The other week, a lovely-looking café opened down the street from us. Now, nice cafes have a great chance to be creative: they’re a hub of happy things such as meeting friends, having a chat and eating cake. Cafes, whether cosy and homely, or hang-outs for hipsters, have a great chance to create an evocative name.
So what did the café down the road call itself? Simply the numbers from its street address. It could have been ‘The Teapot Café’. Or ‘The Modern Barista’. How much do these names say?! Instead, we get ‘246’ (not their real name; just change the numbers and you get the idea). Of course, it means that you can perhaps find them easily. But when did you last look at the numbers on a high street’s facades? Don’t most people say, “let’s meet in that new café opposite Pizza Express?”.
Now, you could argue that names don’t matter.
It hasn’t hurt Kleenex to have an unattractive name. Or Bentley to have a boring one. Or Rimmel. Or any of the products in Ikea. But these organisations have multi-million pound advertising budgets, so they can create strong brands with evocative personalities. We smaller businesses don’t have that luxury. So quite often, your business name or brand name is one of the few marketing bits and pieces you have in your armoury. And that means it has to work really hard.
What's in a name?
Which does your heart lean towards? ‘Richard’s Removals’ or ‘Richard’s Reliable Removals’? ‘Brown’s Packaging’ or ‘Handy Packs’? ‘West Coast Holidays’ or ‘California Dreamin’? ‘246’ or ‘The Teapot Café’?
In the absence of a big marketing budget, your name could be your first chance to trigger something in your target customer. An emotion, humour, a pique of interest. It seems a shame to miss that opportunity.
And that’s why my husband’s business isn’t called ‘Geoff Steen Photography’. Boring!
By all means, use a family name if it conveys something important: reassurance, status, craftsmanship, familiarity, heritage, cuteness. Otherwise, take the time to think of something that communicates what your target audience wants to hear.
How about ‘Snap-on’ for a tool supplier (sounds easy), ‘Twitter’ for a social media site (sounds fun), ‘Secret Escapes’ for a holiday company (sounds special), ‘Virago’ for a publisher of women’s fiction (sounds strong), ‘Land Rover’ for an off-road vehicle (sounds dynamic), ‘Clinique’ for a sciencey skincare range (sounds, well, sciencey but elegant too)?
Now, of course you have to consider whether there’s a suitable web address available for your beautiful, evocative name. And it should also help communicate what you do. But do have a really good think about what you want to convey and try to come up with something that says it. Easier said than done, I know!
For help with getting your branding into shape, take a look at my Brand Building Workshop.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please just let me know.
Posted by: Jane