Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tip 1 l The Name Game

by Guest Blogger Shirley of Wild Blueberry Ink

What’s in a name?

For some reason, it’s so much easier for us to name our children than it is for us to name our businesses. Just think of your business as your baby. You don’t want it to be picked on do you?? You want only positive connotations attached to the name. You want it to be cute when it’s young… but you also want it to work in adulthood. You want people to remember the name. Spell it with ease and pronounce it correctly. Be creative… but don’t over-do it.

Originality. It’s has to be original. Not just for legal reasons… but you want to get your customers attention. You want them to remember the name so they can tell all their friends about your business. Be careful. My sister and I once had a store front where we sold handmade gifts. We came up with out name without even trying by mixing magnetic poetry words around. This is a great way to get a silly creative name. Our store was called Petal Dust. We loved it. Our friends loved it. But passersby… well… they didn’t have a clue what kind of store it was…. which lead most folks… right on down the street. We had some people come in looking for cake decorating products… because little did we know, petal dust is also something you use to tint cake icing. So… be creative, but do your research. Also, avoid inside jokes. You and your friends are the only ones who get them… and you’ll spend they rest of your entrepreneurial days explaining the name of your business.
*tip from Etsy: take inspiration from others. Sit down with a piece of paper and writing utensil and ask yourself: “What sellers do I know the name of on Etsy?” It doesn’t have to be your favorite seller or any reason other than the fact you remembered their name. This is key. After you have your list of remembered names, take a look at them. Why are they so memorable? After asking yourself these questions, take inspiration from what these sellers have done to create your own memorable name.

Image. Our brains are wired to see an image when we hear or see a word, whether we want to or not. What do people see when they hear your business name? What sort of personality does it evoke? Consider the words mom, mommy, and mother. They all mean the same… but putting a word like Mommy with a word like Motorbikes will make you think of kids toys every time. Your name should reflect your style in one way or another. If you choose a cute, quirky name… you products should reflect that. If you design for men… they would probably respond more to a clever name. Older women tend to sway more towards elegant names. And for me personally… if your name isn’t creative, I feel your products might not be either. Consider your target audience and come up with a name that appeals to that demographic.
*tip: Incorporating a visual element into your business name can be a powerful aid to customers’ memory (and a powerful advertising tool).

Spelling. This one can get you in more ways than one. Try to limit your name to one or two words that flow well together, the shorter the better. This makes it much easier to remember. Make it easy to pronounce. Unique is good, but difficult spellings are bad. You want people to find you online. If you tried to get creative with the spelling… odds are, they will have a hard time finding you. Say it aloud. Write it down. Type it… it may one day be a blog or website. In this case, if your name is Gina… you probably don’t want to be Diva Gina’s anything (See if you can figure that out). On that note, make sure your one of a kind, play on words kind of name isn’t the name of an X rated film. ‘Cause if anyone comes up with creative names… it’s those guys.

Brand your name. Using your own name is a great way to be original. Unless you’re my sister… whose last name is McDonald. McDonald’s anything only makes you think of fast food… so, she probably wouldn’t want to name her business McDonald’s Baby Bibs… unless they were plastic and passed out for free with kids meals. When we (my sister and I) needed a name for the projects we work on as a team, we branded our daughters names. Emma Riley and Aubrey Rose became our brand… Riley Rose and we use it for everything from Photography to Jewelry. Using your (or your kid’s) name also works well if you would like to expand your product line in the future. If you are Sally’s Seashell’s today… that really isn’t going to work when you start selling homemade lip balm next spring. So don’t limit yourself if you plan to expand in the future.

Be Descriptive. Though you don’t want to limit yourself, if you only ever want to sell handbags… then you should most definitely include the word Handbags in your name. This will also help your business name to pop up in search engines when people google the word ‘handbags’. Including information about the products you sell makes it easy for potential customers to find you both off and online.
*tip: Use a key word in your name. ie) Hannah’s Handmade Handbags. This works well in search engines.

So, how did I come up with the ever so creative and memorable name Wild Blueberry Ink???

It’s a play on my daughter’s nickname. When I was pregnant with Aubrey I would receive a weekly email from Babycenter that would tell you where your baby is on the development scale. Well Aubrey’s Aunt Hayley would check in every Monday and one Monday she asked “WHERE ARE WE THIS WEEK” I told her “We are the size of a blueberry” and ever since she has been called Blueberry.

Blueberry is Aubrey’s nickname. Ink because I would be creating things such as stationery and digital art. Then I threw wild at the front, because that kid is no where near tame. And there you have it…
Wild Blueberry Ink.

Don’t jump into a name. If you come up with a good one, odds are you can come up with a great one. Mix some words around, test it out on people and take your time. You’ll find the one that works for you. And who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky… make up a word like google… and the rest will be history.

Good luck.
Tell us how you came up with your business name. Link us to your store/blog/site. And please, leave us some tips!!!

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