Recently I tried to order a documentary DVD called “Young at Heart” from a wholesale publishing site
Typing in the title of the DVD in the site search engine brought up nothing. This puzzled me, because the movie had been shown in theaters and won several awards. And it wasn’t brand new. Scratching my head, I went away and tried again a month later. It still didn’t show up in the database. Then somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I had a dim memory that there was an “@” sign in the title. I changed the search term to “Young @ Heart” and now was able to place the order.
This incident illustrates the most serious danger of using symbols other than the 26 letters of the alphabet in product names or company names: People may not be able to locate rebranding ideas the product or company in online searches.
Such symbols include the exclamation point, period, hyphen, apostrophe, &, #, $, *, @, and the symbols for degree or Euros (both of which I have no idea how to type).
Imagine someone trying to convey one of these names correctly over the telephone, and you run up against another serious problem: Many people don’t know what these symbols are supposed to be called. Let’s say the name in question was a law firm, Yang & Young. If the person trying to spell the name called the symbol an “ampersand,” which is correct, what do you think are the chances that the listener would know this word? If the speller called it the “and sign,” this might go down as “+” instead of “&.”
Memory is another challenge. Some people (like me) have auditory memories, so they’ll remember how something was pronounced (like “Young at Heart”) and not how it looked. Those with visual memories may remember a hyphen or two in a name but not its exact location