What’s in a Name?

You know the scene from Rome & Juliet where they discuss names? If not, let me refresh your memory.
So Juliet goes to Romeo- “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
She makes him think and wonder… She basically just told her lover that names don’t mean a thing and that she still loves him no matter what his name is. Now, this may not have absolute truth when it comes to business. It’s no wonder these two love birds didn’t last! Just kidding, but a name really can say it all. It can mark the success of a business as well as the non success.
What I’m talking about is naming your business. Many new business owners struggle with this part of establishing their businesses. And many rename their businesses several times because of this. Some believe a made up word leaves a mark- think Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pintrest. All proven to be successful. But imagine those made up names to be used on say a grocery store- it may not be as successful. Unless of course, the marketing of that business is strong.
There are different business name types: Made up (ex. Instagram), Informational (ex. The Fruit Market), and Creative (Nike) (names that are made for branding and creating an image).
I personally believe, a business name should be catchy and memorable. For example, this blog is titled, JerseyFashionista. That didn’t happen overnight and the thought has crossed my mind many times on wether or not to change it. But every time I attend an event and meet someone new, I see their reaction at my card and they complement the name. It is also easy to remember. Where it came from? Well, trying out life in the sunny Florida state for almost a year made me realize what a true Jersey girl I was and I had to return home. I refused to pump gas and dearly missed being close to the city. And all of my friends would call me a fashionista from a very young age so that’s where the combination came from. Pretty simple. The name is not too long, easy to remember and off the bat you can tell it has to do with fashion. My only reason for considering a name change however, is the fear of the word “jersey” holding me back from other opportunities. But we will cross that road when we get there..
Another common error business owners make is naming their business something people cannot pronounce or understand. Ever go into certain communities and see businesses with names in other languages? For example an Asian or Spanish or Russian name anyone outside of that culture cannot even say. That will work in an environment where there is a community of a certain culture but if you want a business that will grow outside of that and even expand, this is a terrible mistake. Sure, we all know (well, fashionistas anyway) names like Dolce & Gabana or Yves Saint Laurent but that’s a totally different story my friends. My point- want to reach a greater audience, have higher end clients and be nationally known? Don’t butcher your brand with a name like that. Unless of course, as I mentioned before- you have a big marketing budget to make it work.
Choose a name that works for your ideal clientele, not just yourself. Forget about your personal name, your favorite color or person- if it has nothing to do with your business, brand or image- scratch it! People use their full names- why? Can you sell your business? Franchise it? Motivate employees to represent your brand? How long does it take you to say “thanks for calling Bartholomew Jacob Johnson and Sons LLC, how can I help you?”
People also use their pet’s names- “Fifi’s Donuts, can I help you?” Oh! Are you Fifi? No, that’s my dog. Imagine how many people will call you Fifi. Instead why not make Fifi your brand’s mascot? Are your wheels turning yet? I hope so 😉
When you finally get your name ideas, come up with a list of at least three to five options and start testing. Create a survey and have your friends, family and even better- strangers of your target market take it. Listen to them closely, take notes. And then, take your pick and start creating your brand.

So, to wrap this post up, here are my 3 tips for naming your new business:

1. Keep it short and simple.
2. Make it memorable, catchy even. Easy to say and understand.
3. If it’s creative or made up- make sure you have one hell of a marketing plan.

Let’s test your knowledge now…

Let’s say I am opening up a clothing store for kids. It’s got chic and cool clothing for kids. I name this store Fun & Unique Kids Clothing & Toys Store. Is this a good name?
Or what if I named it Maximus Prime after my favorite Transformer? Or wait- how about I just make up a name like- LiTo which stands for half my daughter’s first and last names? 255 like the number of the store? Or what about the name, Kids Fashions? I also like the name, Le Chic Boutique. And then there’s All that Glitters. Which do you think will work? Why and why not?

I want you to comment below. I will be updating this post on Friday to let you know my answers 🙂