Whats In A Name?



Whats in a name? I’ve been thinking about this today so thought I’d write an admittedly lazy post…..

Should a business’s name reflect what it produces or provides? does it make a difference or not?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot because when I look at some of the biggest brands in the world, few of the names have anything to do with what the business is actually about.

Here are some examples;

Apple, McDonalds, Jaguar, Nike, Ford, Rolex, Samsung, Addidas, Audi, Levi, Prada, Coca Cola, Google, Armarni, Heinz, Sony, etc…

In my immediate world, the travel industry, its a mixed bag….

Expedia, Priceline, Thomson, Thomas Cook – all big but the names given nothing away as to what they do.  However, we also have:

Travelrepublic, On The Beach, BA Holidays, Audley Travel etc all give  some clue as to what they do, but its not explicit.

So what about the businesses with names which match what they’re about?

Hotels.com, Fly.com, Holidays, com, Travel.com – hmmm….OK, Hotels.com is good but its not a market leader, as for the others, its pretty poor in terms of any successful business being built around the name.

So, why the focus on a name?  I think it stems from a few reasons:

  1. Your business name is there forever, so it must be chosen quite carefully
  2. There is always a danger the name you choose limits the makers you can go into (lastmiunte.com for example?)
  3. Search engines like exact matches  (or do they?  not as much as they did i’d argue thanks to the Panda and Penguin updates)
  4. You want customers to remember you

So if the name is important but doesn’t need to match what you do, how should one decide?  I have no idea.  My only answer is choose something you like as ultimately its the product or service that will define your business, not the name although you probably don’t want to call your car hire company ‘Boats For Us’ for arguments sake.  Whilst any name might do, it can’t be specific to another field.

This is the reason I chose Etsy as the picture.  I don’t think Etsy means anything but it’s a fantastically successful business.  There are plenty of examples of businesses which have a name explicit to what they do but I can’t think of any globally leading brands that do!  there must be one?!!?



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