ISIS, ISES, ICES: What should you do if you’re confused with militants?

Reality, Parody, Tragedy, World Affairs, Satire, Conjecture by Andy Ebon

Not the International Special Event Society
Not the International Special Event Society

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling for business. My consumption of news has been minimal, which is unusual for me. Prior to this, my pals in the Special Event Biz were celebrating their industry and association in the Emerald City of Seattle. The event was ISESLIVE 2014 (August 18-20; the organization is ISES (International Special Event Society).

And then, from total obscurity, a militant group in the Middle East rose to headlines, TV crawls, and social mediaISISWith each utterance of the militant organization’s name, ISIS, the homophone of the names, ISIS and ISES, became distracting and annoying to me (I couldn’t have been the only one… could I?)

In moments of fatigue and daydreaming, I thought,

“Could this become a Saturday Night Live skit turning name-confusion on its head. A scenario where terrorist group members become distraught because they aren’t getting noticed, but confused with a group of international event professionals who produce massive and creative events?”

My musings and somewhat demented humor were trashed by reality, when two American journalists beheaded for a world audience, with the aid of internet distribution. These events triggered different thoughts: Business-marketing oriented conjecture.

“How many existing organizations or companies use the precise acronym or name, ISIS? How many others use a spelling variation, such as ISES or ICES? Finally, how soon would one or more these entities feel compelled to change its name due to confusion, guilt by association, or being the target of ridicule?”

It didn’t take long for this headline to show up

ISIS-Softcard“ISIS Wallet becomes Softcard to avoid confusion with militant group

FYI: This headline is NOT parody. The spin doctors at ISES Wallet went to work, IMMEDIATELY.

Curiosity now piqued, I consulted the trusty resource, Wikipedia, looking up ISIS and found dozens upon dozens of entities using that precise spelling.

Further research found about eight organizations named ISES, including the International Solar Energy Society, and  International Society of Exposure Science.

Under ICES, I found any number of entities, such as: International Cake Exploration Societé, ICESInternational Cultural Exchange Services  “Promoting a more peaceful world by advancing international awareness and cultural understanding to thousands of exchange students from all over the world”… go figure.

There were more ICES groups;  but then I drifted into thoughts of pizza, and did a search for ITALIAN ICES. Lots of connections, there, but I digress.

Association issues, more than confusion issues

In cases of businesses with similar or identical names, there are processes for sorting such things out. Two or more companies, in distant states, with the same business name shouldn’t create much confusion.

The bigger issue is name-association negativity as experienced by ISIS Wallet™, which, despite owning a trademarked name, elected to change to Softcard to completely separate itself from the name recognition of ISIS, the militant group.

It will be a good day when the militant group, ISIS, is a distant memory.

Andy Ebon


Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Education Expert

Bridal Brokerage morphs into SkyBride

skybrideA few months ago, I posted an item about Bridal Brokerage; a company in the business of reselling services (in part or in whole) from cancelled weddings.

“Bridal Brokerage finds new couples to take over canceled wedding contracts, saving money for buyers, sellers, and wedding vendors alike.”

Source: Bridal Brokerage website

At the time, I posted my general skeptical outlook…

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Andy Ebon – quoted from Anonymous

Recently, I decided to check the Bridal Brokerage website to see if there was anything new to report. The business had quietly changed its name to Skybridal-brokerage-tileBride. The welcome screen sports a block of ten media logos with the reminder headline, “This is where you’ve seen us.”

Not Exactly

None of the logos are linked to any of the media companies. It seems if you had media coverage, you would set-up direct links to the video or website article. The absence of links may indicate the publicity was about Bridal Brokerage, not SkyBride.

WHOIS Information

eyeballs - point of viewWhat I Observe

  • The business name and domain named have changed.
  • The business model appears the same.
  • The About Us page on is vague. It reads in first-person-plural ‘We’, but doesn’t name an owner or owners, specifically.
  • One can’t clearly tell whether this was an ownership change or a just a name change.
  • The only email I can find on the website is
  • There are links on the About Us page for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The Facebook text-link was dead; the logo-link worked.
  • The phone number and email address associated with the Facebook page were different from those on the website.
  • The Twitter page showed a gap in activity from May 17th to July 24th. 
  • There is a sparse YouTube Channel with three videos, from two years ago.

Analysis and Opinion

Too often, business websites feel anonymous. People like to see the names of owners and their bios. If there is a sales department, it’s good to see names, phone extensions, name-based emails (, and perhaps a business headshot.

It is not comfortable to be wheeling and dealing in after-market weddings on a website that lacks ownership clarity.

Whether a name-change or an ownership-change, OWN IT! The business is not dealing in last-minute cruise bookings on a major cruise line. These transactions are not simple transfers of commodities. More information about the growth and transformation of the business would be appropriate, in my judgment.

Your Comments are IMPORTANT on this topic

As a wedding business, what’s your take? How does this business model resonate with you? If you have had any experience with – (good or bad), please leave a comment.

There are at least two other businesses with similar models. I’m going to investigate them, too.

One more recommendation/opinion

There are far more marketing options to market your business than you could possible afford or need. I think one should have a healthy skepticism of any new business. If it is a new business model, you should have an even higher level of skepticism.

Please don’t jump at the New Shiny Object. Do your homework, and choose carefully.

… Help me on this, too? If you didn’t know what SkyBride referred to, after reading this post, what it would it mean to you?

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Stand out in a crowd, without dressing like Lady Gaga

Stand Out
Lady Gaga

Networking situations have interesting dynamics. What makes people gravitate toward others? Why do certain individuals stand out and others become invisible?

Last night, Singer/SongWriter/Performance Artist, Lady Gaga, appeared at the Pearl Showroom, in the Palms, Las Vegas. This morning, there was a positive review in the paper. No review of Lady Gaga would be written without an arduous discussion of her wardrobe (costuming). Her ever-changing glam fashion facade recalls breakthrough presences of performers such as Madonna and David Bowie.

Eyes can be on you, without your having to be ostentatious. Here are two examples.

DJ Marcello Pedalino is the first. I first met Marcello  a number of years ago at a DJ Conference. He  stood was he was impeccably dressed. Suit and tie, sharply groomed, neat as a pin.

stand out
DJ Marcello Pedalino

In a gather of mobile DJ’s, who all to often sported T-shirts and jeans, accessorized by expanding waistlines, Marcello always stands out. If you didn’t know him, you would think, “I wonder who HE is. He must be somebody important.”

Over the long term, this has created what I term The Marcello Effect. Year by year, I see more and more mobile DJ’s decked out in suit and tie, even when it might not be absolutely necessary. Hopefully, they are continuing that fashion statement in their local networking opportunities, not just at national DJ conference, because it looks good.

Darcy Anderson, Fashion Director, JC Penney: Darcy was a client, when my first DJ company, Music Man, provided music for many fashion shows in the San Francisco Bay Area.

stand outDarcy was a stylish dresser, but what stood out was her singular fashion accessory, a bumblebee pin. Actually what stood out was not the pin, itself, but where she wore it. Darcy always wore it on the right shoulder, on the back of her jacket.

Invariably, people would see the pin from a distance, and come up to her to let her know she had ‘something on her shoulder’ only to see it was not a mistake, but a fashion accessory.

This staple of Darcy’s wardrobe made her distinctly memorable. Here I am, blogging about it thirty years later.

What are you doing to make yourself distinct and memorable? In this case, not your company, YOU. When you walk into a room of 125 people, many of whom haven’t met you, is there anything you’re doing by your presence or actions that makes you memorable?

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog