What’s Your Name?

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As marketers we’re taught that not only is your word your bond but your name is your reputation. Many social media marketers use their full name as their business entity as well based upon the knowledge that social media marketing is about building relationships in efforts to grow a business through exposure, relationship and reputation. We’re also taught that the name of your business should reflect who you are and what you do quickly and easily to those who come across it. After all you only have a few seconds to capture someone attention for that first impression before they move on the next.

Recently, my husband and I were enjoying some time with friends and got on the subject of names. We had shared with our friends that in our work settings both my husband and I somehow over the years adopted the nickname of Woz (short for Wozniak) and would often hear folks jokingly say, “The wonderful wizard of Woz”. We laughed at how each of us in two completely different fields of work had somehow adopted the same nickname with the same goofy catchphrase.

When I made the decision to go into business for myself my original thought as a business name was Social Exposure Business Marketing. Perfect, I thought. It describes what I want to accomplish; helping businesses increase their exposure through social media marketing. What I quickly found out was that the name was way too long and not at all easily remembered.

In an effort to resolve this challenge I started to chat with family and friends about different names. Almost by accident, I mentioned in passing to my brother the story my husband and I had shared with friends. “That’s it!” he said in triumph, “That’s the name of your business. Think about it, you’ve been carrying this nickname around for years and it describes you as a helpful problem solver to others.”

So, I slept on it and let it marinate in my brain for a few days while I did some research. What I found helped confirm that a change in name for my business was not only possible but smart. There are actually a few smart reasons for changing the name of your business.

If a company’s name is no longer accurate or misleading, this could prompt a name change. For example, CompUSA has long since been branded as a computer company when computers were a hot ticket item. However, the issue with product identified brand names is that they are only as relevant as the life of the product’s cycle. If this brand is no longer relevant in the market than neither is your name.

If your business’s name is too descriptive or literal or even too generic, that can also be a problem. For example if your business’s name is Restaurant Wholesale Supply, but you’ve branched out into retail, that’s a whole segment of your demographic that you will lose as your company grows and branches out. The name does not translate with your growth.

Using your full name can also pose as a struggle when thinking about long term growth. For example, what happens if down the road you decide to sell your business? Will the new owner want to adopt the same last name? If not, how much of the business translate in the new ownership process, it will often lead to a whole lot of explaining and rebranding efforts at best and a loss of clientele at worse. What if you want to pass it down to a family member with a different last name? Will you experience the same sort of issues? What about adopting partners down the road? How problematic will it be to add another last name to your business? Well a lot of it is going to depend on the reputation of the last name added. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do business with a company named Wozniak & Hitler. It wouldn’t matter that your business partner had anything to do with the Hitler family or not. From a branding perspective it carries negativity in the name.

Ultimately, I decided to go for a name change from Social Exposure Business Marketing to Woz Marketing. This will not only incorporate a nickname that I grew to be identified by over the years but also incorporates who I am and what I do. No matter how well my business grows (And let’s face it, I have tremendous aspirations) marketing will always be my first love. Whether it’s social media, consulting, branding or advertising, this is who I am. It also has a lot of branding opportunities that will stand the test of time.

I’m excited about these changes that will grow right along with me and invite you all to be part of this wonderful roller coaster ride and leave you today with something to consider. What’s in your business’s name?

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