Business Names, Brand Names and The New Business Order

Not so long ago, it was possible to create a successful business simply by doing a good job or fulfilling upon an unmet need. Not so easy today, when most companies have been reduced to commodity status and most categories are rife with parity offerings. But hanging onto old school thinking is what costs companies fortunes and keeps start-ups and entrepreneurs from actualizing on their potential.

When competing marketplace forces are underestimated (“Not just the actual competition,” he cried, “the status quo and an endless sea of marketing messages directly compete with you, too!”)… when customer time and interest is taken for granted… when me-centric communications reign supreme, with marketing communications hosting sales monologues instead of two-way dialogues… where high-end, killer creative is seen as a discretionary expenditure and not a communications constant… all of this retards, rather than accelerates, your revenue growth and your brand impact.

But today’s sophisticated marketers, savvy entrepreneurs and brand-centric marketing directors know: if you’re in business, you’re in sales. And the highest performing salespeople of all time have always known, before persuasion, there’s pre-suasion™. This is why, when talking about my work as a brand strategist, copywriter or company namer, I always remind clients to utilize marketing at its best and most efficient: the cultivation of a positive predispostion to working with you!

But let’s forget for a moment marketing-speak words like engagement, awareness and market penetration, shall we? Second only to two things – 1) whether your business has been engineered in response to concrete, niche needs or desires, and 2) whether, from here, you’ve dug deeper to ensure your entire brand personality has been thoughtfully reverse-engineered to achieve maximum target resonance, both now and down the road — your identity elements of business name and/or brand name, logo and tag serve both you and your target audience, providing graphical and verbal mental pillars to which your overarching company values, goals, services, and products can be anchored. With a solid brand name in place, for starters, potential clients will gain a quick way to connect with your company, while employees will be keyed into the vision that defines the work they contribute. Obviously, a tagline is a great way to supplement the business name or brand name, providing customers, employees, and all other brand audience members even further insight into what makes you tick and what they can emotionally expect from you… and only from you!

If Company Naming Is Critical, So Is The Process

With the power to differentiate your offerings and create differentiated marketplace fervor like nothing else in your marketing and sales arsenal, it’s frightening to see so many businesses approach such a defining moment in such a haphazard, cross-it-off-the-to-do-list manner. Perhaps it is because company names can appear to be so entirely subjective, with their revenue and brand impact so difficult to quantify, that they so often get overlooked in sales and business development meetings. It’s true. Company names, product names and service names can be somewhat subjective arts. But just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it isn’t exerting a major influence or that its idiosyncrasies preclude mastery. In fact, it probably means there’s even more reason to rely on experience and proven creative talent.

Naturally, in small business settings, another reason why the staggering importance of company names, service names and product names gets overlooked is the significant investment involved of both time and money.

Your CEO may not like it. Your own pocketbook may argue with you. But a great company name costs real dollars and requires time for planning, buy-in, creative development and thoughtful consideration… just like the space you leased and the equipment you bought. But here, the real estate we’re talking about pertains to that specific, critical, leverage-able piece of your targets’ minds you want to own, for now and forever. Moreover, if you approach the process from a strategic marketing perspective, what you learn about your own positioning in the company naming process itself will exert an even greater value on all of your future marketing and business planning initiatives.