Creating the Perfect Business Name for Your Market

When speaking casually with business people about creating the perfect business name, more than once I have heard people say,  “Your name should say what you do.” To which I say, “Really? Let me go Comet my bathtub before I Kleenex my nose and Oreo my mouth.” Market the Name The job of marketing is to make your product name a household name. It’s not to take a household word and brand it as a product. When someone says, “No one knows what that product is,” that means it needs more advertising and public relations, it doesn’t mean the product is a failure or that you need to dumb down the name. Before you comment with your favorite generic brand, I acknowledge that those can work too as a gimmick of its own. Wine Warehouse, The Container Store, Goo Gone are all straightforward and to the point, but they do not represent the only successful brands. It’s just not necessary! When I counter with examples like Apple that does not sell any Granny Smiths or Galas, or Target that doesn’t specialize in dartboards, or In-N-Out that doesn’t sell revolving doors, Amazon, GoDaddy, TaylorMade, Mike, Samsung, and so on … the response is usually, “Well they have a huge marketing budget.” That may be true at this point in the game but not always. Like your business, they started with an idea. The idea might have taken shape in a garage like Apple Computers and Amazon, or being sold out of the back of a truck as did Nike. Here’s more on big businesses with meager beginnings. The Perfect Business Name There are many companies who specialize in naming. If you have the budget for that, go for it! It may be worth someone researching and testing names that help you become as profitable as you can. In summary, you can be creative as long as you are consistent (and not offensive) when using your name. Don’t be afraid to use your own name either. Ralph, Carl Jr., and Ashley will all welcome you to the club. Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit her website today to see how she can help you....
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What’s It For? The Magic Number To Get Remembered

Write a quick script for a 30-second (:30) commercial. Radio or TV, it’s your choice. You just need about 100 words. Don’t spend more than five minutes on this. Done? Now set it aside, we’ll come back to it. I know you’ve seen the commercials. The ones with the little kids and the guy in the suit sitting with them in little kid chairs around a table in a classroom. The man is discussing things like quantity, speed, and time, asking the children to explain what’s better and why: more or less, slower or faster, and sooner or later. They describe things like making their grandmother faster by putting a cheetah on her back. They blow his mind with the concept of multiplying infinity times infinity. Recently, one little girl said you have to hurry up and eat your raisins or they’ll turn into grapes. The ads have a great storyline and we can’t wait for the next one. They are one of the few campaigns my husband will refrain from fast-forwarding to get to the recorded show. Over cocktails with my girlfriends we have shared the storylines from this campaign. With parents while accompanying our children trick-or-treating, I have enjoyed hearing others’ favorites. Each time I ask, “What’s that ad for?” No one ever knows. The only time that someone has known was my youngest daughter at the dinner table. But she doesn’t count—she has extraordinary recall on all things visual, especially TV. We call her a Television Savant, but that’s another story. She knew that it was for AT&T Mobile. A selection she has absolutely no say about, but she knew exactly what the ads were for. In my advertising design class at Cal State University, Fullerton in 1980-something this ad would have gotten an F. There was one rule that Dr. Zandpour taught us and kept it as a true measuring stick of a good, effective ad. That one rule is that the copy has to contain the name of the product five to nine times. Yes FIVE TO NINE TIMES! Yes, IN ONE 30-SECOND SPOT! As cute and endearing as that campaign is, when a random poll of twenty is taken and only one 11-year old can recall what it’s for, and that 11-year-old has a strange affinity for anything on a screen, then it’s not a great ad. The purpose of the ad should...
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Marketing ≠ Advertising ≠ Public Relations

Synonyms? No. Almost the same thing? No. Duplication of efforts? Absolutely not! Contrary to how the words ‘marketing,’ ‘advertising,’ and ‘public relations’ are commonly used in the marketplace, they are not interchangeable. Here is the simplest definition I can give you to help you understand the relationship of these three words. Marketing Marketing is the big umbrella term here. I like to describe marketing using Four Ps: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. As you can see, marketing means more than promoting a product or service. It means developing and offering a product or service that people want, then putting it in the right market, at the right time, at the right location and then strategically getting the word out about it. The P for Promotion branches into two segments: Advertising and Public Relations. These two ways of promoting an item or service (your Product) are not the same thing. Both Public Relations and Advertising are meant to evoke feelings about your product to the point that your audience will be inclined to buy your product, that’s where the similarities end. Though they have a common goal, they are completely different and work hand-in-hand for a really successful campaign. Advertising The easiest way to define this was how my advertising professor in college described it. “Advertising is paid persuasion.” You buy ads. You dictate where they will go, the size, the copy and the artwork. You get exactly what you paid for and if you placed the ad in an outlet that reaches your target market, then you might garner some sales. Placing just one ad won’t do it except in rare circumstances. You have to keep the ad going with some consistency to get the results you want. Public Relations If Advertising is an anchor, then Public Relations is a cloud. Public relations activities are those things that help you relate to your customer. The message is carried through different channels than advertising. Contests, giveaways, news articles, awards, advocacy efforts, and so on, down to the basics of how you answer your phone are all elements of public relations. As deliberate as PR activities are, the results are in the hands of others. Journalists, editors, and your target audiences decide what they will do with the information you give them as part of your PR plan. That’s as simple as I can make it. Now you can use the words...
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