“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Though I doubt he meant it in that way, ol’ Bill Shakespeare may have been history’s first marketing branding guru.
His famous couplet from “Romeo and Juliet” alighted upon the truth that people respond more favorably to something when its name is pleasant or familiar. Would roses really have become the go-to bloom for romance if they were called strunkbiddles instead?
Coming up with the right title
One of the most exciting things we get to do from time to time here at Coles Marketing is help launch a new brand from the ground up – including coming up with a company name, tagline, logo, vision and mission statements, etc. We’ve done it for multi-billion-dollar international companies, hometown mom-and-pop stores and individual products and services.
It’s an exhilarating process, but also a daunting one. The key challenges are finding a company name that’s catchy, accurately describes what they’re all about, and — here’s the rub — hasn’t been taken yet.
Recently while brainstorming ideas for a new client, I came up with a name I thought was just perfect — and even better, the business owner loved it, too! But there were several hurdles we had to jump before locking it in.
What a name may cost
These obstacles included:
- Checking the proposed name against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if anyone had already filed for use of the name. No one had, so we were good.
- Searching a Web-hosting service like GoDaddy.com to find out if the preferred URL address — e.g., www.thesitename.com – was available. It was!
- Conducting a detailed Web search to see if another business was using the name.
Unfortunately, we failed this third test. Even though the other company hadn’t trademarked the name, was using a different website address and was located in another state, it was too similar in name and mission to take the risk of a lawsuit.
As the Wall Street Journal and others have noted, start-up companies often face legal troubles in selecting a moniker — from simple cease-and-desist letters from attorneys to long, protracted court cases that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is an area where you really want to be on solid ground.
With so many pleasing combinations of existing words already taken, more and more it’s become common to just invent your own word — think of Zillow.com, Twitter, Verizon, Cialis and many more. Hey, once upon a time “Google” was total gibberish, but now it’s one of the most valuable brands in the world.
Is your label one that sticks?
Martin Zwilling has some good advice over at Business Insider on coming up with a killer name for your company. It should be unique and unforgettable — “stickiness” is the trait you’re looking for — easy to say and spell, and offer some kind of clue to what goods or services you offer.
Also check out this article from Entrepreneur.com on things to avoid when naming your business or product. Among the best advice is avoiding names that tie you down to a particular geographic location, which can hurt when the company starts growing. That’s part of the reason Kentucky Fried Chicken is now just KFC.
Looking to give your brand extra “stickiness?” The Coles Marketing team can help!