Marketing 101: Do You Have a Winning Name?

Marketing 101: Do You Have a Winning Name?
One of the most important marketing decisions you will ever make is the name of your company or product. It is also often the thing we spend the least amount of time considering. It will be the one thing that identifies your business, quickly tells potential clients if they should consider your goods or services and if it is memorable, will recommend you to others. But how does anyone find just the right name? It turns out; there are some tried and true considerations for business names just as there are with baby names. Since this company is your baby, let's look at a few things you should consider when naming that new business.

Trying Out the Basics
The name of your company drives how potential clients see your business. Here are a handful of approaches you can try that have been very successful for businesses in the past.

  • Using the Founder's Name – This worked great for Hewlett-Packard and Bell Telephone. It is more common these days in lawyers firms, accountant firms or any kind of business where personal integrity is an important part of the business presentation.
  • A Description of What You Do or Offer – A great example of this is Southwest Airlines. Sometimes it needs tweaking. An example is Western Hotel which changed its name to Western International when it expanded and now is simply called West-in.
  • Use the Experience or Image of Your Product – This can be harder but Sprint is a good example of this. It can be tongue in cheek, like Mail Chimp which implies even a monkey can use their product.
  • Go for Broke and Take a Word Completely Out of Context – Apple is of course the great example of this, but there are others. The trick with this is to pick a word so unrelated that it will come to be connected only with your product or company.
  • Make Up Your Own Name – You see this far more these days with online businesses. Of course, the prime example of this is Google, which has now become a verb relating to the company.

Considering Your Target
You also need to consider the audience you want to appeal to with your company. Once you have decided on the type of approach, here are some questions to help you narrow your options when it comes to your target market:

  • Who is your target audience and what problems are you solving for them?
  • What are the benefits you can offer this audience and what kinds of words best describe these?
  • List your five largest competitors and then list how you differ from them Now that you have those answers you should have created a list of at least 7-10 names you think might work.

Can you pronounce them easily? Are they easy to spell and understand? How do they look written out?

The Best Laid Plans
Of course, you can do all of these things and still find that your name doesn't say quite what you intended. That is where it is always a good idea to try out several options on friends and neighbors first. A good example of this is right here at EzPSA. We knew what we wanted to say with our name. It is as easy as could be to use our Professional Services Automation software. But then we heard recently that PSA has another meaning (or three!). It was pointed out that a PSA is also a "prostate-specific antigen" test that any man over 40 should have on a regular basis to test for prostate cancer. As you can imagine, having an "easy" PSA test is probably an oxymoron in medicine. A quick check in Google shows that a PSA is also

  • A "professional sports Authenticator" in the world of sports card collecting
  • A "provincial specialist association" in Canada, such as for teachers
  • A "property sports association" such as the PSA World Cup for Soccer
  • A professional association called the "Photographic Society of America"

Of course, I don't really think that our own software company EzPSA will be confused with any of these organizations, but it never hurts to check these things out first! So take some time when planning that new product name or company. As your business grows, that name will grow with you. While you want to take these ideas into consideration, don't let that stop you from moving forward and finding the best possible name for your new venture.

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