We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘you only have one chance to make a good first impression’. Understanding just how true that statement is, remember that your business name and brand image are important decisions you’ll want to take some time to seriously consider.
The question is: What message do you want to send? Cute and catchy? Simple or easy to remember? Something creative, descriptive or something basic? Or are you going for a professional, business image? The answer may start with the type of business you’re starting or the type of personality you want your business to carry.
Your business name, logo, branding image, tag line and/or motto can be changed down the road, if you decide you need to, but it’s usually a good idea to spend some time thinking about how you want to build your brand… from the beginning. Building a positive, successful business reputation can’t just be done overnight. It takes time to create positive experiences that people trust, so changing your branding, image, name, etc. once your reputation is built can cause confusion and most likely will put you back at square one… having to build from the ground up all over again. That said, your vision will evolve as it grows and as you learn what you really want to build it into, so don’t be afraid to start with a name and make other decisions as they come to you.
We suggest this creative process: In one column, write down a few key words you’ve been thinking about using or incorporating in your name… or choose a couple words that best describe your business or business personality. Then grab a Thesaurus (we like http://thesaurus.reference.com/) and make a second column with other word options you could use instead. Before you know it, your creative process has begun. Play around with different word combinations and expressions. You never know if your tag line will come first, or your name, but once you find a few good contenders, you can sleep on it, and don’t forget to think as though you were the consumer… would you buy from “…”. You can even poll for opinions from business professionals you respect, just remember to heed good advice while still staying true to your idea and to yourself.
There are a few determining factors to consider: Is the business name available or is it already registered in your state/city/county? Check with your Secretary of State (http://www.statelocalgov.net/50states-secretary-state.cfm) If it’s taken, you’ll want to keep thinking until you find a name you can use that still fits in your criteria.
The second factor to consider is website address availability. Websites are a basic marketing staple these days. They provide your basic company, contact and product/service information to hundreds and millions of people searching the globe for just the right solution to whatever problem they’re facing. Finding out if an address you’re considering is available is easy. There are quite a few useful options like www.godaddy.com or www.register.com. The key here is to think of an address that makes sense, is easy to type, easy to spell, easy to remember or that is your exact business name. Simple is always easier to find, and the easier you are to find the easier you are to remember!
Your logo or brand image can be something as simple as a check-mark, or as complex as a full-scale detailed picture. Think of your business cards as the first impression someone will have of your business. Your website can portray every element of your vision, but your card should really only capture a small portion. This is usually a good place to come up with your logo. What is the most important element of your vision? If you’re a florist, perhaps it’s your favorite or best-selling flower. If you own an auto parts store, maybe it’s an image of a nut and bolt or… a car, while a dentist promotes white teeth or smiles. From there, put your own personality into the brand image.
With an hour or two of thinking and brainstorming, you can come up with the basic ideas to take to a design or marketing/branding firm… or you may just brainstorm the entire brand from start to finish on your own. When you need help finding the right assistance to put all your plans together, from logo, tag lines, business card or website design to brochures or media kits, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, opinions or advice. Some of the best ideas are enhanced with a little support!
All in all, take your time, but don’t let this process scare you and hold you back from taking the next steps. Once you have your name and image decided on, knowing you have the option to adjust it down the road, you will have more time to focus on marketing, selling to and reaching your customers …and keeping them.
© 2009 Propel Businessworks. All rights reserved.