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The Strength in your Name

The Strength in your Name (I)

Okay, Okay … … I have written a lot of stuffs about branding and internet marketing, but I think this one should have been the very first.

Because the choice of your name is the most important branding decision you will ever make. We all know how important a person’s name is in how he/she is seen in the public sphere. If you are from the part of the world I am from – you will be aware of the belief that people’s names determine a lot about them, how they act, think and even what they will become.

Everything must be called something, everything must have a name and whatever does not have one will be described in relation to some other thing(s).

I have consulted for people who wanted to start a new company, launch a new product or just create a website for their businesses, and believe me; people have a lot of funny ideas when it comes to naming. This ‘name subject’ is so dicey that a lot of businesses, individuals and even marketing consultants get it wrong.

There are rules and there are other rules. There are some rules in naming that are dependent on other rules and there are some that you can’t compromise or you will be running your company or product with identity (name) crisis. Some marketers even argue that the issue of name is not so important as long as the product delivers superior benefits to customers.

This singular post cannot deal with all the rules or principles in naming a product or company.

Some names are much more general than others.  The less general names usually describe a subject better; for example it is better for a man that collects arms to be called the ‘Ketu Beggar’ than just ‘A Beggar’. The Ketu Beggar is more definite and narrows the man down in the general category of beggars to the one at Ketu (a location).

Don’t get the above illustration twisted; what I am trying to demonstrate is the weakness in generic (general) names. Let’s consider this classic example of the search engine giant – Google, and embark on a time travel and assume we were there when the company decided to name their company Google. What does Google mean? – Nothing, but that’s in the short term. In the long term Google as grown to be associated with the term search and can even be considered a dictionary word: people now use expressions like ‘let’s Google it’. Don’t forget we are on a time travel, what if Google adopted a name like ‘Search Master.’ This sounds like a better name because it shows the company is the best in the Search Engine industry and it looks like what people will better associate with. However, it provides a lot of branding loop-holes and competition for the company. For example, other companies can name their search engine ‘Search King’, ‘Ultimate Search’, even twist the ‘search master’ to ‘Master Search’; because in the long run all that is left is your brand name and that of your competitors.

This is not all the problem a generic name can cause, but it is safe I stop here, because I have promised myself and humanity not to make my write-ups long. You know we don’t like reading stuffs in this part of the world :D.

I will implore you to stick around as I will continue with ‘The Strength in your Name’ in subsequent sessions of this blog post.

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