Whether it is the curves of the Coca-Cola bottle, or the lines of a car to the name of a band, the most successful products appeal strongly to our emotions. Music as an industry used to be particularly great at this. Music fans are some of the most passionate consumers out there. The emotional appeal is so strong that fans actually leverage the emotional response they get from music to evoke an emotional response from others about themselves.
As a result, it's not enough for your average Mega-Death/ Eminem/ Michael Bolton (ok, probably not him) fan to sit at home and quietly listen to their music on the Ipod. No, they need to buy shirts, hats bags, pins, etc. to let the rest of the world know that they're a Mega-Death/Eminem fan. Music touches so many primal emotions in humans, that entire identities are formed around it.
Sports are another great example. You can literally walk through a stadium and feel the passion for the product. One of the original uniting principles among us is geographic similarity. East cost vs West coast. No. Cal. vs. So. Cal. NY vs. Boston. Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh, etc. People take a tribal-like pride in where they're from and thus have passion about things that supposedly represent it.
I always found it interesting that the NBA allowed the Golden State Warriors to be named as they are. The team plays in Oakland and is supposedly representative of the Bay area. But their name is Golden State. That name brings up no knee jerk geographic pride from anyone. The Golden State Warriors? I live in San Francisco, not the Golden State. Besides Los Angeles and Sacramento are in the Golden State too - and those cites have three teams between them. So who cares if Golden State loses to Milwaukee or Portland? Not me. Let me know when San Francisco plays though.
Accordingly, even in years like this where they're pretty good, no one seems to care. Change their name to San Francisco or Oakland Warriors - tap into that irrational geographic emotion and I bet more people will become passionate about the team.
Sure logic would say that if you named the team the San Francisco Warriors, that would alienate fans outside the city. One thing I've learned though is that if you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to everyone. So forget about the lowest common denominator. It's just that. It brings out zero emotions. Which is perfect....if you're marketing to a Vulcan.