Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Choosing a Company Name

It is important to offer customers, staff and business partners a consistent and accurate understanding of what the company, product or service stands for. More often than not the company name and or icon are secondary to how you market that name. Having a strong name and then not promoting consistently over time will yield little awareness or recognition.

Long term effectiveness of a name or brand identity is based on the marketing strategy and not the name itself. Don’t knock yourself out coming up with a cool name - - Arnold Schwarzenegger was told he would never make it with his name! It’s about name recognition and what you do to promote it, but here are some established ways of thinking about names …

A. Often times, using a proper name associates the company with a person place or thing, thus identifying the company specifically but not creating any strong link to descriptive product or service offering, i.e., Johnson & Johnson, MacDonald’s, etc. Through the use of consistent long term branding strategies these names have come to represent a very specific product image.

B. Alternately, a company can be identified by the service or product they offer, creating a direct connection to the product or service. This is a very focused approach and offers people an immediate understanding of the product or service your company produces, i.e., First National Bank, Algoma Steel Manufacturing, etc.

C. The third and most nebulous naming convention creates an emotional attachment to the company or product but does not identify a specific product or service. This, while unfocused, it can create an immediate emotional profile for the company. The name is designed to create a state that will allow the company to attach the product or service to an emotion. Some examples would include SkyLife or Winners.

D. Finally there is a naming convention that creates or invents a company name from scratch. It can represent a product or service and a combination of any existing words to create new word. These have been very popular recently as companies seek to differentiate themselves with unique names. Some examples of this are Nautica or Enron.

Once a name has been developed, regardless of how or what it represents at the time of its creation, two basic elements can affect the perceived meaning of a name or emotional attachment to a name. These are advertising and unforeseen acts. Each of these can affect a company, both negatively and positively.

Combining a sales initiative and marketing plan is the key to the success of your name and your business.

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