A rose by any other name…

Rose A conversation with a client about naming a business and a post by Iowa attorney Rush Nigut got me thinking. There are few marketing decisions that can be as personal and subjective as naming a business. There is no ideal “right” answer which only makes it a tougher call.

Here are some Business Naming Basics.

No one is going to, for the most part, do business with you or not do business with you, because of your name, unless its so stupid or so offensive that you shouldn’t be in business anyway.

Yes, it is a very important decision.  But it’s not life-ending.  Should it be easy to remember and spell?  You bet.  But that’s more for memory recall than creating preference.  Remember, any business name is an empty shell.  You are going to attach meaning to it by how you conduct business, how you position and market yourself and how you treat your clients.

Choosing a name because it starts with an A is only a good choice is the name you would have picked anyway starts with an A.

If you are going to market yourself, the Yellow Pages becomes a support vehicle, especially in today’s digital world. You’re better off picking a name you like…and then doing a good, clear yellow page display ad than banking on the A listing. Or worse, being AAA Plumbing or A+ Plumbing.

The name of your business is far more important to you than it is to your customers.

They want to know what you do and how you do it…and really, unless it is offensive, don’t care about your name. So, positioning statements and how you market yourself become very critical and much more important than your name.

Make it simple to say. Make it simple to remember. If at all possible — let it help define who and what you are/do.

Your name is just the beginning. It is more important to pick one and get going on the marketing than it is to search for the perfect name.

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8 comments on “A rose by any other name…

  1. The name of your business is far more important to you than it is to your customers.

    I agree. AND, my business name, Healthy WebDesign, would seem to be clear…I build websites, right?

    But that’s not really what I do. While I do develop and build websites, I actually do far more than just design websites. I do business development, target audience evaluation, marketing strategy and business goal assessment, and so on.

    So for me, seeing Healthy WebDesign is actually a bit misleading. And it certainly doesn’t tell people what I do. It only helps them assume that I’m a web designer.

    That’s why I’m working on a rebrand – with a business name that does not include web design in it.

    So while I agree, I am an exception.

  2. Dawud,

    You’re right, your name doesn’t do you justice. Did you always offer that wide array of services or were you originally a web designer who has now broadened your offerings?

    How will you go about your re-brand?


  3. Rush Nigut says:


    I agree with you that ordinarily a business name should define who and what you do. But don’t you find it curious that many of the most successful Internet businesses seemed to have ignored exactly that advice. (i.e. Google, eBay, Amazon, etc.) Maybe it is all in the marketing?


  4. No, three years ago when I got fully back into web development, I was doing web design with business development on the front end. Over the past three years, that’s evolved into me really wanting to help my clients develop, build and grow their business over the web. So my rebrand is about bringing forward the full gamut of my services public.

    I have a plan for implementing my rebrand for all parts except changing my domain. I’ve really built some momentum with my blog under Healthy WebDesign and I have a new name in mind. Just uncertain how to best go about changing domains while loosing the least amount of momentum, link support and feeds for Healthy WebDesign.

    Any ideas?

  5. Rush,

    Great question. The reality is that when you create a name for your company — it is an empty vessel. You will “fill” it by your actions, products, marketing, word of mouth buzz etc.

    So when a company creates a name like ebay or google, they are banking on the fact that they can supply the meaning/context for their company via marketing and buzz.

    When a company calls themselves Jack’s Plumbing, they are acknowledging that they either don’t have the resources, talent or time (or desire) to create a marketing machine — so they are going to take the shortcut of using the name itself to tell you what they do.

    Creating a new word or choosing words that have no direct tie to your business is a gamble. But for some marketing-centric companies, it’s a good gamble.


  6. Dawud,

    Why couldn’t you keep your current domain name AND get the new one too?

    Just point both to the web site. You don’t lose anyone who has bookmarked or linked to you. And you can drive all new traffic through the new URL.

    Naturally, you are going to deal with the name change on the web and I am sure in other media, so there shouldn’t be a disconnect if some of your old customers land on your new home page and see the new name.

    Would that work?


  7. Yeah, I’ve already thought of that – and using 301 Redirect. I’m not worried about past/future clients seeing a new brand.

    What I’d love to do, I guess, is integrate as much/all of my current blogging success into my new domain. I’d love to find someone to bounce ideas about this off of. Know anyone?

  8. Dawud,

    Could you change the name of your blog but still keep the old URL? Point the new URL and you should just have two paths leading to the current blog with all its links and value intact.

    For any blog-related questions I go to the master — Mike Sansone @ http://www.convertstations.com

    He’s the man!


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