“Can I take your order? You’d like some char-broiled chicken thighs served on china? Well, you’re in the right place!”
Is it possible to be a little bit too specific when naming your business? Actually….yes.
I regularly advise companies not to be generic about their business name – Enterprise Business Solutions, Inc., for instance, says absolutely nothing. Or, as I spotted recently on an 18-wheeler, Product Distribution Company. Sheesh – really? Did you also name your kids Human Unit 1 and Human Unit 2?
Nothing is more forgettable than a generic company or brand name that gives no clue as to what is being offered.
It is also possible to go too far in the other direction. You can straightjacket your business by being so narrow, so specific, as to give yourself no room to flex and evolve beyond, say, next Tuesday.
When articulating your business name, your category, and your tagline, leave yourself some wiggle room. Be specific, but assume growth and change. Pick words that you can live within for 5-10 years.
Here’s a hint: a company name can be less specific, as long as it’s unique and memorable. But the tagline needs to be really clear as to what is being offered. Check out this great advice about name/tagline combinations from Pamela Wilson.
In the case above, tastes may change to include fried chicken (or, if in Nashville, HOT chicken!). You may also want to offer chicken legs and breasts in the future. “Charlie” might get bought out at some point. And, finally, a cost-benefit analysis may lead to the conclusion that paper plates are preferable to china for takeout. Or even for dining in.
Too many companies launch with words that are either too generic, or too limiting. You’re investing in one of your most crucial success factors – your identity. You won’t regret investing in something that’s a great “fit” for many years to come!
P.S. Here’s a great example – Chris Brogan has assembled his business offerings under the moniker “OwnerFuel,” which captures his core mission (empowering business owners), but uses a flexible word (Fuel) that he can grow and flex with for years to come.
P.P.S. – see the reasoning behind the recent re-brand of Copyblogger media to Rainmaker Digital.
Also on the blog: See how Waffle House did this right – Three Words. Twelve Letters. Great Tagline.