Marketing in a Social Media World: What’s in a Name

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© R Mitchell

Carrie De Simas

Editor in chief @ GoneWithTheWord

Shakespeare said: “What’s in a name?” The answer is: a lot. Especially in today’s fast-paced social media world.

Near my mother’s suburban home, I came across a business with a bold sign out front that said “Authentic Performance”. That appeared to be the name of the business. Which of course begged the question: what do they do?

The name offered no real hint. My first thought was a car dealership or repair shop. Something to make the car go faster, be sleeker, look shinier. That kind of thing. Then I saw beneath the big letters, a small caption that said: “Power Brokers”. Oh dear. They were investment people (I assume).

This is the first and perhaps most powerful marketing tool a small business or entrepreneur can have: the name. If your business name is your actual name, or family name, then that’s just it. You’re done. You’re going to cash in on the family values line and go with it. Awesome.

But if you’re coming up with any other name—including a pseudonym, then it takes real work and consideration. You want to find the one that fits just right.

What does that mean exactly? The basic requirements of a business name are as follows:

  • Easy to spell
  • Easy to remember
  • Says something about your business or values or products
  • Conveys some sense of your company tone or personality
  • Is short
  • Isn’t taken by someone else—even in close proximity

Sounds like a lot for a name, doesn’t it? It is. But it is perhaps the most precious marketing time you will ever spend. Once you choose a name, you’re essentially stuck with it. 

But for companies like the one mentioned above, the name they chose doesn’t convey any sense of the business, values, or mandates of the company. The word authentic means real, you can be a real hero or a real schmuck; and the word performance is the same—you can have a good performance, or a bad one.

One of the most successful romance novelists is Nora Roberts. Not her real name. She was born Eleanor Robertson. But it’s a long name. Which means the typeface for her name on the front of her books would be smaller. Eleanor is also one of those names that people commonly misspell. So she chose Nora Roberts.

When I was hired to come up with a name for a publishing company that launches in spring 2015 I used the above criteria and came up with: Qoz Publishing.

Why? Because Qoz is easy to remember, is short, and fits the company’s values and mandate of affecting social change which is reflected in a catchy tagline “Choose Qoz Publishing and Affect Change”.

It’s a lot of work up front to choose a good name. But just like your birth name, you will likely be stuck with it forever.

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