Jordan Ogren

July 6, 2021

I love prophylactic naps.

I love naming things. So does my wife.

She named her car Debbie. And this changes the driving experience compared to just driving a Toyota. 

There is power in naming, especially in the realm of marketing.

Let me tell you a story to explain how powerful naming is:

In the 1980s and ‘90s, David Dinges and Dr. Mark Rosekind conducted experiments to see how naps can help sleep deprivation.

They mainly focused on the aviation industry.

The data showed that the most dangerous time of flight is landing, which arrives at the end of a journey when the most significant amount of sleep deprivation has set in.

They wanted to answer the question of when someone should take a nap during a 36-hour period of flying (internationally).

I’ll save you time and give you the answer: by napping at the start of the first evening; they experienced less fatigue.

Dinges and Rosekind called these naps “prophylactic naps.” However, when they shared their findings with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), they were unconvinced by the terminology. 

They thought pilots would laugh at taking prophylactic naps and not take their advice.

So Dinges suggested, “planned napping.” The FAA didn’t like this either as it seemed too “management like.”

The FAA suggested calling them “power naps,” which seemed to fit the leadership/dominant positions pilots wanted to fill.

And the rest is history.
Power napping is quite common in today’s culture.

Would it be if they tried to force people to take prophylactic naps? I don’t think so.

The lesson: Naming is mission-critical. It’s not semantics. It’s life or death (Literally in the story above).

Whether it’s a new product, category, or action you want your audience to take, naming is vital for success.

🧠 // JO