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Starting your own company? Or maybe you’ve determined that the original name you chose for your company, organization or product is no longer appropriate and it’s time for a change. But where do you start?
If you’re like many entrepreneurs, your initial thought it to use your own name. It’s an assertion of your pride and your opportunity to leave a legacy. Others prefer a no-frills approach and choose to simply describe the services they provide. Some like to assert their creativity and assign an inspirational adjective to their business name, or consider a fabricated name. All are viable options, but each has pros and cons. The key to a successful name development is to choose one that will directly and positively affect your company or organization’s brand perception, and use marketing and public relations strategies to ensure that your name is top of mind with your clients and prospects.
There’s No Book for Naming This Baby
A number of clients realize they need a professional to write and design their brochures and program their website, but put the fate of their name into a brief internal brainstorm, or less.
A name can be transmitted hundreds or even thousands of times per day. From your voice mail to email signature lines, sales literature, product packaging, website and your first entré into any new business relationship — your business card — in today’s competitive market, a name directly affects the success of one’s business. If your prospects can’t pronounce your company name, spell it or are otherwise confused by it chances are they won’t remember it or care about it. Without a memorable, meaningful, positive, visually tangible, future-oriented name that can be protected, you are not positioning your brand for success.
You come into contact with countless people year-in and year-out. But why is that only a handful stand out after meeting them only once? Something about them got your attention. It could have been a physical attribute such a their red hair, or perhaps it was their unique personality. Likewise, a company name should be as distinctive as its people, products and services. Otherwise, ABC Box Company is no different than XYZ Box Company.
A name with no connection to what the company does or to its target market has limited value and questionable longevity. Without purpose, a name is much more difficult to effectively brand. This difficulty translates into more marketing and advertising dollars being spent to make it work.
Do your homework and understand your audience. If you’re unaware of the possible negative connotation your name may conjure up, you could be setting yourself up for failure right out of the gate. A positive name will convey a positive brand.
Business owners often fail to consider the importance of name tangibility. When first introduced to a concept, audiences first recognize shape, then color, then text. A name that does not lend itself to visual interpretation will make logo development significantly more difficult. In addition, the company will likely have to spend more money to get the name recognition and brand awareness it seeks, simply because it gets lost in an abyss of intangible text.
As your company grows, your products and services may very well change. Consider your business plan when choosing a name. One that works well today may be limiting tomorrow. Choosing a name that takes the future of your business into account will serve you well in the long run, both in print and online.
Protect your brand. All of the core components within one’s corporate identity program (name, logo, tagline) should be researched by an intellectual property attorney upfront, to ensure that no conflicts exist. Better to pay a lawyer a little now than a lot later if you find yourself caught in fighting for or defending copyright or trademark infringement.
Brand is about perception. You cannot drive a stake in the ground and proclaim your brand, as it’s really up to your customers and prospects. However, you are in control of how your audience comes into contact with your brand and when they do, you want to arm them with the opportunity to see you, your products and services in the best possible light. Through effective market positioning, you will ensure that when prospects come in contact with one of your brand touch points, they’ll remember you by name.