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Old 23rd June 2004, 01:12 PM   #1
BWelford
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Default Your Company Name should be your biggest selling agent

It's interesting that I didn't know where this thread would best go. If I've done it wrong, then perhaps Admin can move it! However it's symptomatic of how little attention people give to company names. Sometimes it's the lawyer who suggests it. After all, he's a word specialist, isn't he? Wrong.

When I work with a new client, it's the first thing I force them to re-examine. When someone hears your company name, they should instantly know whether they might like to buy something from you. If they only caught the company name, then when they get home, they should easily be able to find your site with a single search on Google or Yahoo! Sounds easy? You'd be amazed at how many Company Names fail on those two counts.

How does your Company Name stack up?

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Old 2nd July 2004, 03:56 PM   #2
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Default What's in a Name?

Company names are a great topic.

People sometimes have a lot or problems with picking a name. Consider that in a perfect world, you want a name that's fairly short, easy to remember and spell, and that people like and can identify your products with.

The lawyer in me (non-practicing) says that we should also do some research regarding trade marks and service marks, and domain name availability.
Should a bookstore be named after a tribe of fierce woman warriors?
Or a directory after a very rude person?
Should a computer company share its name with a piece of fruit?
Would you name your software company after something tiny and squishy?
Are made up names good ideas? Or using foreign terms which you might not be aware of their full meanings in their original language?

What makes one word more memorable than another?

Do some names lend themselves to better brand building opportunities?

Quote:
When someone hears your company name, they should instantly know whether they might like to buy something from you.
Why might more people buy products from "Panasonic" than from "Matsushita Electric Works, Ltd" (same company). If I heard both names, and didn't have prior products in mind when I saw both, I'd guess I might be more prone to buy something from the second company.

What is it Barry, that might influence people upon hearing the name, to make a decision to purchase? (Devil's Advocate mode there )

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Old 5th July 2004, 10:52 AM   #3
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Default

Hi, bragadocchio. It's good to see you here.

I must admit my futile brain often goes in all kinds of directions on any topic. I'm never sure whether one of my musings will send a thread off in quite a different directions. My immediate reaction was to point out that this thread is taking place in the Small Business Ideas Forum. My tangential thought is to point out that what works for the Big Guys may not be quite as good for the Small Guys (and Gals).

So if I'm starting my company and want to have a completely new name, like Sony or Xerox, all I do is throw money at it and eventually everyone will have it on the tip of their tongues.

Small Business must rely on tight budgets and guerilla marketing. So in this crowded market place that is the Internet with everyone yelling their heads off, how do you stand out from the crowd? The toughest challenge is to get someone's attention. That's what I want the company name to do. Once we're in touch with each other, then all those human skills involved in selling come into play.

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Old 5th July 2004, 01:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome, Barry,

One of the reasons why this particular topic is compelling to me is that we help lots of people start up small businesses.

Many of them already have names when they come to us, but I've seen a lot of names of all shapes and sizes, with odd spellings, interesting backgrounds, and unusual business models.

I agree completely that what might not work for a large company, with marketing and branding dollars to burn through might not work for smaller operations - people in offices in their basements, or dens, or a spare corner of their bedrooms don't necessarily have the budget to run ads at the superbowl, or in the Wall Street Journal.

In lieu of that, it's not a bad idea for them to be aware of where the members of the niche that they are (hopefully) aiming at reside. Are there trade journals or topical web sites built for the people thier products or services might appeal to? Will their name, and brief ad resonate with those people, and create an opportunity to turn some of them into customers?

I know that we can go in a lot of directions with this thread, and maybe we'll even attract some other participants. I like the idea of discussing reasons why people might choose one name over another, and methods to come up with that name.

I know that you and I are both fans of the mind mapping process, Barry. I've offered that as a suggestion to a lot of people who where trying to come up with a name for their business. Here's how a person might do it. Let me also state that this can be a group effort, and it also can be a lot of fun.

Get a piece, or a few pieces of posterboard, and either a large table top to write upon, or a way to display it - a wall and tape, or an easel that it will fit upon. Get a bunch of multicolored markers. I might suggested staying away from the multi-scented ones - they can be distracting.

This is an exercise in laterial thinking. Any suggestions, regardless of how good or bad they might be should be considered, and written down. Bad ideas can lead to good ones. (They can also lead to other bad ideas, too.)

Write in the middle of the poster board - "Company name".

Then write ideas. Any ideas you have. If you want to created some columns or lists, go for it. If you want to draw lines, and arrows, and equal signs, it's your poster board and markers - knock yourself out.

I'd consider writing about how you want to be perceived by customers, and vendors, and the public. Is the location of your business important? Why? How do you want people to feel about your business? What is the most important thing someone should know about the way you operate, or the services you provide?

Where are the places the business name will be seen - menus, inventory lists, letterhead, signs, the sides of trucks, billboards, television, newspapers, magazines.

Are there some slogans, logos, taglines that might go well with some of the different choices of names? If you had to draw an image or images, or symbols to stand for the company, what might they be?

Are there any historic, mythological, or geographical features that share something with the company?

If you're having difficulties, grab another piece of posterboard, and start writing about other companies that exist, and how their use their business name. What are their slogans and logos like. What do you think of when hearing the name? What created that impression in your mind?

Mind mapping is one tool to use to come up with names. There are other good ones. How did you come up with your company's name?

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Old 6th July 2004, 06:48 AM   #5
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Hi Bill, I hope this doesn't begin to look like a tennis match.

That wall or large sheet of paper you're going to be sticking all your ideas on is a great way to go. Particularly if there's a few of you and you emphasize just throwing the ideas up without censoring them. ("Oops, won't everyone think I'm stupid if I say that?")

Even so the first item is always the toughest. Remember that centipede that never moved because it couldn't figure out which leg to move first.

One very powerful approach I find is to look particularly at your competitors. Even making a list of them is a great start. Then find out as much as you can about them. Websites are a great way to find out lots of information. Once upon a time "competitive intelligence" involved going to a nearby pub to see what company insiders were talking about. Now just analyze their websites. Find their strengths and their weaknesses. You'll soon begin to see how you can offer something they don't really deliver, even if they say they do. Once you figure out why you're special, it's very much easier to stick a name on it.

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Old 6th July 2004, 07:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Particularly if there's a few of you and you emphasize just throwing the ideas up without censoring them.
Done right, it can actually be a lot of fun.

The competitve analysis you mention is indispensible. Even at the time you're coming up with a name for your business. Maybe especially.

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Old 21st September 2004, 06:17 AM   #7
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Fortune smiles on me

I opened this thread intrigued by the title as I've been tossing round for a name and just couldn't get my teeth around how to start. I'm now leaving the forum this instant to get the big sheet of paper out.

I'm buzzing a little already

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Old 21st September 2004, 01:59 PM   #8
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A couple of things to chew on:

Using a personal name in the company name ("Bill Gates, Inc.")
- Personal branding sometimes works well, if the person in the name has a presence and doesn't mess up. (See "Martha Stewart Omnimedia", et al.)

Using descriptive terms in the company name ("Giant Tennis Racquets Corp.")
- Not bad, but limiting re: company offerings in the future (like tennis balls).

Using an acronym for the company name ("SONY = Standard Oil of New York")
- Can be enigmatic if the letters don't add up.
- Very flexible, business-wise ... can pretty much represent anything.

Being stuck with a company name, and using a new naming approach for the web
- Most likely scenario for many web developers.
- Is it possible to re-brand a company using an appropriate domain name? i.e. "Dick's Little Fuzzy Things, Inc." uses the domain "CoolToys.com"

Just musing ... I've learned from these posts, already!

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Old 21st September 2004, 06:48 PM   #9
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just how important is the domain name ? it's the name of the site that counts isn't it ?

although a simple domain name is easy for people to type in -I work a lot on the personal exchange, handing my business cards out discreetly

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Old 22nd September 2004, 08:18 AM   #10
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I try to follow the KISS principle so for me ideally the company name should be the domain name. It also should be the name that you 'own' on the Internet. In other words when someone searches for that name, you should be #1 in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

I realize that's a tall order. However I suggest it is so important that you should not leap into this company name choice but really work on it. I set out some of the aspects of this in a recent newsletter, SWOT That Company Name, which you may find of interest.

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