How to Name Your Company

I worked for a man who once told me “there is no such thing as a mistake unless you keep making them.  They’re learning opportunities.”  He allowed me to take calculated risks with his company and that allowed me as an individual to learn and the company as a whole to grow.  I’ve been facing a “learning opportunity” for awhile now and after several years as “3rd Place Media” it became apparent that while the name is fashioned after one of the most successful marketing strategies ever, the impression is that by hiring us you’re choosing the third best option. We’ve been wanting to make this change for some time but our valued and repeat clients never seemed to mind and the high organic SEO along with five star ratings online helped push it down the priority list.  Besides, once people asked why we called ourselves 3rd Place Media it would lead to a discussion about our unique and effective approach and often to new business.  But as a marketing firm who’s mission is to make our clients the authority in their field, to put them in first place, we realized that it was time to change our name.

Choosing a company name can come quickly or over time.  It can come off the top of your head or through extensive and expensive research.  If your brand is large enough, hiring an agency to help you through the process can be a significant expense upfront but can deliver excellent long term value.   We also learned that asking friends and family about our new company name can be a bad idea when you decide not to choose their idea.  So while we did ask for input for research reasons, we largely kept the process internal.  We began researching.  Names like Yelp and Google are easy to remember but without significant marketing budget difficult to establish. Fed Ex is a re-brand of an older company, GEICO is an abbreviation of an older and established but very long company name, Mercedes-Benz is named after a woman, and names like Nike and Oracle are taken from Greco-Roman mythology.  Your company can be named after a pet, your address, two words mashed together, or the exact word that represents who you are, only misspelled on purpose to stand out and for legal purposes. It’s also important to have a short name; the fewest number of syllables possible.  Think Coke vs. Pepsi. We wrestled with names that were self explanatory but had no “zing” and with names that had “zing” but were too obscure.  To look for a name we researched book, band, album, and movie titles.  We listened to news and sportscasts and searched online for domain names. We’ll discuss what we found in a future post.

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