Before Branding Your Company, Determine Your Position
By Phil Davis
President of Tungsten Branding
With over twenty-five years of company naming and branding expertise, Tungsten founder Phil Davis is a marketing and advertising veteran, having personally named over 250 companies, products and services worldwide. As a sought after branding expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.
When branding a company, the most pressing issues are not always the most important ones. There may be an upcoming trade show, a meeting with potential investors, or a potential trademark conflict. These urgent mandates can often obscure the overarching need to properly position your company in your industry. In a rush to brand your company, you may end up with a company name that you can use at a trade show, present to investors, and pass through trademark, but it may not reflect your core value proposition, the very thing that makes your company unique and compelling.
In a rush to brand your company, you may end up with a company name that you can use at a trade show, present to investors, and pass through trademark, but it may not reflect your core value proposition, the very thing that makes your company unique and compelling.
Align Your Brand With Your Core Strength
Let’s say for instance, you want to brand your financial services company, and you consider the following names: Express Loans, Sonic Loans, Jet Loans, Zip Loans, or Lightspeed Loans. Those might all qualify as potential company names, but the real question should be, “Is speed our core strength?” Perhaps you really excel at customer service or finding the lowest rates or customizing loan packages to fit a particular need. Creating a sound-a-like company name would not provide the long-term benefit of branding your business to reflect your true expertise. In this case, you would continue to attract customers looking for quick loans at the last possible minute. If that’s not what you enjoy doing, you and your staff will be miserable. That type of company branding creates a disconnect between your outward brand message and your internal core strengths.
Why Do Your Customers Choose You?
To find your true value proposition, think about your best customers — the ones that just love you and refer you to everyone they know. Why do they choose your business over your competition? What is it about doing business with them that you enjoy? Dig deeper and discover the “pivot point” around which your goods and services revolve. It could be any number of attributes, such as innovation, responsiveness, attention to detail, dependability, reputation, value, experience, etc. Focus on the ones you do best and prioritize them. Then build your company branding based on the attributes that best define your organization.
Think Long Term
By first identifying what makes your business “tick,” you can then look for company names that not only meet your short term goals, but also ones that position your business for long term growth (even if your products and services should change.) OnStar resonates with customers because it implies continual guidance and direction. BestBuy conveys value for the money (and their product line constantly evolves.) If your clients, or potential clients, were asked to sum you up in one word, what would it be? Would they even be able to do so? If so, is it the positon you want to be known for in your industry? It doesn’t make sense to call your company “Advanced” if you don’t use the latest technologies. Or “Superior” if you are not the best in class. Think it through until you get that “Ah-ha!” moment, your reason for being, your true pivot point. Then, and only then, begin to build your company brand name, supporting tag line and brand message.
Branding a company can be a daunting challenge, but don’t allow short-term deadlines to create long-term consequences. Map out the space you want to own in your industry. Be clear and specific in your mind so that when it comes to naming your company, you choose from names that promote your real strengths, build your brand message and ensure your continued success.
About the author: With over twenty five years of company naming and branding expertise, Tungsten founder Phil Davis is a marketing and advertising veteran, having personally named over 250 companies, products and services worldwide. As a sought after branding expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.