by Tony Vidler
Where do you start when it is time to get a makeover for your business? How do you even know when to do it? Well I’d suggest “when” is driven by whether your business is growing at the rate you expect, and attracting new clients. If it isn’t achieving that, then it is time to consider changing the business name. But then where do you start?
Perhaps because the makeover is seen as a branding, or re-branding, exercise many start by focusing on the brand colours or logo. These 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 imagery should reflect the positioning and story you are trying to anchor your brand to…
…So 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
The majority of professional firms do not name their businesses with these objectives in mind….they are more often than not simply 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 however it does miss the opportunity for your brand to resonate in a target markets mind, or consciousness. Generally 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 a personal name is strong to a known audience, but not particularly strong as a brand to strangers – or new audiences.
A brand which is not especially 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 you can do does not help drive growth of the business. Therein is they key drawback of an owners name as the brand.
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 what we are after, and we can anchor the rest of the marketing efforts from that initial naming. Logo’s, colours, design, marketing collateral, the story we tell….all get driven from that starting point.
When you think your marketing might not be really working well, then it might just be time to begin thinking about a makeover and think about the business name to begin with.