2013
07.23

The Names We Remember

chipotleNaming a business is often hard for those who are not creative. Practical business people often have a hard time coming up with a great or memorable business or product name.

This doesn’t always lead to failure some highly profitable and successful companies have had terrible business names. Wal-Mart, Google, Costco, Apple and CVS Caremark have still grown into huge successful enterprises despite terrible or questionable names.

On the other hand it’s hard to imagine Target’s success without the memorable or dramatic name. Part of the reason for the giant discount store’s success is its’ simple but dramatic name. A similar statement can be made about Whole Foods Market, Chipotle and Trader Joe’s all of those successful brands are partially built on memorable business names that reflect the nature of the company.

Simplicity in a Name

Having a very simple name such as Target, Google or Apple does help. Part of the reason why Target is such a good name is that it has no specific meaning. It implies nothing to the potential customer. It makes no promise but it doesn’t exclude anybody.

The problem with a simple name is that it can be easy to associate with somebody or something. Most of us associate Tide with laundry detergent even though the word has a completely different meaning. The name is that simple and memorable. A person who sees a business called the Tide Laundry would associate it with the laundry detergent even if it were a dry cleaning shop.

Names Imply Value

The best business name ideas convey some sort of value to the customer. Whole Foods Market and Apple imply that the products those companies sell are simple, natural, elegant and wholesome. Google implies that something is funky and offbeat. True Value Hardware tries to distinguish itself by saying it offers real value.

Tide of course implies a tide or surge of water that sweeps in and washes everything clean. Chipotle is dramatic but it also sounds simple and wholesome. Motorola and Nokia sound dramatic and futuristic. Target has militaristic and dramatic overtones to it that the discount store chain likes to downplay, possibly because they would drive away female customers.

Creating Memories with Names

The process of naming a business or a product is an attempt to place a stamp on a customer’s or potential customer’s memory. Ideally you want your business to be the first thing that your customers think of when they think of your good or service.

The ideal of course is Tide many people think of it when they think of laundry. It’s taken generations of advertising, marketing and the manufacture of a quality product to reach that point. Yet the dramatic name obviously helps sell the product.

The Challenge you face

The challenge that you face when you try to name a business is to create memories. That is why you need to put some real time and effort into the naming process and why you should enlist as many creative individuals as possible.

Try holding a naming contest in order to come up with a dramatic and memorable name for your business. All you need to do is give the contestants a few basic criteria such as I want a simple and bold name that my customer will remember and they’ll do the rest.

Taking the trouble to create such a name can be the best marketing move that you can make. A contest can enable you to concentrate on launching your enterprise while creative people think up the name.

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