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Naming Yourself


Don MacNeil is the former Marketing Director of Windsor Jewelers and long-time on-air radio professional.


Is it just me, or…

Naming Yourself

It always amuses me that when someone or something changes its mind we’re all supposed to salute and go along with it, but in truth a lot of us don’t. This especially applies to when companies rename themselves, and recently we’ve been hit with a couple of major examples.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to win the race to a so-called metaverse, so now he’s asking us to think, “Meta” instead of Facebook. I predict at least two generations will go to their graves still calling it the latter.

Angie’s List now wants to be “Angi.” Fine, but in conversation I’d rather not see you look back quizzically at me, so I’m still going to say, “Angie’s List” to you. Ditto, “Dunkin’ Donuts.”

Here in the CSRA, it’s a running gag of what the local school of medicine wishes to call itself these days. Whatever it is, it’s never going to be as quick, convenient or memorable as, “MCG” (Medical College of Georgia),” so despite much angst and millions of rebranding dollars, in our hearts and minds it’s still that three letter moniker.

That whole, “Who are we today?” debacle was triggered, according to urban legend, by some consultant who assured the Board of Regents that “colleges” get little respect in the academic community, so to be taken seriously, the local doctor-maker had to become a “university.” In my head, I’m calculating the volume of laughter that reasoning would trigger up at Dartmouth.

Taken together, these company naming adventures make the point that when it’s time to name your business, let your imagination leap to what your company could become, and save yourself a lot of future rebranding dollars by naming it that now. (2012’s conversion by Augusta State University to Georgia Regents University, from signage to stationary, cost a reported $3.8 million)

Your company’s name is often the first element of your brand that customers will encounter. It’s vital that the name be distinctive, authentic, memorable, and enduring, so it resonates with your target audience. It should stick in their minds, build and maintain trust with your consumers, and remain relevant as your company evolves. In other words, a strong brand name is vital to establishing a strong brand reputation.

Decide on a name that reflects the brand’s tone of voice. Be clever. Do research. Who are you trying to sell to? There are many variables, so don’t take this lightly. Make sure what you choose isn’t hard to read, say or spell. Many small businesses name themselves without considering whether a listening audience – podcast or on the radio – might mishear their name as a like-sounding normal word. Write the name down and then ask some friends what the word says. Did they fumble to pronounce it? Probably not a good name. Did they laugh, but weren’t supposed to?

If you’re not a member of the media, this could be a challenge, but think about all the ways your chosen name may appear in public…from billboards to videos to online visuals…and ask yourself if it’ll play to your advantage on every stage. As I’m fond of saying, from every standpoint, the closer you can come to “Blimpies,” the better.

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