Problem #1 – a safe and forgettable name – huge future pitfalls and lasting brand weakness result from names that are easy to love initially and easy to forget or have confused with lots of other similar names. Go to Chicago and see how many things are “named” with “windy city” – or Denver look for things called “mile high,” or Seattle with “evergreen,” or “cascade.” These are logic and easy-to-understand, and wrong for almost every business.
Problem #2 – you need a core name that is short and can be used as shorthand - Your “name” is your name – not the core word plus all the other language or business descriptors you surround it with. No human wants to remember a long name and will not, no matter how much you try and invest, use a full spelled out name when they can truncate it.
Problem #3 – random letters are not a name - Which leads me to a bit of a rant – repeat, random letters are not a name. There, I said it. A set of initials that are formed from the first letter of 3+ words is not a name. You see this everywhere – a bad, long name that turns into a set of even worse random letters – e.g., Premier Plumbing Supply, already a horrid and generic name, becomes known or the owners intentionally truncate it to PPS. That, sad to say is not a name, and starts your branding off on the weakest possible foundation. It’s confusing, forces the customer or prospect to remember 4 levels of information:
First the correct set of letters in the right order – since they are random when looked at apart from the name they abbreviate;
Second they need to remember the full spelled out name they abbreviate; PPS could be any company in any business unless you know the “PS” is about “plumbing supplies”
Third they have to remember exactly what they should do – to wit - they see your clever ad on the back of a bus and since they are driving and have at least a passable aversion to breaking the law or rear-ending the Buick in front of them, they have to use their memory alone to remember what they should do. Upon arriving home (or at the next long stop light) - “What was that website address again – pps.com, or p-plumbing.com, or what?” – we can safely predict they will never find you!
And lastly if they stay with you this long, they also have to remember why they should care – yes you do plumbing stuff, but so do lots of other organizations - why are you the choice for their needs? The whole point of your brand it to make YOU and what you do THEIR ideal choice as obvious and memorable as possible.
We have a better idea – whether you are in healthcare, banking, cable - Why not just choose a name with equity for the future? One that is unique, memorable, proprietary, simple to put into a URL, and something to build on for the future? I know, I know – “But we have always been Premier Plumbing – that’s how our customers know us – what will happen to all that ‘equity’ if we change the name? Customers will make fun of us if we have some weird name!!”
Good point and well worth a visit back to this blog site for the next installment about why letters are not a name!