By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
In my previous post on Entrepreneurial Branding, I listed 10 crucial elements of the branding process. In this blog, I will elaborate on the first three: your business name, tagline, and logo.
What Makes a Good Business Name?
These are the factors that should influence your choice of a business name:
- It should indicate your business purpose
- It should be clear, concise, and easily understood
- Your business name should consider the scale or potential size of you business (local, national, global)
- It should be simple or, if complex, allow for the use of a meaningful acronym
- It should be memorable and describe your competitive advantage or differentiation.
The Birth of Google, by John Battelle testifies to the power of a name. Google creators Sergey Brin and Larry Page, started out with the original name, “BackRub,” because their system checked backlinks to prioritize a site. But the scale potential of the World Wide Web inspired Brin and Page to choose a name that would represent their ability to search large quantities of information. They created “Google” from the numeric word, googol, which signifies the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
Think long and hard about the image you will project when you pick the name of your business. When naming my business, it all came together when I thought through the words, their meanings, and our business purpose. We would be an “integrator” of real estate services by “uniting” multiple disciplines through a single delivery “system.” We named the business by putting these three words together: United Systems Integrators Corporation – creating a solid acronym, “USI,” that would sell well with large corporations and could grow into a global brand.
As we worked toward the launch of our business, we became energized around our new name and acronym. We felt a sense of pride that would last long in to the future. You should seek to find a name that energizes your founding team.
Once we had achieved our naming goal, we needed a meaningful tagline. Your tagline should enhance and clarify your business purpose. Consider the following when brainstorming a tagline:
- Does it enhance your business name?
- Does it communicate your business purpose?
- Does it address the problem you are solving?
- Does it speak to your target customer?
- Is your tagline memorable and lasting?
We developed a tagline that captured the essence of USI’s mission as follows:
United Systems Integrators Corporation
Serving Real Estate, Management, and Information Needs
A well-developed logo communicates a message about your company in a way that words alone cannot express. It integrates artwork or a graphic image with your business name and tagline. B2B logos are usually formal and institutional to suit the corporate decision maker within your target customer. B2C logos can be less formal and more personal, suited to the individual decision maker and buyer of your product or service.
Be deliberate and plan your logo carefully. In Joshua Johnson’s June 2012 article, Twitter’s New Logo: The Geormetry and Evolution of Our Favorite Bird, he says, “I personally love it when logos reach the stage of being a simple, ubiquitous icon. If effectively produced and executed, your brain instantly links the symbol with the word.” He goes on to describe the evolution of five major iterations of the Twitter bird we have today.
A logo that never joins the ranks of those with instant or global recognition can still be strategically perfect for you.
I designed USI’s logo to communicate substance and staying power. I was ultimately inspired by the historic richness embodied in the flag logo of the investment bank, Alex. Brown & Sons. I worked with a graphic designer to flesh out the details and designed our own, very different flag.
I was always very proud of our name, our tagline, and our flag logo. I defended our logo like I would defend my reputation. I still love it today.
Branding your business is serious. As an entrepreneur, your brand is personal. It stands for your business vision. It communicates to the world everything that is meaningful about your business. Invest enough time considering your choices of a name, a tagline, and a logo. They should endure for as long as you own your business and even beyond.
Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book “The Purpose Is Profit: Secrets of a Successful Entrepreneur from Startup to Exit” with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.
Copyright © 2014 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.
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