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I’m going to tell you how to do something that is not always easy. If you do use this information however you will be building enormous wealth creating potential into your business.
To start, your business name is very important. If you have an existing business or website, you may be restricted in how you can rename or rebrand it, but if you are thinking of launching a new business the following is must-know information for you.
What’s In A Name?
Coming up with a name for your business can be a challenge—especially when you need to match the name-branding to a domain you can get. If you’re promoting a website and trying to do any kind of branding you should not consider using anything other than a .COM.
The problem with domain types other than dot-coms is that, in general, people are going to go to the dot-com first. They won’t remember that you’re the other “Flowers To Go” —they’ll just go to your competitor’s website. Basically, if you don’t get the dot-com you’ll be driving traffic to your competitor on your dime.
You might want to call your flower store “Flowers To Go” but if you tried to get the dot-com you’d be paying through the nose for it if it were even for sale.
What’s the SOLUTION then?
Well, you need to be a little creative to get an available .COM nobody else is squatting on and only willing to sell for a fortune. You’ll have to find a way to make an available .COM memorable.
The store name doesn’t have to be identical to the URL but there should be a memorable and sense-making connection between them. If you think in terms of how you can connect the two at the beginning you’ll be much better off in the end.
Don’t Get Cute
In terms of coming up with a name for the business, going cute is usually a dumb idea. Lots of pet grooming businesses, nail salons, and hair studios have stupid-cute names, but I challenge you to find any business with a cutesy name that’s really grown. ‘Nuff said.
1st Criteria: Telling What Your Business Is In The Name
A lot of business names gratify the ego of the founder/owner. That’s fine if that person’s name on the business is an asset because he or she is already well-known, but in most cases the public won’t know or care who you are or what your personal name is. They only want to know, “what’s in it for me (to pay any attention at all to you)?”
That’s right! Not a single one of your prospects or customers gives a rat’s rump about you! They only care what you will do for them!
This classic rule of advertising (the WIIFM rule or “what’s in it for me?”) is even more important today. Due to copious media exposure and sensory stimulation, people have learned to instantly seek ways to categorize and pigeon-hole new resources. If they can’t easily figure out where your business fits in their lives, they’ll delete it from their memories. Thus the business name you choose should ideally tell what your business does. This is not the only approach to naming a business but probably the best. The more instantly graspable what your business does for customers from its name is the better.
Examples of of business names that tell what we need to know
- International Business Machines (IMB)
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Burger King
The Mind-Control Trick That Makes Your Business Instantly Memorable
Madison Avenue agencies know a thing or two about mind control. They don’t always do it well, but the most inspired and effective advertising in the world usually has mind control working in it.
Mind control in marketing is actually not voodoo and I wouldn’t even call it unethical, it’s merely a way of making your advertising more effective and memorable.
One of the most powerful ways to brand your business is with a strapline. A strapline is more than a slogan. Ideally it contains a customer-benefit oriented statement specific to your brand. When the strapline is powerfully memorable, conveys a strong benefit to the customer, and has the business name, URL, or phone number completely integrated, it functions as a powerful competitive advantage for your business.
This was done well by the 1-800-flowers people. I don’t even know if it qualifies as a proper strapline but it delivers a powerful marketing message: that all you have to do it pick up the phone and dial this toll-free, easy to remember number and you can get flowers over the phone. I don’t even remember the proper strapline, if there was one, but I know the number because that’s all I need to remember. Killer.
Don’t Make This Dumb Mistake and Subsidize Your Competitors’ Advertising—At Your Expense!
The strapline was botched by the “Say it With Flowers” people because they failed to tie the memorable phrase to their brand (FTD). Effectively this slogan advertised the whole flower/flower delivery industry. That would be fine if every company in the industry footed a share of the bill.
“Say it With Flowers” is a brand-advertising fail as an audible slogan because effectively they were advertising for their competition by promoting the idea of buying flowers, not the idea of buying from FTD. Whether it works better in print I don’t know. I do know I had to look it up to remember what company uses that slogan and I’ve heard and seen the ads hundreds of times.
How To Tell The Difference Between Slogan and A Mnenonic Strapline That Also Meets the 1st Criteria
Here’s a bunch of straplines, some of which contain mnenonics. Look through them and notice how many fail to embed the actual name (or URL) in the strapline. Some of the straplines still worked due to massive ad-spend and cleverness, but imagine how much better some of them would have been if the specific name of the business was embedded in the strapline.
You’ll notice as you browse through those slogans that not many of them actually contain the brand name in the strapline itself. By far the best way to create your strapline is to have your brand or domain name actually attached to it in an integrated way, so the strapline doesn’t sound right without your business or domain name in it.
How To Create Your Most Powerful Strapline
One of the most powerful ways to brand your business is with a mnemonic strapline. This is more than a slogan. A mnemonic is usually a verbal twist, a little poem or catchy turn of phrase that makes the whole phrase more memorable. Musical mnemonics are what make songs so memorable. A musical mnemonic strapline is impractical unless you have the budget to run TV and radio ads, but even without music a mnemonic makes a strapline instantly more memorable.
Remember the Roto-Rooter jingle?
“Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name, and away go troubles down the drain.”
The jingle is annoying, but brilliant and memorable because the name of the business is locked into the jingle in such a way that it would be impossible to not remember the name correctly. The Roto-Rooter jingle contains multiple mnemonic devices. First, the business name itself is an alliterative mnemonic. That means each word starts with the same sound. The tune itself is memorable, plus “down” and “drain” are alliterative. The jingle also has a sneaky embedded command to “call” and at the end the jingle tells what result the customer will get: “troubles down the drain.”
Is that powerful or what?
The best strapline may contain alliteration, rhyming, or perhaps a clever mental image that locks the strapline to your business name. The mnemonic is the device that makes the strapline memorable. The entire strapline may not be a mnemonic device, but if it is not the name, URL, or phone number When the person remembers the strapline, they remember your business name, phone number, or URL.
Furthermore, it’s best if you can build one or more powerful memes into the strapline which function to make it more memorable and effective. Memes are a fascinating concept and can be used powerfully in advertising and in fact many advertising writers use them without knowing it. Using memes intentionally to lock advertising into the public mind is very advanced advertising stuff and there are not many sources which tell how to do it well, but your most useful tools are your own brain and your skill at using it to invent ideas.
Today I won’t write about memes, because it’s a deep topic I’ll write about later. For now I’ve given you some good material to work with in naming and promoting your business. Go put this new knowledge to work right away while it’s fresh in your mind.
Perhaps you’d like to join in a discussion by commenting below or asking questions. Please do.
The post author, Loren Woirhaye writes sales copy and creates marketing systems for business clients who want to slash customer acquisition costs and position their businesses For 20%-30% sales growth in the next 12-18 months. He writes regularly about marketing and life at his Entrepreneur Blog.