Naming your startup
Unlock the secret to business success through the power of a name, and explore the critical role it plays in the world of branding and marketing."
What's in a name? For Karen and Steve Hewitt, the founders of a successful online clothing company, the right name made all the difference. In 2009, they launched Rascal Rags, a firm that sold clothes featuring characters from children’s TV series like Thomas the Tank Engine. However, the name didn't resonate with potential suppliers, who were reluctant to work with them.
Realising the power of a strong name, the couple invested $19,000 in 2010 to purchase the domain name Character.com. The new name had an immediate impact: suppliers who had previously turned them down now expressed interest, and the business started to grow. Today, Character.com is a thriving enterprise, with sales exceeding £57 million and a spot on The Sunday Times 100 inaugural ranking of the UK’s fastest-growing private companies.
The Hewitts' story illustrates the importance of a name in the business world. A name sets the tone for your brand and can either attract or repel potential partners and customers. A strong name can open doors, increase credibility, and foster trust.
To find the right name for your business, consider its relevance to your industry, target audience, and overall message. A name should be memorable, easy to spell, and evoke positive associations. In the case of the Hewitts, Character.com fitted the bill perfectly, capturing the essence of their offerings and setting them up for success.
Building on the importance of choosing the right name for your business, another critical aspect to consider is whether or not to change an existing name. The decision to rebrand can stem from various reasons, such as distancing from controversy, aligning with a global audience, or adapting to a changing market. For example, Facebook's recent transition to Meta allowed the company to create a new public perception, while Mars' renaming of the Marathon chocolate bar to Snickers was aimed at achieving consistency in branding and marketing worldwide. However, it's essential to carefully consider the potential consequences of a name change, as it can significantly impact your company's identity.
The Royal Mail's ill-fated attempt to rebrand as "Consignia" serves as a cautionary tale. The new name lacked the clarity, warmth, and historical resonance of the original, resulting in public confusion and financial losses. The experience highlights the importance of striking a balance between shedding outdated associations while retaining the core essence of your organization.
Another story that emphasises the importance of a business name is that of search engine giant Google. Initially called "Backrub" due to its search algorithm analysing "backlinks" to determine a website's importance, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin soon realised that the name didn't capture the essence of their search engine. After brainstorming, they settled on "Google," a play on the word "googol," which is a mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The new name reflected their mission to organise the vast amount of information available on the internet. Google's transformation illustrates the importance of a name in a company's success.
In conclusion, the importance of a name in the business world cannot be overstated. It can make or break your chances of success and significantly influence the way people perceive your brand. Google's transformation from "Backrub" to a name that embodies its mission to organize the world's information is another prime example of how the right name can lead to tremendous success. So, take your time and choose wisely, because the right name can truly transform your fortunes, just as it did for Karen and Steve Hewitt, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin.