Market Overview

What Else Can A Drone Be Called?


Drones have been in the news a great deal over the past few years.

The discussion mostly pertained to the use of drones in military operations. More recently, however, the possibility of drones taking on business applications has come closer to reality than ever before. For example,, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently unveiled its desire to use drones to ship goods more quickly and conveniently to shoppers.

But while the technology has yet to receive regulatory approval, a separate hurdle exists — what to call them. As The Wall Street Journal recently wrote, the use of the word "drone" can evoke a negative connotation, which may have an effect on consumer adoption.

This brings up a new battle for companies trying to use drones for a commercial purpose.

A Drone By Any Other Name

As complicated and interesting a technology as drones are, it seems absurd that their name could have an impact on their usage and acceptance. But that seems to be the case. First, the word "drone" implies something lacking in intelligence. What’s worse, however, is the understandable connection many people make between drones and its more common military association. It stands to reason that shoppers won’t want to receive deliveries from a service most closely associated with violence.

Some companies have begun working around this already. In its early marketing efforts, Amazon has largely avoided use of the term drone when it comes to its own service. Amazon refers to its drone technology as Amazon Prime Air. The goal of Amazon Air is to get its packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

While the Federal Aviation Administration works out the rules for commercial drones, companies interested in utilizing the technology have their own issues to work out. So far, there hasn't been much progress in creating names that will create brand value and be instantly recognized. The few companies that have tried to come up with names other than drone have created a variety of acronyms.

Amazon seems to have an early lead as far as branding goes.


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