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When companies are creating new products, many put a great deal of effort into determining how to position them and what to call them, because these things can have a huge influence on how the products are perceived.

For example, you can buy a scented candle at the dollar store. You can also buy a rather similar-looking scented candle with a nicer label and fancier-sounding name at a high-end retailer for $30 or more. For all you know it’s the same candle. But the differences in positioning and name can completely change your perception of what each candle is worth.


I recently realized that even when I was a kid I intuitively understood the impact that positioning and names can have on perception.

You see, when I was 11 I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a side-to-side curvature of the spine. This was no surprise, as at the time my mother’s back was quite visibly crooked. When I was 12 my spine got worse, and I was told I would have to wear a back brace until I finished growing.

I was not happy
Needless to say, a back brace did not sound like any fun. Plus, I was mortified to learn that part of this device wouldn’t be covered by my clothes. Everyone would see it around my neck and know that there was something wrong with me. As a 12-year-old, of course, the last thing I wanted was for anyone to think that there was something wrong with me! Just the thought of having to refer to “my back brace” in conversation for the next few years made me miserable.

But even worse was the prospect of having a horribly curved spine like my mother’s; I was determined to wear the brace.

An unusual solution
I decided I would be happier if I never had to say “my back brace.” So I gave it a name: Elinore. In essence, I rejected the standard positioning of the brace as a medical device, gave it a very human name, and chose to position it as a “friend” who was going to help me avoid my mother’s back problems.

As it turns out, calling the brace “Elinore” instead of “my back brace” completely changed my perception of the situation and made it easier for me to cope. In my mind at the time, I never had a back brace. Nope! Not me! I had Elinore.

This is Elinore 2.jpg


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"Holy mother of God...this first draft is perfect! Like perfect! It's everything I wanted to say but just couldn't! Thank you thank you thank you Linda!"

Mark McManus
President, DisasterFree