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Thread: Your opinions on business names? [Poll - please help!]

  1. #1
    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Question Your opinions on business names? [Poll - please help!]

    Hi all,

    Please could you help me out a little - just conducting a quick survey. If you could answer the following questions for me I'd be most appreciative.

    1. Do you ever consider the name of a business in a typical buying decision or do you feel like it impacts your mindset?

    - Yes
    - No
    - Only if it's an absurd name
    - Only if prompted (by somebody/something else)

    Please also indicate if you are a business owner/marketer or not.

    2. What do you consider the characteristics of a good business name to be?

    3. Business Owners only: How long did you spend coming up with your primary business/brand name?

    Just doing a quick bit of research for an article I'm writing. Looking forward to the responses!
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    1. I don't like absurd or out of context names becuase it shows that the management are either stupid, childish or wise-asses.
    2. Difficult one, we become used to strange names but on the whole I would say that the name has to be in context in some way.
    3. I think the best ones are the ones that just pop into your head out of the blue, but that said, one still has to evaluate the idea very carefully, you may think that it is brilliant but the rest of the world may think its stupid.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    I suppose it depends on the type of business you are dealing with. I always wonder how "XYZ Cleaning Services" can get a tender to build low cost houses. Or how "Bobby's Stationers" can supply the mines with heavy duty tyres. How does a catering business get to supply tarpaulins to Transnet? (*All fictitious names)

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    One of the most famous copy/print chains was called Kinkos. So sometimes ridiculous names work.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Mark Atkinson (04-Mar-13)

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    To me the name should be indicative of the business. In that way I can remember the name when I need the services. Having a name that is meaningless gets forgotten in my head, unless it is an absurd name that if I wanted to do business with, would try and remember.
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    Mark Atkinson (04-Mar-13)

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies so far guys.

    To those of you have replied, could you indicate roughly how long you spent coming up with your business/brand name?

    So far the trend I'm seeing across all my research is that:

    - Most people only consider a business name if it's absurd/offensive/blasphemous
    - Most people feel that a business name should relate to the product/service offered by that business.

    Other than that, the general consensus seems to be that it doesn't really matter what the name is as your business is defined by the strength of your service and marketing message.

    My personal opinion is that a name is actually just a vehicle for your brand and I don't feel like it impacts buying decisions unless it is offensive. I'm not even sure that it needs to relate to your product/service.

    Consider two examples:

    Wakaberry - These guys have a seemingly ridiculous name. It has nothing (that I know of) to do with frozen Yoghurt. They have, however, built an extremely successful brand because their product was unique, interesting and they offered people all the facilities to easily share their product. I can't count the number of times I've head people ask "What's Wakaberry?" after seeing a Facebook status update/tweet about them, or the number of pictures of Wakaberries I've seen posted to social networks. They've managed to create intrigue and interest through a seemingly absurd/abstract name.

    Disney - Founded and named after Walt Disney. Disney is an internationally renowned brand. I often wonder whether people ever consider the fact that Disney is named after the man? I'm not sure how much thought Mr Walt Disney put into the name of Disney, but he obviously figured his name was good enough to be the vehicle for his brand. It didn't really have anything to do with movies and animation, does it? But it does now.

    Any further thoughts on this?
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    Silver Member Darkangelyaya's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,
    I think the issue of relevance or importance of the company name depends on the line of business you are in.
    For instance, my main cc is called Titania Creations, and this was inspired by Titania, Queen of the fairies, in A Midsummer Night's Dream - she had the power to control the weather through her moods. (This served as a great inspiration to me, especially in the beginning when I started out on my own, with nothing, after an abusive marriage ended). I interpreted it as the power to control your external circumstances through your inner focus. It worked very well when I was in the creative line of designing decorative garden products.
    But then I moved into the Tree Felling business, and because it is a male dominated business, people assumed that I could not do the job a) Because I am a woman, and b) Because of my airy fairy business name. (they still assume (a), sometimes, especially when they don't know me...)
    I started trading under Titan Tree Felling, and it worked like a charm, on the East Rand, Bedfordview, and those areas. (Titan is a strong, masculine name)
    When I started doing more work in Sandton and the more 'upmarket areas', I encountered resistance, because of the 'tree felling' part of the business name. So, apparently the buzz word there is 'Arborist' (Not that anyone in this country can study it here, mind you). I felt that it was ridiculous 'hinting' at a 'qualification' through your business name; more so because I have a Post-Graduate Agricultural Degree. And I am my business, no-one else.
    So I now settled on trading under 'Titan Tree Specialists' in those areas, and that makes those clients feel (apparently) more secure.
    People are fickle, what can I say?
    (i spent about a week coming up with Titania Creations)
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkangelyaya View Post
    When I started doing more work in Sandton and the more 'upmarket areas', I encountered resistance, because of the 'tree felling' part of the business name. So, apparently the buzz word there is 'Arborist' (Not that anyone in this country can study it here, mind you). I felt that it was ridiculous 'hinting' at a 'qualification' through your business name; more so because I have a Post-Graduate Agricultural Degree. And I am my business, no-one else.
    So I now settled on trading under 'Titan Tree Specialists' in those areas, and that makes those clients feel (apparently) more secure.
    I've also heard the term "tree surgeon" bandied around...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Atkinson View Post
    My personal opinion is that a name is actually just a vehicle for your brand and I don't feel like it impacts buying decisions unless it is offensive. I'm not even sure that it needs to relate to your product/service.
    But a well built brand will be related to its products/services, as well as all the USP's the brand has aimed to associate itself with.

    What the discussion so far has given me as food for thought is not so much where we are now, but where we might be headed. Search is becoming an ever-increasing influence in marketing strategy - and one thing that search does is reduce all products and services to commodities - because that is how we search.

    We're heading towards a world where you won't be able to choose the name of your industry - it'll be driven by what people are searching for.

    And then, in a few short phrases you're going to have to differentiate yourself...



    I wouldn't underestimate the influence of the business name at an emotional level, both now or ever. There will always be some sort of emotive nuance perceived by the beholder.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  11. #9
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    A name is in my view very important for your business. As in Darkangelyaya's case, perceptions created by the name would determine whether she would get orders or not.

    In leisure, holiday and less "formal" type of businesses one does not want to see a stuffy name and guys in suits. In business and financial services, legal, medical and more "serious professions one would expect a more formal approach. You could therefore play around with funky names when advertising fun tours, but an attorney or medical doctor will have to be more serious and would most likely use their own names for their business practice.

    For my businesses I tried to explain exactly what we do in the name. E.g. TrelliDoor is descriptive and tells you exactly what the company stands for. XYZ Business Consulting or XYZ Funding Solutions will likewise tell you what the company does and eliminate any confusion.

    In manufacturing, Dunlop Tyres or Caterpillar tells you exactly what they do. Once a brand has been established, Froggie Shoes just becomes Froggie. Apple Computers becomes Apple and Nike don't have to tell you what they manufacture.

    I had a hard time establishing my first company name as it supposedly encroached on JP Morgan. CIPRO then made a mistake on approving a name that already existed and agreed to fast track a 3rd name. The fast tracking took 9, yes nine months!

    I was told that the name for the second business would never be approved as it is generic. I insisted and was surprised when it was approved before 10 am the following day!
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  12. #10
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Fixa, 4U, Specialists, Guys, (Gals), Surgeon, Doctor, Xpert and Services are all names you add your type of business to also add the area you work in so someon in Bloem would be "Bloem Welding Services" or in Lenasia would be "Lenasia Garden Xperts" or "Pretoria Cupboard Guy" etc.
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