by Tony Vidler
Where do you start when it is time to get a makeover for your business?
Perhaps because the makeover is seen as a branding, or re-branding, exercise many start by focusing on the brand colours or logo. They are definitely important, as the imagery and visual aspects of your business are critical first impressions for prospective customers, however they are not the best starting point.
The starting point should be the name of the business. The name is the core of the identity you are trying to create and make memorable. The colours, logo’s, slogans and everything else should be helping make the name memorable and give it meaning and positioning.
Before you worry about whether the logo needs changing, or whether the business brand colours need freshening up, have a look at the name and work out whether that needs a makeover first.
The 3 ideal objectives for the name of a professional services firm are:
1. It is easy to remember
2. It resonates with a particular audience
3. It tells people what you do
Many professional firms are set up as a variation of the owners name, such as “Bill Smith & Asociates” or “Smith Financial Services“. There is nothing inherently wrong with naming a firm after a person as many great brands have been built around a personal name. In general terms very few of us struggle to remember the names of people we do business with, but if we haven’t done business with them already it is not necessarily a memorable brand name.
So the problems with this approach is that it may not be memorable to prospective customers, and it is highly unlikely to stand out in any special way to a segment of the market, or let the market as a whole know what it is that Bill Smith and his associates can do. From a branding perspective this is less than ideal, though it can (and does) work to a degree with a familiar audience.
Stronger branding might be “Australian Pension Transfers” for example, as it achieves the ideal naming outcomes. It indicates immediately what service is being provided, and resonates with a market segment – those interested in transferring pensions to or from Australia will be highly likely to check the services of this firm. Because of that, it becomes memorable to those you want it to be memorable to. That is close to ideal naming for a business brand.
Then it makes sense to consider logo design….and brand colours….and how the overall brand is going to be marketed.
When you begin thinking about a makeover, have a good look and think about the business name to begin with.