BMW uses an alpha-numeric approach using six different platforms – numbered 1-7 (the series skips ‘2’ for some reason) and as the numbers get higher, the cars get bigger and more fully featured. By and large price, points get higher too as you go up the line, although with options and extras there is a fair degree of overlap between each series.

Another approach to achieve segementation is to use a simple word modifer as TiVo does with it’s newest line of TV DVR devices. There’s the TiVo Roamio (entry level), TiVo Roamio Plus and then the TiVo Roamio Pro. Using the word modifers ‘plus’ and ‘pro’ help to create a clear distinction between each product.

A key question for branders is whether to create a modifer name for an entry level model. In TiVo’s case it decided not to add a modifer like ‘basic’ to it’s entry level model.

In some cases, brands may offer a family of offerings where there is no formal ‘good/better/best’ construct – essentially, all the levels are good/best but are designed to meet different needs.

Sky – a UK based satellite TV operator has done a great job of segmenting it’s different tv, broadband and talk packages. Rather than focus on atrributes, this unusual naming system is designed around the needs of different target segments and what their needs are. The outcome is a very original, inventive and customer-centric solution.

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