The Naming Game

What’s in a name? Potentially everything. If it includes any of these deadly sins, then your saviour could come simply by changing it.
1) Thou shalt not have a name that is a direct synonym of a competitor.
a. A name which is very similar to a competitor will become the death of any unique selling point your business has to offer. This is because any attempt to distinguish your company will be overshadowed by their already established strengths and weaknesses. Let us say CallTel; an established fictional telephone provider; has a new competitor entering the market that decides to call their company RingTel and subsequently adopts a similar logo.  CallTel begins to have some serious internal issues and goes into receivership. How will this affect Ringtel? For one, customers may think that they may be the same company. Negative light on CallTel will be reflected on Ringtel as people will relate the issues with one to the issues of another. Be careful that when choosing a name, you are not influenced by others.
2) Thou shalt not have a name that coveys a veiled meaning.
a. Veiled meanings can convey either a positive, negative or neutral message. Watch that your name does not express something you may wish not to convey.  For example, Fooked New Car Dealer (use your imagination!) and Payne Dental Centre (ouch!)  will not paint the picture you wish to convey. Get others who are in a different industry to critique your name. I am sure you know of some people who have accidently had this happen to them. Some true examples that come to mind are Jenny Taylor (Genitalia), Larry King (Larrikin) or Teresa Green (Trees are Green).
3) Thou shalt not have a name that signifies singularity.
a. If you plan for growth beyond one person; which is what many strive for; do not put a person’s name on it. Especially your own. That is one of the worst things you can do, unless you want to signify small or a family business, by all means go ahead. It also means your business will act more like a job than a business. But most of you will want to grow, so you need to take into account your long term strategy. Even if you are only one person, it’s better to be perceived as having an army behind an organisation.  Also if you run into misfortune along the line, you save your family name from becoming tarnished.
4) Thou shalt not have a name which needs to be asked twice.
a. Simplicity. Keep the name to a maximum of two syllables if possible. A simple clever name is, simply remembered. Be clever, but not overly smart that it takes a course to figure out the meaning. Be creative, but not to the point of obscured ridiculousness. You want people to remember not to be confused. Less is more.
5) Thou shalt not have a name that is totally unrelated to your business
a. A name symbolizes your business. It evokes an image, emotion or meaning. These preconceptions are formed from how your customer sees that name.  If you call yourself Goofy’s Civil Lawfirm or Funny Funeral directors your customer may be riled that you are not taking your business seriously. Your business name should evoke an image, emotion, or meaning that reflects your business.
Some examples of these include:
Tyrepower (powerful, masculine, strong and specialises in Tyres)
Freedom Furniture (Relaxation, liberated, comfort)
Coca Cola ( Derived from Cocoa leaves and Kola Nuts. The K was changed to C because it flowed better).
Your name should be fresh and interesting, free from obscurity and above all, memorable. A timely biblical fable is when Jesus simply said ‘follow me’ and devoted crowds followed. I’m not suggesting you’re Jesus, but your name needs to do the same. So remember, keep the name simple, your message powerful and it will become the starting point for your business to also develop a devoted crowd of followers.  When you do this, you will capture and captivate your customers and reflect what you’re all about…in just a few powerful words.
Author Bio: Jethro Batts is a management focused entrepreneur who is working on a number of startup and consulting projects

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