It being the time of year it is, spring cleaning is in the air, and in my case, cleaning the mildew off the deck so I trundled off to our local hardware store to find the right product to help me accomplish my important new goal.
I saw many products that promised to do the job, and I am sure all of them would have worked well to some degree or another. But which one did I choose? It was something called “30 Second Outdoor Cleaner.” Now, did I really expect that this stuff would clean my deck in a mere 30 seconds? No, of course not, but I did expect that it would be quick, easy, and effective. It was.
Why did I pick that product over all of the other ones? The name made all the difference. As Renee Zellweger famously said in Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello.”
That is the power of naming your business or product well: It has the potential to win customers over quickly.
So just how do you pick a business name? You basically have three options:
- You can pick a basic name
- You can pick an odd name, or
- You can pick a name with benefits.
Of the three, I like the last one best, and I will explain why in a moment. But let’s look at the first two options before that:
How to Name a New Business
1. The basic business name: Plenty of businesses go this route: “Smith & Sons” or “Diamond Dry Cleaners.” These are fine, if ordinary, names. But in my mind, the problem with choosing just a basic business name is that it is a lost opportunity. Indeed, when you own a small business, creating an image in the mind of the customer is no easy feat. And given that getting noticed above the din is tough these days, if your business name is not different, unique, or remarkable, it is unlikely to be remembered.
2. The strange name: Think Xerox, or Amazon.com. These names are great because they are in fact so unique, and therefore, potentially memorable. Notice I said “potentially.” The risk here is that while your odd business name may be memorable too, if you can’t afford to get people to remember it, it may just be odd. One reason we know of Amazon and Xerox is because those companies had the wherewithal to get us to remember their names. If you do not have a sizable marketing budget, picking an obscure name can be more of a curse than a blessing.
That is why the third option is often the best for the small business:
3. The name with benefits: Here, what you do is think about the brand you want to create before you ever name the business. What are the benefits your business will be offering that you want to emphasize, that you want to build your brand around? Once you know that, the next step is to come up with a few adjectives that exemplify those benefits and try adding that to the business name.
Example: Jiffy Lube, Gentle Dental, Baja Fresh, Quickee Mart. Do you see how powerful a name like that is? When you take a basic business name and add a benefit to it, you create a brand identity whenever someone hears the name.
So what I am suggesting is that in this competitive landscape, if you have the opportunity, you should not forgo the chance to name your business or product with your brand promise in mind, like, well, 30 Second Outdoor Cleaner. People buy that.