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Why Business Names Matter 

by Marcia Yudkin, Head Stork, Named At Last

In the November 2005 issue of Inc. magazine, Norm Brodsky wrote: "Your company's name plays little, if any, role in determining your success." 

I agree completely that a company with a bad or mediocre name can reach success. However, here are 10 reasons why coming up with a snappy, interesting and memorable name is worth the business owner's or organization's time and energy.

1. When you call or speak with strangers and mention the name of your company, and the name in and of itself provokes delighted recognition, this can get the business relationship off on a positive footing.

2. A distinctive name can attract the kind of customers you want and keep away those you don't want. For instance, if you can't stand dealing with those who have no sense of humor, a punny name repels such folks. Au contraire, if you want people to know you're serious and weighty, a shrewdly chosen traditional name can impress people accordingly.

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3. Cool company names can in and of themselves generate media coverage, either because there's something newsworthy in the name or because many journalists are more attracted to highlight companies with fun names than boring ones. Case in point: Rent-a-Wreck.

4. A distinctive name increases repeat business because it helps previous customers remember it when looking at a list of possibles in the Yellow Pages or elsewhere. For instance, House Husband would jump out of a list of competitors like A-1 Handyman, Acme Home Repair, etc.

5. A wisely chosen name is simple to spell and leads to one and only one possible URL. This enables more people who have heard about a company to find it online.

6. A well-chosen name can embody the #1 benefit you offer customers and make it possible to get across an appealing marketing message in less space.

7. A hastily chosen name can lead to legal troubles or bad PR, both adding needless expenses and needlessly alienating customers. Just ask my friend Andy, who had to change his business name not once but twice in three months because he hadn't done his homework on the name. And just ask the shoe company in the UK that named some new sneakers "Zyklon," which was the name of the gas the Nazis used to kill millions during World War Two.

8. If customers need to find you in the Yellow Pages, a name that's near the beginning of the alphabet makes it easier for them and may make it less crucial to have a huge, expensive display ad.

9. A boring name contains no sparks for getting started on persuasive descriptions of your company's products or services, while a creative name makes it easy to riff off it with inspired marketing copy. 

10. The name affects how people who work for the business feel about it. A company name they love to say and that customers respond to positively makes for a more pleasant working environment than does a name that is confusing, hard to pronounce or has some negative connotations.

Stuck on thinking up or choosing your new company or product name?  Get help generating a snappy business name or powerful product name.

Copyright 2006 Marcia Yudkin.  No reprinting or republishing without written permission.

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