Jose Palomino

Fantastic Four: Just How Valuable is Name Recognition?

August 30, 2016


The 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture — as well as Worst Remake, and Worst Director. Critic consensus on Rotten Tomatoes gives it a whopping 9% approval, while crowd opinion is a slightly more generous 19%. It may very well have been the worst superhero movie ever made — and yet it still managed to make $168 million at worldwide box office, on its $120 million budget. Of course, with Hollywood accounting – who knows what other costs and losses this film generated?

Name Recognition Versus Brand Loyalty

It’s not an especially entertaining movie — it’s not fun, it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, and we’ve all seen better special effects by now. The trailers weren’t all that intriguing, and the “promise of the premise” — superhero action, massive fights, and cool powers — never existed to begin with. The $168 million that the movie earned came entirely from prior name recognition and brand expectations.

Not brand expectations of the movie. No, Fantastic Four as a movie franchise has not earned any points with moviegoers. The 2005 version and its 2007 sequel did OK at the box office, but they were neither modern marvels of cinematography nor compelling stories. There’s no brand loyalty, here — Marvel isn’t responsible for any of the movies, and no one’s coming back because the first one was great. I mean, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. Really?

The brand and name recognition is for the beloved characters and the comic books that spawned them.

The Evil You Know

Like a political campaign or the marketing rollout for a movie — your business needs to cultivate at least some name recognition. You need your prospective customers and clients to know who you are — or at least, when they hear your name, not think — who the heck is that?

The 2015 Fantastic Four demonstrates that there is at least core market value in name recognition. It wasn’t pulling people into the theaters because of rave reviews — it was pulling them in because they heard or saw Fantastic Four, and they knew what it was — they knew that it was supposed to be superheroes, fun, and action. They didn’t hear Fantastic Four and have to stop and think — Is this a good movie? Do people like this movie? Should I see this movie?

Never Neglect Product Quality

Clearly, this particular movie tested the boundaries of their name’s value. Your company should not do that — but if you can cultivate recognition of your name to


the point where you can rely on it to draw in a certain amount of business — in some ways, like Fantastic Four — then you can work towards capitalizing on the familiarity of your name.

According to small business can, awareness and recognition of your company — brand, name, and message — is not just important because it brings new business in — it’s important because, if you fulfill your quality and performance promises for your customers — it will keep them coming back again and again.

Image Credit: Fantastic Four #1, November 1961

Bottom line:

It’s important that your potential customers know who you are, even from just hearing your company’s name. However, you can’t neglect product quality just because you have good name recognition — or you’ll be putting your potential for repeat business in jeopardy.

  • Have you actively worked to cultivate name recognition in your market? How?
  • Do your customers know you? Or when they hear your name, do they think “who the heck is that?”
  • Do you ever rely overly much on the value of brand recognition and name recognition to bring you business? Or do you focus equal efforts on product quality?

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