Entrepreneur 101: The Name of the Game is Branding

"A business by any other name would not smell as sweet."

You have decided to start a business. Assessing risk, allocating capital, defining your organization strategy and combatting competition are all major considerations. But, like any enterprise, first impressions are the most important. It starts with a name.

Couples spend months or even years debating the names of their children, and your business deserves equal thought. Your name is your brand. And as such, it should portray quality, reliability and confidence. It should both differentiate your business and promote good will. The health of your business depends on it. In a world of commoditized services and goods, a questionable name may lead to a negative public perception, which can impact bottom line performance.

Suppose you have trucks and signage to support your product distribution. Each message is a potential advertisement to the public and ultimately a powerful outreach opportunity to your customer. You should not let any chance to brand quality be underutilized.

Case Study

Presented for discussion is a very valuable and curious branding case known as Sal Mennella's Poultry from the 90s. Yes, that name wasn't a typo. Attractive trucks affixed with a professionally decaled chicken outline traveled about the boroughs of New York boasting of quality. There was clearly pride in the business but the name seemed fundamentally opposite to the representation of quality for poultry, specifically a bacterial infection we all know as Salmonella.

Does the suggestion of bacteria that makes people sick garner confidence here? Perhaps just calling the business Sal's Poultry would have been both a valuable and personalized brand associated with a family business.

Let's look at some branding examples that drive home the point immediately. Insurance companies, for one, intend to exude confidence and financial strength. They are there for the long term and have the ability to pay claims when you need them. Nationwide and Prudential are leading companies that brand confidence just from their names.

Of course not everyone is starting a national brand at this time, but one day your enterprise may become one. It is important to always think big! For small businesses, personalization is helpful in branding your venture along with immediately identifying the type of product or service that you are providing. For example, David's Cookies, the king of the Chocolate Chunk cookie, started out with one location in NYC and then grew to more than 225 on a worldwide basis. An amazing feat given the competition in the baking field, but the name both distinguished the product and provided a competitive edge.

So what happened to Sal Mennella's Poultry? A Google search didn't provide an exact match but it offered a result for "Mennella's Poultry" in New Jersey that was established in 1944. Maybe the CEO got the hint and changed the name.

Want more? Here are some great tips on how to name your business.

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