What’s in a Pandemic Name?

The next time you name a website or product, you might want to think about the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

Bill and Melinda Gates have spent years helping to eradicate diseases in Africa. The man knows a thing or two about pandemics and about marketing.

In 2015, he gave a Ted Talk in which he told the world that the next pandemic was coming. Few people paid attention.

Fast forward to April 23rd, 2020, and Bill Gates posts an entry in his blog entitled, “The First Modern Pandemic.”

Buried near the bottom of that post – and quoted widely in the media – is a sentence in which he gives a name to this pandemic.

Before I reveal the name, let me ask you this: If you, as a marketer, were charged with ensuring people remain highly aware that another pandemic can occur at any time and that they we need to be READY for it the next time it happens, what would you do?

Would you write long blogposts and articles telling people to remember we need to be ready next time? Create YouTube videos with the same message? Send out a mailer to everyone on the planet?

Remember, Bill Gates tried the video method in 2015 with his Ted Talk. That video received millions views, and yet very little was done to get ready.

Bill Gates has apparently learned from this, and now he’s given a name to this pandemic that tells us in the clearest form possible that this is the FIRST of MORE pandemics to come.

Yes, there was a major clue in that last sentence.

Bill Gates wrote, “Melinda and I grew up learning that World War II was the defining moment of our parents’ generation. In a similar way, the COVID-19 pandemic – the first modern pandemic – will define this era. No one who lives through Pandemic I will ever forget it. And it is impossible to overstate the pain that people are feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come.”

Pandemic I.

We are living in Pandemic I.

I cannot think of a clearer, more articulate or succinct way to tell the world that this is just the first pandemic chapter. If people in the “Great War” had known at the time that a day would come when it was instead called, “World War I,” would they have done more to avoid the second world war? I’d like to think so.

Naming your product or website might not make the difference in whether or not people are ready for the next life-threatening event. But it can make a huge difference in how people perceive your product, what emotions and thoughts it brings forth, and ultimately whether or not they buy it.

To read Bill Gate’s entire essay, go here:

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/Pandemic-Innovation