In the past, you could discover a brand just by searching through the Yellow Pages. Entrepreneurs started their companies’ names with “A” or “AA” just so they’d come first in each category. Today, a company name must do more than appear first alphabetically; it must convey a powerful and memorable image. Creating a fantastic business name is a crucial step toward building and growing your brand. A memorable name connects with customers and sticks with them.
Here’s the dilemma for small business owners: hiring a pricey business-naming firm or branding company isn’t realistic. We have to figure out the perfect name for our company without the help of a big-budget advertising agency. And even if you spend a mint to develop a company name, there’s no assurance that customers will embrace it. FedEx is a terrific example of crowd-sourced branding. Founded in 1973, the goal of this powerful and respected brand was to provide a service that was needed in the pre-fax business community: overnight document delivery. Originally named Federal Express, the company was not affiliated in any way with the government. Perhaps its original intent was to suggest that it was an arm of the post office and somehow “federally” associated. This may have been its first naming error. Customers eventually found it easier to simply call it “Fed Ex.” The name stuck. In 2000, the company bowed to its customers’ higher wisdom and made the nickname the new brand name. Smart move for FedEx, which did over $42 billion in 2012 and has 300,000 employees. It’s a true success story. Do you think it would have dominated the market with a name like “AAA Shippers”?
In my lynda.com course Sales Skills Fundamentals, I show how creating customer value—and embracing your customers’ values—will be the most powerful drivers to selling. But how do you prompt someone to stop by your store, call you up, send you an email, or fill out your website contact form? The company name you create influences whether or not customers connect with you.