Catchy name can help mould your business and attract customers
Your business name is an opportunity to make a memorable first impression on new customers. Ninety per cent of businesses play it straight and choose a name that literally describes what they do, yet often fail to create a feeling that the business is any different to another one down the road. While a great name alone won’t make a business, it can provide a valuable leg-up in gaining the market’s attention.
Branding is all about getting your business recognised for being different, on either rational or emotional factors, ideally both. And convincing people that it’s worth coming back to, because of what it does best. Branding is a powerful thing when it is backed up by real points of difference in a business. But if there’s no substance behind the claims of being different, branding is just window dressing.
But what are the most important things to consider in finding the right name? Keep in mind that close to 3000 new businesses are registered in Australia every week, adding to the nearly 2 million businesses already registered. Your business won’t attract attention unless it earns it. So don’t just consider what you sell, try to lock in on what will make your business different and better to others – and seek to build your name and reputation around that.
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Think of how the name ”Nudie” so effortlessly communicates the idea of pure, unadulterated fruit juice, how ”Dogue” screams fashionable accessories for dogs or how ”Forty Winks” says experts in beds. The better your name captures a core benefit for customers, the less you’ll need to spend later to build that intended meaning into the brand. Memorable names often have a strong sense of personality, too. Naming your business may feel like an onerous task but don’t take yourself too seriously.
There are some traps to avoid. Many people start the search for a name by reviewing the conventions in their category, then slavishly follow them, in the hope that looking and sounding like an established business might lend credibility to their own fledgling firm. But this does more to reaffirm the position of market leaders than to set your business apart as an upstart. Seek to understand the rules of the category, then break at least one of them. Once you have settled on a name, there are three steps in building it into a brand.
1. Getting the brand registered and protected
Don’t underestimate the time and effort it will take to find a name you like and to get it registered in your class of business. Chances are that many of the names you’ll fall in love won’t be available – remember all those business folk who have walked this path before you, along with the big businesses that register dozens of names to keep them out of the hands of competitors. Be pragmatic and go with the best name you can secure that’s got a promising meaning or an engaging sense of personality and mould it into a winning business.
2. Getting the brand recognised for what it does best
This is the toughest challenge of all for small business entrepreneurs: getting your brand on the map with your target audience without sending yourself broke in the process. When marketing dollars are scarce, put all of your effort into getting your biggest point of difference across to customers. Don’t try to promote a load of different messages. Introduce yourself and play your strongest card, fast.
3. Getting your customers to spread the word
Some of the biggest brands in the world measure their success through a single question asked of their customers – would they be willing to recommend the brand to a close friend or colleague? Profits flow from luring customers back and getting them to talk about your brand to others, especially in this age of social media. So start by putting a memorable name in their heads.
Wayde Bull is a founding partner and the planning director of the brand strategy and identity management agency Principals.
First published on SMH (www.smh.com.au) - 19th August 2010