Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marketing your business starts with a Marketable Name

Every organization in the world goes by one name or another. Now, you can call your company "AAA Tax Services" and still be able to market you company’s name; however, the majority of your marketing plan will be based on phone book advertising and promotional calendars. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Many companies do well by doing just that, but when it comes time to expand your business and market it creatively, you'll already be limited by your company's name.
For the past 15 years I've used the name PC Graffix whenever I was marketing myself for freelance graphic design work.  I thought it was clever. "PC" stood for the letters of my initials, as well as for personal computer (no, it does not stand for a Windows based computer). And "Graffix" as in graphics but with the subliminal "fix," to convey that I could fix my potential clients’ advertising needs.

As clever as I thought the name was, I kept thinking that it was too limiting. Of course potential clients would know that I was a graphic designer, but would they make the connection to website design? What about laying out entire books? Yes, this was a long time ago and the public has come a long way in understanding the capabilities of a graphics designer. However, I was never completely convinced that I had chosen the proper name for myself, but I stuck with it because I had an emotional connection to it.

Often, choosing a company's name is based on emotional attachments, especially for small businesses. A friend of mine once told me that there should be a story behind a company's name, but I personally don't agree with this. Above all, I believe that a company's name should be memorable. No one will ever know the story behind your company’s name (besides your friends and family), if they can't remember it. At least until you make it really big and the media is beating down your door, wanting to tell your story.

Just recently I decided to “retire” PC Graffix and market myself as Brainwerx Design. The main reason for doing this is because I felt the new name was less limiting than the previous one. Just like before, I thought the name was clever but more importantly, I felt that potential clients would easily remember it. And a simple word change, from Graffix to Design, instantly broadens the ability to market the name. There was absolutely no story behind the name, no emotional attachment to it either.  All "Brainwerx" really says about me is that I'm "cerebral." It says something about my thought process when I design logos or websites. But that's not much of a "story," is it?

In my professional opinion, when it comes time to choose your own company’s name, consider how well your potential customers will be able to recall the name after just a few times of being exposed to it. Pick out a name that will broaden your marketing abilities, even if you don’t have the capability to explore every avenue from the start. It would be ideal if the name you chose for your company happens to tell your entire story, or just happens to make an emotional connection that will drive you to make your company succeed.  If it doesn’t, do not let a name hinder your business before it even starts.

Pete C.
Brainwerx Design