How important is a name

In today’s THINK PR Espresso we’re looking at names and naming in relation to startup and small business public relations and marketing – specifically URL selection, website and visual brand look and feel and PR. Thank you to Carmen Rojas for the question.

This is a slightly longer video – perhaps a lungo rather than an espresso -and is something that could be the topic for a future Google Hangout, but I hope that there is something valuable in this edition.

The name of a business, product or service is an important part of creating something new. It is often the first thing that prospects, customers, investors and the media will hear and see and you’re going to repeat it many thousands of times over the life of a business. That said, a business idea, product or service shouldn’t be defined by a name. It should be short, memorable and the URL needs to be available without too many substituted letters or numbers.

It is also important that there is a story behind the name. Some stories will be stronger than others, but you need to be able to answer the question about where the name came from. As an example, THINK DIFFERENT[LY] is partly a doff of the cap to Apple and the THINK DIFFERENT campaign that started the process of reviving the companies fortunes; it’s also a reflection of the way that I think – anybody that knows me personally will tell you that I am not a conventional thinker.

Differently is also an adverb – a doing word – which is about actually doing something – in this case thinking – differently, rather than just thinking about it. It also describes the way in which we are trying to change the PR industry and encourage entrepreneurs to think differently about public relations. The square brackets also point to by journalistic days where editors comments or corrections were often placed within square brackets – signifying a third-party, and often silent – voice.

We want to help small businesses owners and startup entrepreneurs to take charge of their PR and marketing and, in the majority of cases, talk for themselves, rather than paying an agency to be their publicist or spokesperson. We are the silent voice – the coach in the background – whispering advice and guidance – in their ears.

The look and feel needs to reflect both the name, the value proposition and the values that you want your audiences to associate with your company, product or service – but in many cases the visual look and feel will be defined more by the intended audience than by the name.

In the case of THINK DIFFERENT [LY] the website is partly a result of my desire for simplicity, partly an attempt to differentiate from the majority of PR agency websites that make many bold claims and, in my opinion, use too many words doing so. We’re also trying to make a subject that is seen as complicated and full of smoke and mirrors as clear and transparent as we can – our audience is, after all, entrepreneurs not marketers and PR people.

In many cases the logo and colour scheme will take care of itself. Ask a designer to create multiple versions of a logo so you can compare and contrast. It’s also a good idea to ask a few peers, customers and prospects what they think if you are able – better to get their feedback before you share it with the world than afterwards.

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