If you don’t like something, one of the best public relations techniques is to rename it in a negative way. It is often used in politics, but now it is bleeding over into company PR—and the press dogs lick it up.
Would you eat a “pink slime” burger? Let’s not get into the debate about if it is right or wrong. Let’s stay with marketing and communications.
The creator of it didn’t call it “pink slime.” It was referred to as that in an internal email by the FDA. The New York Times then used it in a 2009 story and the rest of the press followed. Pink slime is “Lean Finely Textured Beef.” The news media does not care if the name is correct, it only cares if it sounds hip. Instead of reporting the real name, most media outlets used the made up name of pink slime. Not accurate, but who cares? It is fun to say.
If you want to make people not support children downloading songs for free, you reposition them as pirates. So, compare a 12-year-old kid with a real Somali pirate. If you are not in favor of healthcare reform, such as the Affordable Healthcare Act, call it ObamaCare. If you reside in a Guantanamo prison, you are a detainee, not a prisoner.
How you name an issue, process or organization can reframe the entire debate. What’s in a name? Everything.