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What’s YOUR name?


     Do you think the answer to the old question, “what’s in a name?” is “nothing!”?? 

     Whether your business name is old (Hershey) or new (Smart Car), if you don’t reassess it regularly (at least annually), odds are it needs a tweak, a facelift, a transfusion, or a lobotomy! 

     Step back from the name and ask yourself if it’s still as meaningful, insightful, engaging, and competitive as it once was.  Does it play off of or make use of positive established associations (the Prudential Rock and MacIntosh Apple)?  Does it tie itself to positive, known or established concepts (Gorilla Glue)?  Is it born of positive, known or established (even competitive) name parents (Viagra from Niagra, Hondai from Honda)?  Does it offer a double entendre experience (Cluck U Chicken)? 

     Does your business name set up a branding line, themeline, rhyming or alliterative payoff (“You’ll never bite a burger better than a BUBBA!”)?  Is the URL taken (or purchasable)?  Is it easily visualized (Friendly’s)?  Has it some unusual aspect to its meaning or appearance (The Burger King crown, the colored Google lettering)?  Does it fit with where you are and where you’re going (EZPass)?  What would it take to achieve a fit? 

     Does it need total transformation or just a slight nudge (The New York Mets from The New York Metropolitans)?  Might it be presented as a new division or department or subsidiary of the old existing name in order to gain more market relevance (MsNBC)?  Is there too much “goodwill” accumulated with the old existing name to consider a departure or could it be time for introducing “the son or daughter or brother or sister of” the old established name (“From the makers of . . .”)?

     Why are you still reading this if you have no serious doubts?  If you’re a new or small business, the kind of transition suggested is certainly simpler and less-expensive to achieve than with and old or large business.  On the other hand, old large business name transformations (ESSO to EXXON, for example) can be historic and have monumental impact if they’re executed properly. 

     I drove by Charles Brown Glass Company yesterday, and thought, had that been my name and business, I would have bitten the proverbial bullet (and probably upset my grandparents) by simply using my less formal “Charlie” to capitalize on all the icon cartoon character references out there.  Wouldn’t you enjoy telling people you worked for or delivered to or supplied or represented or bought glass from Charlie Brown?  (Maybe even hire a receptionist named Lucy and pack the glass for delivery in “Linus Blankets”?)

     I know, I know, here come the lawyers!  But it’s pretty hard to legalize someone out of using their real name even when it’s an already-famous one.  BJ’s Bar in Ocean City, Maryland, must be thrilled beyond belief that a new BJ’s merchandise buyer’s club has just opened in Southern Delaware, half an hour away, accompanied by massive regional advertising that inadvertantly urges the public to both sets of business doorsteps.  

     What’s in YOUR business name?  Does it work?  Where’s it going?  Will changing it in any way get you where you’re going quicker, more productively, more profitably?  halalpiar

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