What’s in a Name? Actually, a lot!

by Pamela on December 14, 2009

The Name of Your Business Says a Lot About You

I’ve been in marketing for years and I’ve always considered myself creative. When it came to choosing a name and tagline for my business, I felt a lot of pressure to be really clever. I toiled over it for a long time. I came up with some exotic names that didn’t really say what I did. I resisted having the word ‘coaching’ in my name and I don’t really know why because that’s what I do.

In my quest to find the perfect name, I was hyper aware of every word and symbol. Four years ago, I was in my favorite home décor store, Secret Haven, and I saw a beautiful scrolled key on the wall. I fell in love with the key and it inspired me to choose the name “Key Coaching.” I sat with it for awhile and it didn’t really make sense. Then I thought about what I want to achieve with my coaching. After I pondered it, I decided that the key inspired me for a reason. I want to coach people to success- to help people unlock their true potential.

Neither the name of my business, nor the tagline is original. ‘Key to Success Coaching- Unlock Your Excellence’ is not exactly creative. Had I let myself down?? For a few days I was berating myself for not being clever. Upon giving it more thought, I realized that the name of my company reflects my style of business coaching. It’s simple, to the point, no fluff. I’m proud to say that my clients like my direct style and the name and tagline of my business reflect that.

I couldn’t have known how popular keys would get. When I saw my key up on the wall at Secret Haven, they weren’t as popular as they are now. Keys are everywhere! I’ve seen them at Pottery Barn, and best of all, at Tiffany! They have a whole line of key pendants and I will have a diamond key around my neck someday. *law of attraction*

But I digress.

What do the name and tagline of your business say about you? Does it say what you do, or does it leave people guessing? Does it give your customers a sense of who you are or how you do what you do?

When you’re trying to come up with a name and tagline for your business you may want to consider the following:

  • What do I do?
  • How do I do it
  • What is my style and how do I want to convey that through my business?
  • What is my unique selling proposition?
  • Who is my target market

My advice: keep it as simple as possible. At the height of the dot com boom, I worked for a company that went through a name change and rebranding. The executives chose a name that was ‘cool’ and sounded great as a URL, but the name and tagline were ridiculous, quite frankly. They were totally inappropriate for the company’s target market. Don’t get me wrong, you can choose a name that is totally made up.

The one time consultancy arm of Arthur Andersen LLP, Accenture is a nonsensical word, that came from “accent on the future,” which they came up with after they broke off from Arthur Andersen. It worked for them because they were a well-established in their industry and they had the accounting giant’s brand to attach themselves to, along with a clear tagline.

So, be clever, but be smart (there is a subtle difference). And, if you choose an obscure name, make the tagline nice and clear.

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