For the final 11 days of 2011, we’re going to take a look at some of the top mistakes made this year in our industry… including social media, marketing, branding, graphic design, web design and SEO.

#5-Nokia Lumia doesn’t mean what you think it means

Anyone with a cell phone knows that most cell phone companies like to give their phones imaginative names that make them seem more alluring, creative and fashionable. But like parents, companies should consider the potential ramifications, double meanings and possible inappropriate variations of a name when birthing a new product line.


Nokia learned this lesson when they named a new cell phone “Lumia.” Apparently, that word is Spanish slang for a prostitute or, more specifically, “working girl” (which is American English slang for the same thing). In case you’re thinking, “I speak Spanish and I’ve never heard of this!” … according to this article from MSNBC, Lumia is only used in this form in Spanish dialects that have Gypsy-heritage influences.


Do research before naming a product. Don’t just “Google it” in standard dictionaries, either. If you fail to do this, you risk alienating a part of your target audience-or at least having blogs written about you and your bad decisions. Both would be bad.