What’s in a name?
If you are in business perhaps everything.
Prior to the Internet most new companies created their corporate brand based on the founders’ names or some term which hopefully described their business in a few words.
This worked well in the old economy where competition was less intense and sales were made as much on a “who you know” rather than “what you know” basis.
But the world has changed. The backbone of the new economy is all digital. It is also international in scope.
Sales leads are coming from Google and other search engines. They can also flow from other social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Most businesses realize that having a strong online presence is important to their growth and success. Yet some fail to realize that customers still need to find them, by name.
For example, unless you reside in a small town, a brand like the Smith-Jones Law Firm just won’t make the cut. How in the world is someone going to find you on a Google search unless they go about 40 pages deep or you spend thousands of dollars on search engine optimization and marketing.
Even if Mr. Smith meets someone at a networking event and the prospect loses Smith’s business card, imagine how long it would take that person to find the Smith-Jones firm on a search. Too many companies and people named Smith and Jones out there.
The same is true for companies who try to let you know what they do in their brand name. “Advanced Electronics Equipment” let’s you know that the company sells some type of electronics equipment but where will that rank on a Google search.
Check out how many companies have “advanced”, “electronics”, and “equipment” as part of their name. Far too many for you to make a dent on a search list.
A better approach is to use a name no one else in your market sector can claim. One that can at least be found easily on an electronic search. A name that stands out from the crowd.
Brands like Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, Zappos, and Zynga really didn’t mean anything until they were launched and became popular (ok there was the Amazon River etc). Yet they are easily found and stand out from a crowded field.
Imagine if Starbucks had gone with The Howard Schultz Coffee Company as its name. The company may still be successful but it would not have the same panache or hipness.
A business can do the same in its own market. Instead of using the same old standards like “Gold Home Realty” or “Acme Plumbing & Associates” companies might try to develop a one or two word brand that separates them from their competitors.
The goal is to create the name before you incorporate and launch, not afterwards.
Research is not that difficult. Perform some electronic search and see if anyone is close to your brand name or has the first name of your company as part of theirs.
If you are in St. Louis, MO, home of the Gateway Arch, how many companies are named “Gateway” this and that or “Archway”. That is not a good choice for your company.
If you use the same name or part of a name of a large Fortune 500 company chances are you could be a little difficult to find as well.
Companies are better off creating a brand that could be a little difficult to connect with its product offerings at the inception but will pay dividends long term.
Provided your company does good work and builds a good reputation, customers will find you. Especially if they can locate you on an electronic search.