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What's The Aim of Your Name?

Aug 17, 2007
Large corporations spend lavish amounts seeking names for their products that grab a consumer, or convey positive feelings. Book authors do the same. As do magazine writers.

So, say you are planning something that needs a name: your new company, a speech, an article, your website, your email address.

STOP! Stop, and think.

Don't go with the first thing that hits you. Think about the aim of this endeavor. What are you trying to convey to those who will see or hear it?

Joe Black, for example, has been selling life insurance for years, is now planning to incorporate, and needs a name for his new company. He likes the ring of Consolidated Advisors & Financial Associates Inc.---CAFAI for short.

Whoa, Joe!

What's the aim of the name? Is it to impress people with a long, unwieldy, impersonal, remote-sounding phrase? Or is it to convey the same reliable, personal service that Joe Black is already known for?

The answer is obvious, Joe. Incorporate under your own name. Joe Black, Inc. has the benefits of continuity, credibility, recognition, reliability, and stability---none of which attach to CAFAI.

A speech is different. Speeches, and articles, need names that grab people. Unless you're a famous person, or talking about a famous person, enterprise, or event, you need some other way to attract their attention.

And all you've got to work with is the title. So look over what you've written, and write down all the different titles you can think of for your work.

As you look at each of them over, ask yourself if you'd go to a talk with that title. If not, cross it out. Now try to shorten the ones that are left. The fewer words the better.

Do any of them have a bit of mystery, or wit, or maybe an interesting play on words?

Need some stimulus? Go to the library. Fiction. Mysteries. Look over the titles. Which ones stir you to pull them out, and scan a few pages? Why?

Can you see anything in their titles that you might use in your speech or article title?

A speech or article is a transitory thing, so needn't take too much of your time. But you'll be stuck with the name of your company for quite a while, so devote much more time to getting it right.

Your website, and email address are in between. Not as temporary as a speech or article, but probably not as long-lived as your corporation.

The aim of these names is to reinforce your company's image, and remind people of your business identity.

So Joe Black's web site could be named joeblack.com, or, if he wanted something wittier, BlackInk.com, and his email address could be joe@blackink.com.

Joe, like most of us, has other interests than his business. He's a birdwatcher, and is planning an online newsletter and website for others with this hobby who already know him.

A good name for his ezine could be Black Birds, and for his website www.blackbirds.com, then his e-address for it could be joe@blackbirds.com.

Sometimes you can't make such an apt connection. For example, when my ezine, which focuses on the marketing of financial services, was created it needed a name. I liked the acronym "TIP". But what could name I expand it into?

Here's a few that came to mind:

* The Insurance Practitioner
* The Intelligent Planner
* The Insightful Provider
* The Interested Ponderer
* The Insurance Professional
* The Incorporated Practice, etc.

To say nothing of all the variations that can be rung by switching the adjectives around.

See what I finally decided on at: http://www.lifesites.org

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Copyright 2005, Donald F. Pooley, Inc.
About the Author
Don Pooley has shared his marketing know-how with audiences in major Canadian cities, London, Australia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and now in his free ezine, TIP. Subscribe at http://www.eTIP.ca/
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