I have a friend who is launching her own business. As she's wrestled with names for the company, she started out very pragmatic — her last name and a descriptive word that would tell prospects what she sells.
But she's not crazy about her last name and wanted something more creative. So every new round of names became more fanciful and more creative in terms of spelling etc. She was down to a final four — none of which included the original group. Her prospects are very B-to-B minded, mostly men and very white collar.
Here's a portion of the e-mail I sent back to her when she asked my opinion.
Here’s the thing. The company’s name isn’t about you or for you. It is a business tool. And it may well be one of the most important business tools you’ll ever create. So…when it comes to naming this new baby — it’s a tough message for me to deliver, but you need to get over yourself.
You literally need to get over yourself. Crawl over your own preferences and see beyond that. To the sea of people who are milling about who might be your customers. They don’t want cute or clever. They don’t want to have to think about what your company’s name means or what you do. They want, in an instant, to know who you are, what you sell and if they might want to buy some.
You do X. And Y. I know you do much more than that — but to your consumer — that’s what you do in a nutshell. And here’s the rub. They’re going to think about you for about 10 seconds….so all you can serve them is the nutshell. If they don’t get it or can’t figure it out or it feels too anything…they’ll walk away.
I know you want to be creative. And clever. But you save that energy for your clients. A business name in the B-to-B space is not the time for subtle or inside baseball language. Cut to the chase. Tell them what you do in no uncertain terms and without cutesy spelling (like Kwik for Quick).
If you want to be more creative in your logo and build in some subtle messaging — have at it. Or in your website’s copy or even in how you package your proposals. But your business name is foundational and should be steady, solid and clear. Even if you don’t like it.
How’s that for tough love?
What do you think? Good advice? Bad?