Who you are: the power of a great brandKenneth Nel
First impressions count.
Everyone knows that. From earliest childhood, parents, teachers, psychologists – and pretty much everyone else – repeats the message over and over.
Making a good first impression can make all the difference. And it’s not as hard as it may seem at first.
The first secret to a great brand is a great business name. This can be tricky. Most people choose their business names for an infinite range of very personal reasons.
But personal is not always professional. And choosing a business name based on words that resonate with you personally may seem logical – but it may also spell disaster for your business’ future success.
That’s why it’s so important to get it right from the outset.
Why a Bad Name is a Bad Idea
When it comes to business names, most bad names are the results of one or more of these attitudes. If you can recognize them, you can avoid them. So let’s take a look:
- Mobile: “The name isn’t the issue – they’ll recognize the icon on their desktop, after all!”
- Settling: “All the good names are taken … and people only really care about the product, after all. Besides, it doesn’t really matter.”
- Exhausted: A lot like the “settling” attitude above, the tired one says, “Honestly, I’m out of ideas. I’ll just pick the one my family and friends vote for and hope I can get a domain name for it. Maybe when we’re bigger, we can get something more “official”.
- Too personal: “But this name means so much to me. I just have to use it.”
- Misplaced priorities: “The name hardly matters. I have more important things to focus on right now!”
- Vain: “This should be easy – I’m super-creative. How hard can it be.”
- The Rut: “We’ve been brainstorming forever and we can’t pick a name. Let’s just point at the page and go with whichever one we land on.”
While it’s easy to understand these frustrations (and most of us have probably been there ourselves), none of them justifies a poor name selection. When we base our choices on names like these, this is the message potential investors – and our clients, too:
- Not self-aware: If this company made such a big mistake with their name, what else aren’t they getting right?
- No attention to detail: If they don’t care about something as important as their name, how can I trust them with my business.
- No tenacity: We get it. Choosing a name is hard. But that’s because it’s important. You have to stick to it until you get it right – like anything in business.
- Lack of creativity: Choosing the right business name takes originality and insight. It requires that you understand your business and your clients – and you can spot the connections between the two. Every aspect of business requires the same level of keen creativity, and if you don’t get it right with your business name, how will you get it right in the other things you do?
This strategy is usually not as simple as it seems. It comes down to this ugly paradox: As consumers become more aware of you, you’ll be able to raise more money, but the owner of the official variant of your domain (e.g. the DropBox.com to your GetDropBox.com) will also become increasingly aware of your growth. He or she will then hold out for a bigger payday. After all,they have nothing to lose: They know there is a slim chance that you would ever change your established name and that you will – in all likelihood – come crawling back to them.
So, what exactly makes Get[NAME].com weak in the first place? Let’s take a look:
- Inefficiency: Be prepared for lost emails, which will have been sent to the official variant of your domain name. You can imagine how destructive this could be.
- Frustration: Many customers will be annoyed when they’re unable to intuitively reach your site (they’ll be visiting [NAME].com expecting to see you).
- Annoyance: When you approach investors or fellow entrepreneurs about your company, you’ll often get nagged with, “So, how are talks going with that domain owner?” Don’t underestimate the annoyance of being continuously bugged about a problem you can’t afford to solve.
- Ineffectiveness: Your marketing campaigns will be less impactful (you will lose potential traffic) because your audience won’t fully grasp or recall your domain name like they would your actual company name. Remember: The mind looks for anchors, and that anchor will simply be your name.
Remember, as your business grows, more and more people will know your name. If – for any reason – it doesn’t live up to your business promise, you have a problem. And it’s not one that you can fix down the line.
You have to get it right, right from the start.
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