Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good Advice at the Time?

Check out one of the things the Forty Media blog says about naming your company:
Traditional naming wisdom long held that your company name should describe what you do, so that people would quickly understand your business. While good advice at the time, this principle now hurts more than it helps.

These days, there’s plenty of context to help customers figure out what you do. You don’t need to name your new software firm, say, “Texas Software Group,” because people will be finding you by searching Google for “software companies in texas,” or by looking you up in the local phone book under the appropriate heading. They’ll often know what you do before you ever talk to them.

Instead of trying to overburden the name by making it do everything at once, take advantage of other ways to explain your business (your business card, your website, your elevator speech, etc.), and liberate the company name to be used to engage and fascinate potential customers.
I'm not sure I agree with the "good advice at the time" bit. If your strategy was simply to give up on branding and to rely, for example, on someone driving by your restaurant on the side of the highway and deciding to go there based solely on seeing the sign, then yes, a descriptive name might have helped. Otherwise, research shows that name that are not descriptive are superior, as the rest of the passage advocates.

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