I met with a new client this week, who wants to expand his company. Currently, it’s suffering from what I call “boring brandingitis.” There’s nothing special with the name, it’s equivalent to Westside Development, Inc.
The problem I have with this name is that it’s too generic. Westside could be “west Los Angeles” or “Westside highway” in New York or any number of other things. Using “Development” in a name is kinda sorta picking a lane, but is it construction, movies, photos, or product development? This type of ambiguity is not helpful to the mind of the consumer or buyer and when someone is confused, they won’t buy. They’ll move on to the next business that is more clearly articulated in its naming.
When I work with people I try to bring their business to as fine point as possible, so that the naming is easy and clearly says what they do. The standard I always strive for is Midwest Truck Leasing – it tells you what the geographic area is that they serve, what the product is, and how their business model operates – they lease. To me, this is the gold standard of company naming. If was looking to rent or lease a truck in the midwest they will pop right up in any search engine I use.
Now I know when you are selling a premium product the packaging matters – and that is true if you are going launch a national product that has a huge marketing budget behind it to spend tons of time educating the customers. When AXE first was marketed, most men had no idea how to pronounce it, let alone what it was or why they would buy it.
With the resources of Unilever behind the brand, and their multi-billion dollar network of distributors, marketing departments and infrastructure, it’s no wonder why the brand has grown and become a highly successful men’s product line.
However, that is not the story for most new products or companies. They are not backed by companies or individuals with those types of resources so they must rely on more mundane things – like clear and easy naming conventions.
My partner and I built our family law practice for years using the name Pisarra & Grist. It’s a completely true and accurate and traditional name for a law firm. It is also utterly unremarkable and easily forgotten. When I built out the MensFamilyLaw.com website and started to brand us that way, it was remarkable the ease with which people not only remembered me and what we did, but the increase in our referrals for fathers and husbands that were looking for representation in family courts.
I don’t know what my new client will end up with as a name for the business were building – I’m still getting clear on what his objectives and goals are, but you can be sure that it won’t be something as generic as Westside Development Inc. If you want to build a business that stands out and is unique and empowering to you and your life, pick a name that clearly states what you do, where you do it, and who you serve. If you want help with that, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be happy to spitball some ideas with you.
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