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Building Your Brand

Lesson 2 of 12

Naming (with Guest Mike Pile)

 

Building Your Brand

Lesson 2 of 12

Naming (with Guest Mike Pile)

 

Lesson Info

Naming (with Guest Mike Pile)

So, Mike bike. I'm so thrilled to have you here. What I wanted to do is actually talk about the importance. Seven name. Day one is all about kind of the foundation work with your company. And obviously a name is something that is kind of the first impression is something that needs to be memorable. And so I wanted to bring an expert on board so that we could talk about this. But before we begin, I want you to think about some of the names that are out there now. Virgin, Of course I have to bring up because can you imagine what it was like when Sir Richard introduced that name Virgin? Now it's in our nomenclature, so it's no big deal, but it probably had those awkward moments of Oh my gosh, I can't believe Virgin Records like That's crazy. So you just never know, like how something is going to be brought into pop culture. Google. That's a crazy word, right? Google? Yahoo. There's a lot of names out there that are very strange that we wouldn't wouldn't think would be acceptable. Mike, yo...

u have a name and company. It's called uppercase naming Before we begin. If you could just tell me who are a couple of the clients that you've worked with, and why did you get into naming? It's. It's a unique business to be in. Yes, it certainly does. Well, thanks for the opportunity for me to be here. I'm really looking forward to this is very exciting. Naming is very fun. Um, I am the creative director and partner in upper case naming. Um, and we've worked with very small companies and we worked with very large companies. We specialize in the life science space in the technology space. We worked with Fortune 500 companies like a Procter and Gamble to Unilever to Haines to very small companies that have wonderful names that people haven't heard of yet. But they certainly will in the near future. Um, and how I got into it, I would have a background in advertising and marketing. Um, and I was on the side of the advertising agency where it seemed the other teams were always having a lot more fun. And so I wanted to join them and become ah writer myself. So, um, a couple of years ago I had an opportunity to do a consulting gig with a ah, very, very good, very big, very strong naming company and found out that I had Ah, not only a passion for it, but I was actually modest. Moderately good at it. Um And, uh, so I I formed my own company and and much like you guys, it's a small business, and I'm working very, very hard to build traction and on get customers and just having a ball with right? So, tell me, are you like driving down the road and names or like, popping in your head and like, you think they just don't stop there like nonstop names? Well, if when when I'm been assigned myself a particular project. Yes, but what happens mawr is I'll try to compartmentalize it, tune it out sometimes. And when I'm driving down the road and I'll see all these other names on billboards and storefronts and trucks ago, where did that come from? Her. Oh, that's pretty good. And and frequently I'll miss my turn off in my exit because I am pondering other names. Yeah. Okay. Well, we were just in this module beforehand. We were talking about kind of brand positioning brand tone ality. And one question I have for you is when someone comes to you and asked you to create a name, what's the best way for them to give you direction and kind of, you know, guidance on what they're looking for? Well, I think it's It's the same thing that that you will probably be going through that I saw this morning and you'd be going through the rest of the week. I think it's very important to have a road map and call it a strategy crawl at a brief call it a mission statement. But I think I think it's it's ultimately very important to have a great focus and clarity on who you're speaking to, what you want to do and what your business wants to be. And then with that core approach, there are some specifics within naming that that you want to drill down a little bit, and I think a couple of those air are are really a clear objective. What do you want, your prospect profile, who you should really define very tightly to think that's the way we had uppercase Look at it. We will actually put our objectives in quotes is like, What do we want our prospect to think when they see the name? Oh, this is cool. Oh, it's XY Oh, this is educational. It's fun. Um, and I need to, and I need to find out two more and then secondly, you want to set the parameters. If you're appear play in a in the Internet space than having the URL is very, very important. In other cases, it's not as important you want. Understand the region, ality or you're gonna go globally. So you need to understand whether it's going to be whether you want it translated into into major foreign languages or if it might mean something on toward in major four, right? Right. One thing I don't know if you guys have noticed this, but I see it all the time. Now we're because of you. Earl's not being available. People are spelling things, you know, Crazy spellings. Or maybe they're using a three instead of an E. Like anything to secure a You Earl, Do you have a point of view on if that's a positive or a negative, where we're using fake spellings to get you are else? Well, it I think if the U. R L is vital than you want to get it as specific and exact as possible and preferably you'd want to dot com. I think there is greater tolerance among consumers for, um, adjusting the name or giving it, giving it a dot net. I think from from a search standpoint and from an identity standpoint, if the girl is important, I would I'd recommend having a much cleaner spelling a normal spelling. Both the search engines as well as humans are going to look for it that way. So so doing it where it could be interpreted, interpreted in too many different ways. I would caution against, um, you know, if it's if it's eight, um, use, you know, spell it out. If it's four, you see a lot of that I probably spell it out to and then also you might want to secure the girls in all of those different formats, but be really clear on having one single brand identity when comes up on the Web. I see a lot of people using dot C O. Now that seems to be a trend because the coms are all gone. So going with Dot Co. But before we go and I know you have a couple of slides that we're going to go through, but because I have pre chatted with you, I know that there are a couple of naming things that we wanted to discuss with your companies. And am I saying Larissa? Am I saying it right? I would make sure that if I say it wrong, correct me because I always want to say Larissa Larissa. Okay, so your company, it's you've got an online magazine. It's a high end magazine and it's called Pa She right now p o S H y dot com, because we did a pre call on this. I do know that you've had thoughts about should I change my name? And, you know, when do you decide to stick with the name versus changing a name? So maybe if you want to give us a little bit of background on how you picked the name and where you're at with your company with the name. Well, honestly, I just picked my name because of the URL. It was because we're digital magazine, the girls extremely important. And so I wanted to make sure that we had something that was available and we wanted it to mean posh and so same thing. I just kind of made up a word. And although it is not a made up word, it is in the dictionary. Pa, she does mean posh, but, um, we did just basically, there was There is no hard or anything behind it. Nothing special. Just what it meant was that we wanted it to be sophisticated, and she can, you know, that kind of thing. So I know that you started working with a consultant then and then this is where we had a dialogue. You said that there was some question around if it was the right name. What happened that started to have you question if it was the right name. And what have you been going through? Process wise? Well, I've had a few people say to me that they felt that the name was a little young for our audience, our target audiences, you know, from 25 to 45. But our average readers about 32. And so, um, you know, we're really trying to target that age range and be a little bit more sophisticated than the young thing that that kind of sounds a little bit more modern than I think we're going for. So so we're kind of now at the stage that we're trying to do like a rebranding. So because I think people were starting to think that's what we were as well, thinking that we're a little bit younger and that we're trying to be a little bit more hip where we're trying to be again more sophisticated. So, you know, we're looking at at changing the name and doing all of that kind of meet our target audience. Okay, great. Now, for an entrepreneur, obviously a name change could be expensive. It's, you know, something that a lot of times you should I do it. Should I not do it? Is it the right time? Should I wait? What? What do you do when you're working with people? When they come to you may say I'm not sure if this is the right name. Should I change it? What kind of process would you go through with someone like Lorries on? Um, I I would ask them questions. Really. I would find out the basics again. Who are you trying to be? Who are you trying to attract? What kind of audience? Um, are you getting where you see yourself five and 10 years down the road from now? Is this the name of your company? Or is that the name of one product within your company and get a sense of where they see it and where they want to be? Because a name is it's different than a brand. We talk a little bit about that, but but a name is really that It's indelible. It's it's the you can change your positioning a little bit. It can. It can evolve and grow, and your brand will shift a little bit and your messaging can shift a little bit. But your name is your name. That's the one you're you're with for Ah, very, very long time. So, um, you know, we we would want a before you go about it, you know, willy nilly. We would want to really understand the reasons for it. Not just your own personal ones, but the business in the marketplace, um, and then understand the investment it would take to get you there and then in and say is it? Is it worth it now, a new company with you know, not a lot of traction, not a lot of awareness in the marketplace if they're lucky enough to go. Boy, I'm getting some feedback on this. This is not so good and changing. The name is relatively simple and straightforward manner, especially in these days where most of your marketing is online and you can do it with a couple of key strokes to change it. But once you've established a brand, and it has begins to have an identity and traction in the marketplace, that it's a much more complicated question, Right, right. I do have one name story that I want to share, but I think that when you're talking about kind of the target audience and that people are starting to perceive it as younger, sometimes are obviously outside influences that are impacting kind of naming two. And so one client that I advise is a chef, and his name is Michael Meena. He happens to be, ah, high end chef, well known on the West Coast. But in 2000 and eight, when we were in a recessionary period, he was known as a five star chef and, you know, an average ticket price of maybe $140.170 dollars. So when he was expanding and opening up some new restaurants, obviously having the Michael Nina name on the new restaurants during that time period was not something that was gonna be positive. So they actually made a conscious effort of, you know, branding a new brand. So RN 74. There's one here in Seattle, and they didn't link the names because they wanted to keep it separate. So it actually, you know, it made sense at that time period. But now, several years later, the economy has come back, and it's, you know, 2000 and 13 is like, Oh, wait a second. That's a Michael mean, a restaurant. And so now we have to go back and figure out How do we re attached the name? So I think that, you know, you said something before. Is that your company name? Is it a portfolio name you need to figure out? You know, your roadmap. Are you gonna have multiple products? Um, Jeff, I wanted to talk a little bit about your business to cause again. We had a pre call your businesses Golden Goods. What you explain to me and said it's primarily a business to business play, but that you're interested in a consumer line with distribution now online and pop up stores and all sorts of things was probably a really exciting opportunity for you. But the question that you posed to me was, When do you decide to stay with the same name? Golden Goods Turn it into a consumer one versus line extension ing and having a new name? Well, that's that's something that that a lot of people face, Um, in a lot of different. A lot of different cases, and what I would want to know is, what are the overlaps between the two and then what are the differences between the two? Um, I take a look at your resource is that do you have an ability to support two brands? Or generally it's less expensive to support one. If if the positioning, the brand in the audience and your message are very, very different. If it's high end versus low end, like in Michael Minnis case, um, you might want to consider separating them if you want if you're resource is air very tight and you believe there's a there's a platform or an umbrella across both Ah, single name might be better for you, right? Right. Thank you for being here, By the way, is that, um, we take a curator approach to T shirts. So whether it's a B two b player would be to see play. It's somebody's favorite T shirt with the best fitting best feeling fabric, you know, great design. So, um, for us, um, there isn't a, um ah rub between the the product story and in terms of the question you posed for us. Everybody who owns a company that may want to do t shirt also wants to wear teachers themselves. So I think that there is a a clear line between those two things. So from that perspective, um, if those Air two criteria, What that would lead me to say is that our consumer brand keep it as golden goods. Um uh, as opposed to coming up with a sub brand underneath it, Uh, I guess the the question is, are there any negatives of doing that versus taking the Michael Mina approach? And because you are in 74 is just a special restaurant as Michael Mina. Um, yet he chose to do a sub brand, right? It is just a special a restaurant, but it's because people know that it's probably associated with him or that they've gone. They've visited and they've had. They've had a wonderful experience in your case. It sounds as though potential your audience might buy a T shirt both for themselves and for their friends and for the employees of their business. Do either where, um, as an advertisement for the business or not. And in that case, and knowing you know, not a lot about your business, it sounds like and they're all trade offs, right? But it sounds like having one single brand would would support those, um, and be a much more efficient way to go. The only downside against is way out down the road. But, you know, as an entrepreneur, you can't think too far ahead. You gotta really, really focus if that that you started to learn over the course of your business that they that the to products of the two audiences started to separate, either in terms of socio economics or hipness and contemporary nous versus old fashioned nous. Or in an age, if they really started to to diverge. I think at that point, then you've got a very interesting dilemma. Do you say, Well, do we have to two separate brands? Which brand gets which audience, or do we do some sort of sub brand or line extension? Golden Goods two. Were Golden Goods by Jim More Golden Goods, Um, for business. It's a tremendous amount respect for in terms of, um naming and and such as he said, you know, make it you might want to consider making very personal. For instance, of my name's Jeff, my business partner's name is Jeffrey. He does design. I do, you know, all the all the front facing marketing, etcetera. So, you know, his comment was Well, you know, you guys, it's interesting. You have the same maze. Maybe you. This sub brand name is Jeff and Jeffrey, Um, uh, which sounds a little narcissistic to cope with your name, But it sounds more fashion oriented, though, too. I mean, Jeff and Jeffrey sounds like a fashion brand versus Golden Goods. Sounds more of I get a hit of kind of sportswear for some reason, but I do a thought on that. How do you feel about surveymonkey research? In the past, we used to do very, you know, lethargic research that was very costly. But now there's so many tools at our fingertips. Have you thought about just kind of doing a survey with your trusted friends? Do you think that's a good thing to do or a bad thing to do? I think it's a good thing to do. The bad thing to do is look at it and say, Well, that's the only piece of information we're going to use. Um, I mean, we're all business folks. We all have been. We're all humans. We all have some common sense. I think you apply that first and foremost. I think you then expand to your network and get input from people you respect. Um and then certainly survey monkeys is appropriate to get you know of some of people who are within your core group feedback on it, and then there's There's other ways to do that. To focus groups are are still pretty effective, although time consuming and expensive and not necessarily quantitative, and there are other surveys. So I I think that you go both with your gut and with some with some analytics. And at the end of the day, between all of the different resource is you say Okay, I think this is the one that we're going to go, whether I would caution and all of that. It's less about who you talk to, and I think more about how you structure the question, which is basically I would suggest Don't say which one do you like? I would say, OK, here's what I'm trying to achieve. Here's my objective. Give them some background and then let them decide. And that way you'll get a much more independent and I think, rational answer, right? I mean, one thing that we might want to consider is even layering on some of the exercises we did in module one, where you have your core attributes. And if your company wanted to be, you know, x, Y and Z, then you think about well, does my name actually reflect that feeling, Those attributes, that tone ality And so I'd challenge you, Jeff, to think about, you know, with your funnel test as Golden goods imply what you wanted to imply, Um, you know, for this this new consumer brand that you're moving forward. So start layering things on. I have heard of people also doing, um, buying keywords or doing ad tests where they will test them, and they'll actually see where they're getting more click throughs. That's definitely a more analytical way to go through. But I've heard people testing, you know, subheds copy offers that kind of thing. So there are little things that you can do just to put a finishing. This may be one thing for us to consider is to try to thread thread the needle above where you get the brand tie to the overall company, Golden Goods. But there's some sort of an amplification that says that this is something different unique. How the specialising consumer focused and not saying we're going. We would do this, but go with Jeff and Jeffrey. But perhaps Jeff and Jeffrey by Golden Goods Welcome Uni favorite T shirt. Er something That's right. How you end up connecting those things is really, really key. But if you understand the real basics, you be able to do that in a much better fashion and You know, Golden Goods has got a certain sort of vibe to it. Jeff and Jeffrey. I mean, almost all, um, fashion brands are named after people, right? So if you're in that space, um, it makes a lot of sense to go that way. And then linguistically, Jeff and Jeffrey rolls off your tongue pretty well. It's pretty. You know, there's a lot of soft vowels there. Eso it just lends itself more to consumer goods than it does to hard business. Thank you very much. Looks like Emily has a question. Um, does your company just sell T shirts? No. Okay, so it's what other things? Tote bags to yoga bags, too. Tanks, hoodies, bandannas, polos, caps. It's basically anything you wear in terms of soft kids. Really? Because when I when I think of golden goods, I don't think of like, I don't think of ah ah, you know, T shirts or you know what you're selling. So I don't know if there's a way to help how toe, How do you like refines? Um, and your idea and with what you're selling. And yeah, you know, um, in the ad world, because before I was a Virgin America. I was an advertising like Mike was, and the processor. The discipline is called account planning, where it's basically the research function, but trying to figure out ways that are a little bit more qualitative instead of quantitative to get answers to things. So you just mentioned focus groups. But even gathering your friends for a dinner, people that are kind of trusted friends and showing them some of your materials getting their feedback, that could be really a powerful way to do it. Now, of course, we also can get sentiment online and start to figure out you know, your brand is already facing in terms of being a website. You can get people's feedback on the website on the product, so I think that what you have to do is is gather that information. And then it's also important to not let criticism be a negative to take it as positive feedback. Now I've got to imagine when people started saying you know your name seems a little bit young, it probably was hard to hear it first, right? So tell me how you've gotten through that. And where are you at with your name? Well, Honestly, I was so new to this, and the magazine at that point was we only had had two issues that I don't think it it didn't bother me too much because there was no attachment to the name. Um, All I kept thinking, though, is Oh, my gosh, we already have 7000 readers. How am I going to switch it over? That was more my concern, wasn't it Didn't didn't bother me that I needed to change the name. It was just It bothered me more that I was gonna have to do it. Okay, so now you've decided that you're switching over, right? Yes. OK. So, Mike, what would be your advice for someone who is switching over? I mean, I always have thought honesty's the best policy. So let's, you know, tell our 7000 people what we're doing. But how would what would you advise? And also, what do we need to do legally to make sure she's covered with trademarks And, um, you know, making sure that you've got all your everything covered, right? Well, that that's part of the service that we provide. I think the first answer is honesty is the best policy. You reach out to your readers, which you've probably developed a relationship with. They value that relationship and you tell them Hey, um, we're changing her name because of X, Y and Z. We're still Then you reassure them were still the great the great brand that you love, and we're still the great product. And I think changing it earlier rather than later is a is a smart way to do it. It's gonna cost some extra time. And resource is to do that because you also want to reach out to virtually anyone who may you that you may impact. And it's also an opportunity you could do some press release on a We've changed our name, people. We'll pick it up. And in terms of, let me disclose that press release website email is that kind of covering the basis of what we need to do. Well, that's the Yeah, that that would be the basics. And I think we're all approaching this from sort of a bootstrap standpoint. There are certainly other, more expensive ways you can do that, but I think you have to do it organically. It Yeah, so go ahead. So when we decided that the name change was good. We thought that to go with that we really feel like the image needs to be changed because of people's perception. So, um, something we were thinking about because part of our rebranding is also, you know, keeping posse. But doing keeping that is like a teen magazine and doing, um, we part of our mission is focusing on fashion in Seattle, but we don't We would like to have issues all over the world where we have, where we focus on fashion in those cities individually. So it's something that was always in my plan. It was always something I wanted to dio so instead of, um, you know, going about where you know it's not that were not being honest, but we're calling it an expansion rather than a name change. And so it comes at the same time, even though they'll it's obvious that we're changing the name. How do you feel about that? I absolutely would do that. I think Pa. She is a terrific name for a teen magazine. Ah, teen audience. Think of Sassy. Think of anything ending in IE or y sounding. It's It's just diminutive. It's very, very friendly. It's very child and very childlike and very fun. Absolutely. It is s. So I think that that's Ah, that's a brilliant That's a brilliant move. Was reading something the other day? Um, and in one of the things I think we all need to be careful about is while we want to be all things and we want to get very big and we don't want to discriminate against anyone, we want appeal to his wide audience as possible. I think more people have problems going to broad than to narrow, so I would encourage everyone from a marketing and brand building perspective, focus, focus and then focus again. You're much more likely to be successful and then from there to be able to fix man. And that's definitely our plan. We're not doing it all at once. I'm not ready for that at all. But you know, it's something that we eventually want to dio and, you know, kind of set these goals and kind of let everyone know. You know, in a couple of years we would like to, you know, expand if your if your ideas to spread throughout the U s English language. If you want to spread to the Pacific Rim, um, expand, expand globally, then the name you select now needs to take that into consideration. How does it translate into the major languages? How can I associate it with other things? Are there other brands businesses out there that I might want to do a cool marketing agreement with, um and how does it align with them? Um and so those that's very forward thinking things that you need to think about because that is the tattoo that you're gonna have for quite some time. Well, in story on this and then I'll let Emily asked question. But you know, as I mentioned, I was with Virgin America and there was at one point in energy beverage that was actually a very good tasting energy beverage. And I'm not going to say the name. But it was a name that is definitely irreverent. And one were like, I can't believe that they called it that right. So they had approached us, and they wanted to bring it on to the Plains. And I tasted the product. I was like, Well, this is actually really good It was very natural and delicious, and we had a pretty can. But with this name on it, and I kept thinking to myself, How would the in flight teammates feel if somebody's ordering this name? That made me feel uncomfortable? And so ultimately I recommended against it, and the provisioning team recommended against it. But so a name, um, actually can hurt your distribution or help your distribution mean there's all sorts of impacts that it could have been. So making sure that it's one that's gonna work with your target And, you know, the virgin example is one where it was irreverent and it worked. But there are certainly names where people are trying to have a shock value where it could be a have a negative backlash to Emily. Um, so I was, ah, 2008 Olympic silver medalist and my last name is Silver. Um, and my idea for a company is Teoh is offer services through motivational speaking and wellness and health. And what would you suggest to someone who has a somewhat unique last name? And is there a way that I could use that going forward and naming my brand or you know. Would you suggest playing with the fact that I won a silver medal is? Well, how would you I just wanted here some ideas. Well, I would wear the silver medal all the times. I don't know why you don't have it on, because I would have it on, But I get I get eight of them and around. Ah, wonderful, wonderful question. Um and and I think if if if you're going to be in the business, it depends what segment you're in. But if the motivational speaking that is really about developing a relationship with you and your name combined with the silver medal, I think that that works extremely effectively. You also don't have to worry about trademark issues or clearance issues, which can be which could be, ah, bugaboo. So I think, you know, in 30 seconds, the thing about either it works, I think it works wonderfully. There's all kinds of examples of people who have named companies after themselves. You know, law firms, professional service firms, advertising agency firms, and they're all huge now and they don't necessarily relate to the owner. No one thinks of BBDO is Batton. Barton Durst and I was born. But that doesn't mean when you inform the name in your marketing materials you can't talk about tell the story. You tell the story. That's right. The names should be a conversation starter. Um, and then and then people go. That's interesting. I want to talk to this person. What if, like some, simplifying it down to a G, as in silver, like in the table, Periodic table of elements will. The upside of that is, it makes it a little more intriguing, which I think is good. It's a little more provocative. It's a little more stimulating, but in this particular case, I don't think you need to do that. I think that, you know, between between your metal and your last name and the business that you want to be in, I wouldn't I wouldn't tweak it. What I would do, however, is take set aside. hours, Um, and think about other alternatives, um, and spend time to do it because you're going to be living with it for quite some time. I love the idea of using the silver in the silver. I mean, it's just I think it has kind of a magical quality, so that's very exciting. You know, you put together a couple slides for us, so I'm gonna bring those bring us through the slides, and then what I would love is to do some questions, But so let's Can you see these here? Yes. All right. Okay. So, back to our e book, how I talked about how we have resource is, um, again, it's amazing that they're all these things that we can use for naming the thesaurus, the urban dictionary. It looks like you've given me one here. The International Trademark Association, their website, the English Dictionary. I love spending time on the saurus and just like digging through words because I write a lot. But that's a great way to get into naming and kind of stimulate the conversation. Um, government websites tell us a little bit about these two websites here. The trademark search system in the trademark process. That's right. Well, first of all, a little bit of background in naming you're gonna go through two basic steps. You're going to be creative and come up with a bunch of names. Um and that's that's the fun part. The hard part The disappointing part is when you try to get clearance, you try to get the URL. So what? These last two, the trademark Elektronik search system known as tests and the trademark process that is literally the grind work that you need to do to see whether you can use that name or not. And it's not that complex. You could do it yourself. But part of what you need to do is do a pre screen and you can go to these and find out which, if your name exists in. The nuance to that is that there are certain categories technology category software, categories, food and beverage categories. Um, transportation categories. So if you have a name that you like, but it's not used within that category, um, then it's probably okay. And there's a lot of a lot of examples of that. Um, there's dove the soap, but there's also dove the ice cream, and you would think that those would be trademark infringement, right? But they're gonna be eating soap, right? That's right. Exactly. So there would. There, there it depends on what category you're in, but But before you go too far and start spending a lot of resource is buying that you want to make sure that you can trade market. It's interesting because my book that's coming out it's called your network Is Your net worth? And so I had asked my agent, should I trademark the name of the book and books? You can't actually trademarked the names. But when I put it in the trademark search, I did see that someone has trademarked the phrase for events and conferences. And so I know that I can't do an event using that nomenclature for an event because I'd probably get a red flag and then maybe somebody would sue me. So it's really good to know what's going on in your space, and I'm imagining that going through right now with your new name and also with Posse that you had to go through a trademark process and find things that were clear. Right, right? Yeah, I was actually unfortunate toe talk to Mike a little bit before coming in. Um, so here's my question. Um, if there's another magazine that has a different it's a magazine, though with the same name, but it's a different like, you know, they write about something different there. Topics or different with that infringe on copyright. It gets a little nuanced at that point, and you start getting into legal issues. I think the thing to know about trademark is it's really a spectrum of risk. It is never quite clear exactly infringement versus not infringement. That's why there are lots of attorneys in in this world, and and so it, If you want to ask yourselves in, preferably from someone. If you have some attorney friends or trademark friends at some, at some point you have to start cutting checks toe to do that. Um, but the way they look at it is consumer confusion. That's that. That's Those are the golden words that the uspto, the U. S. Patent Traffic and Trademark Office uses. Would a consumer be confused by these? And there's a there's a bunch of of degrees and things on like that, but of how that's interpreted. Um, and I think you know, when we were talking, this one was to the trade to not necessarily consumer oriented. It was slightly, it was slightly different, Um, so you may or may not be clear on that. It's really hard to say, but it's about your appetite for risk. Um, and I think if you've settled on a name and you really, really like it and you're very optimistic about your chances, I think it's probably worth investing. Some resource is with, um, trademark attorney to get their input on that in there, and they're not going to say yes or no. They're gonna go well, here's your risk. And here's your Here's Here's the Here's the pros and cons of each and we do. Luckily, we have a lawyer that's coming on soon that will tell us when things costs and all that good stuff. There was a situation where we had an ad for Virgin America where we had the phrase creative class in it. We were talking about, you know, appealing to the creative plus, and somebody actually had that phrase trademarked. And so we ended up getting a cease and desist. So a lot of times I think when people tell you, you know I have that trademark, what they're gonna want you to do is just pull the materials. There's not usually a financial damages, but it's, you know, take it out of publication and change it. It's obviously headache, but but that's something you have to think about. If somebody does come up and say, Hey, I already have that, What the impact is on your business experience My husband's business put a press release on his website that had, um the words Are you ready to rumble on the title? And we received. We received a immediately. It wasn't even wrestling. Is that wrestling? He's an announcer, and I think it's But it was immediately a letter from his lawyer saying it didn't matter that we took it down and we were gonna have to pay him this amount of money and, um but, you know, we we took care of it, but it was stressful. It was, and it was just a press release. It wasn't even our press release. Well, when we're all fortunate to be in that situation, our attorneys are gonna advise that as well that that's why you see a lot of stories about the Goliaths going after the little Davids, the Microsoft Coca Cola's. I'm going after the tiniest little companies because that's part of protecting your trademark. So when we're all very big on and we have huge, monstrous, successful companies. You're gonna need to do that, too, because if you don't, then you become Kleenex and Band Aid and your your markets generis eyes. Now, in the case, Hillary said that you were speaking to, um, you know, removing at ah on electronic press release. No brainer changing and add a bit of a pain, No brainer. Changing the name of your company. That's a big deal. That's a big deal. So that's why you want to be extra careful going in. All right, So let's do what we talk about this a little bit. But sorry, since we're on this topic about trademarking, I'm wonder if we can ask a couple of questions from the Internet that on this topic Okay, so a question is from LCJ, by the way, the Internet ISS so engaged and loving this covers this what we're learning right now. There's so many questions, but the one was about. If your is person as a photographer, lcj and is it the best practice to name a business based in my brand? Do I still have to get clearances with the looking in the trade market and etcetera? If your name of your business is yourself. Is your name? Yeah. No, you don't need to. In fact, you don't. You don't need to do it. Clearance at all. It's just you don't need to. It's just the smart thing to do. Using your your name as a brand is generally okay. But if your name happens to be General Motors or Coca Cola or Oleg Cassini or even she or Chanel and you're operating in that that may be a problem because because Chanel will claim that you are diluting their brand. Right? Okay. Thank you. Any other questions on it? I way to get you. Okay, so we've talked a little bit about this. I don't love the name of the company. What process do I use? What I was hearing from you. You were giving advice to really put time into this and, you know, spend some time and ours and, like, not just be like reactive. We are going to talk with Dollar Shave Club CEO later on today. And his name? I did talk to him about it. He wanted to have it be a brand. He wanted it to feel like a club. So dollar shave club, and he didn't want to be by raisers dot com. So trying to figure out kind of where you're going to I think that's really important. Any other process kind of thoughts on picking a name? Well, um, yeah. Again, just just to reiterate, you know, take the time, do the brand basics on day, and that will give you the creative juice to go through and come up with a good name now in the process to pick a name on the creative end. Um, and this what I really like about anybody who who works with words really likes about it is that it really is all about putting together letters in an artistic way. So So, you know, we all work creatively a little differently, but but type out, write down the key core ideas, and then use lots of different creative stimulus. So stimuli so, you know, use a dictionary. Use word. Nick online used the source. I've got three sources. They reach this big, um, foreign language dictionaries Urban dictionary is the cowboy dictionary, and it's actually really fun to start with one name and see how far it can take you and still be in in on your road map, right? Um, well, so with that, how important is it? Well, I think having the right name is really, really important, but I don't think it's as important as the value of the offering. So you know Smucker's eyes a horrible name. It's a crazy name. It's a very easy name. In fact, they made they made fun of it right and started Saturday Night Live. But the value of their offering is an old time family suite. Goodness. So that's great. Orville Redenbacher horrible name. But but But the brand is the sweet old guy, Um, and so it's it's it's important is that it's going to introduce the conversation. It'll initially define you. It can even easier burden or make your burden. And so spending a day or two or getting other people to help you out is a really, really wise investment, because it it is important. But it's not not insurmountable. Okay, great. Um, I thought this was interesting. You were saying where it sits in the brand mix. So you're saying it's really introducing you. It's a conversation starter, but what if you've inherited a company and it's a name that you hate. Will it stay with it if it's in A If it's a name that you hate, Um and it's your company and you're the highest paid person in the room. Then you obviously can do to do anything you want with it. But I think what you do is you make the rational decision. Does it fit where you are as a company now, is it where you want to be? Um, RIM are I am research in motion, the Canadian firm. They had the BlackBerry right, And they recently changed their corporate name to their product name Black, because they wanted Teoh to really focus in on that, because that's basically all they all they made. So, um, you know, I think you ask yourselves both the emotional questions and the rational questions and decide whether the names good for you and going forward, we're getting a sense that coming up with a good name coming up with a name that you can use in the marketplace is wild fund difficult. So when you when you have a name that the work is really just beginning, because now you need to turn it into a brand, right? Right, And the product, the service and everything I'll have to wrap up together. I did hear a question. I think I was hearing a side question where you guys were talking about. You know somebody wanting X number of thousands of dollars for a name? When do you decide to do it yourself versus hiring or buying? You've got a couple of thoughts here. Well, it really depends on your time and resource is naming is a specialty much like law or advertising. Um, and so you have to ask yourself whether you have you, whether what the opportunity cost is, you certainly can do it yourself. But you have to be prepared to put in the time both to create it, to research it and to get its screen. Now, that's time away from your core business. And if you're bootstrapping it, by all means, do it yourself. If you've got it's a nice venture funding than, um, than investing in and outside service might be the way to go. Okay, I have heard that some naming companies also have secured a lot of girls, so maybe they own the rights to various. You are else. That could be a perk if you had the funds so that you could go get a good, clean U R l Right. Right. All right. So let's see. Um, what the target thinks? We talked a lot about that. I think we've covered that. And a method to the madness. What? What's this? 100 candidates 100 candidates 100 candidates. Tell me what this process is that this touches on what we what we've been what We've been speaking to both and coming up with the terrific Lee great creative name that's on on strategy as well as the second part of getting it being able to cleared, um, getting it cleared. And what you'll find is that quality really begets quantity that the mawr name and knows we call them candidates. The more name candidates you come up with, the greater the likelihood to one have an ah ha moment to really explore the depths of what your brand mean and will mean. And three, the chances of you getting it cleared. Eyes vastly improved, right? Do you have a point of view on using a cliche as a name? Because I've had people come to me before saying, I want to use, you know, x phrase, and it's a cliche and sometimes kind of in creative fields. I used to hear like, Oh, don't use a cliche but things that either have a pop culture association or a cliche or something attached to them already. What's your point of view on that? Well, if it aligns with your core values, ah, then you should seriously consider it. You'll also want to find out what that cliche means on the webs. Wonderful for that. What are the associations for that? So, yes, it's certainly something to be put into the consideration set. The downside is, is that if you're in, if you're in a business that values creativity, if you're offering creative services using a cliche that somebody else has already used or invented or that's tired, it's not going to send the right message. Okay, all right. So moving on through you had kind of a process that you did. You were talking about which ones have legs. Which ones have a story to tell any other things that we should be thinking about when we're evaluating names and looking at them creatively? I think I think we've really covered it. You want, You want to generate a lot of ideas you want. Oh, you want to relate it back to your strategic roadmap, your brand value or your mission statement or your creative brief whatever it might be evaluated with both sides of your of your of your head. You know it's the rational side as well as the emotional side, because it needs to appeal to both. Okay, I do like this, though, that your list where we want to dio a trademark screen Web screen. You are else screen global language screen. We haven't talked a lot about global language. You talked about it briefly, but how important is that? If you are doing a business that's here locally or it's a Seattle based business, do we care about global ramifications? If you are a very optimistic person, yes, you do, because you may hope, um, especially in Theresa's case, you know, fashion is a global business and style and brands of global business. So yeah, you would certainly want to consider that. So there's also, um, you know, there's a large Spanish speaking community in this country, and there are growing rapidly So if your if your name either translates to something directly or maybe just means something close to that, that's something you definitely want to consider. And it's just it's not that hard to do. And so what would you be doing that going online and looking at translations and things like that? So you could you could get foreign language dictionaries, you could go online. Ah ah, And then if If And I think that's that's the very basic thing you want to do. Um, And if you've got the resource is and it's and you really believe that you're gonna be a global brand, I would go further than that. And I would do I would I would really devote that time to seeing how it works in other languages. Okay, tell me about the slaying screen. What's the slaying screen? Well, it in again, it relates to, um ah, different languages. Aziz. Well, but there are words that to certain social demographics mean what they mean. In other cases, they could mean something either frivolous, silly or could be very, very offensive, right? That energy beverage that I told you about had one of those names to remember, I think I might have talked to you about that one once. Um, okay. Spelling, pronunciation and recall. Obviously, we need to match them up with the URL also cause we want people to be able to find our businesses and everything pretty much has a digital storefront thes days. But anything that helps recall is shorter, better or simple. Better. You'd Yeah, generally. But the tradeoff there is the shorter you name, the harder it is to get the u r l or anything close to that. But, um, you know, recall could be helped in a couple of ways there made It may be something that was already familiar in the marketplace. Like a cliche. It may be something that has a certain rhythm to it. Ah, that can help with recall. Um, Or it may be so out of left field that people recall it. Okay, great. So let's see, um, keeping versus changing. We talked a lot about this. I think we have some good guidelines on that, and you're moving ahead. You're changing. Jeff will know what you're doing. Probably by the end of this workshop will know if you have a new name maybe we'll do a workshop on names for you. Um, scandal? We haven't talked about that. Well, BlackBerry are I am changing toe blackberry, but can you tell us about a name that changed because of a scandal? Enron and run. They went out of business, but you certainly wouldn't want to name a company. Enron. But that's a pretty cool name. It makes it makes sense in a lot of areas. Uh, Anderson, uh, consulting consultant. Right. They went. They were Arthur Andersen, um, accountants and then Andersen consulting. And they got caught up in a lot of things on. You don't want that name anymore. They're now Accenture. Right? Right. Right. Gosh, if I had a scandal, I don't know what name I would turn to, but maybe I'd be Debbie Gail instead of Porter. Gale. We'll see. Um, well, that wraps up our presentation. So what I wanted to do was just bring it back to questions and see if there's anything else. But maybe Mike, if you could just summarize if there was, you know, 3 to 4 things that people should really consider advice for picking a name. What those three things would be We've touched on a lot of them and that the risk of repeating myself, I would suggest first and foremost that you should have a business plan, a strategic and creative roadmap. And use that to help inform your name and evaluate your name. I think the second thing I would I would say is is it's important. And don't underestimate that, and it's difficult. And so you should really spend to allocate the time necessary to do, um uh to find the right name for you. You may end up with one you thought of in 30 seconds, but at least you're gonna be much more comfortable knowing that you've explored Ah! Ah, a lot. Okay, great. So any questions from the web? So So very many questions. Port. Uh, let's go ahead and start with Creator. Who asked, Do you change a brand name? You are set on because the domain name is taken even with ad onwards. Ah, if you are a peer play Internet company where everything is vitally important that you are l is I would look for the right. You are l um I think that's that's a game changer. If if you're not my company, for instance. I don't get any business through the Web, so it's so it wasn't that important. Fortunately, it was, um, available. But I think if if you are in the Web space and that's where 99% of your business comes from getting the Earl the way you want, it is vital. Well, in one point on that Michael Nina, obviously the chef there is somebody named Michael Meena who's not the chef. Another one who has the dot com. So Michael has the dot net and there was a dialogue on, you know, should he try to buy the dot com from the other person, and it was cost prohibitive. So I do think that sometimes you're forced to make trade offs and looking at the sea Oh, extensions or the dot net extensions. It's not desirable, but sometimes you're forced to do it. So I think you have to figure out what's right for my situation, right for my business. That's very funny. You should make that comment cause I was just about to ask you the question of his bike. Have thoughts on Denise in Boston. Thoughts on the dot CO. If you can't get dot com when you're advising people. Well, that's, you know, frankly, it's a little bit of out of my expertise, but I think the answer is is readily available. I'm sure one can find out what the what the what the relative merits are of dot net dot co dot dot us dot biz. I think it's probably a little a little more interesting question as to whether to go with your exact u R L with a dot net or dot co versus my company dot dot kind that I that I wouldn't I don't have the background speak. Yeah, I would say that I'm seeing a lot more dot coz come up Mike from soma Water, who we're gonna be talking to tomorrow has a dot co now. When I was trying to email him, I of course, emailed him at dot com, like five or six times, and why am I getting a bounce back? So there's problems that happen, but you're seeing it more and more frequently. Britain Co. Is a subscription service and also kind of online personality. She's using Dot Co, so I think that we're starting to see that, and it's gonna be more and more common. But you also have to really explain to people, by the way, it's dot co not dot com and tell them that because otherwise you're not gonna be able to find you. Sounds great, Brian Lewis wonders. Is using a non familiar word or term in your business name a detrimental factor towards having a successful business? No, not at all. I think it depends on what? On what the word is again. If it if it doesn't relate to your business, your core strati, that's that's still can work. It just makes your job a little bit harder. But it may be so crazy that people are gonna they're going to get, you know it's gonna be provocative and they'll go. Boy, what's this about? I think that's that's kind of a stretch. I think you want the name toe evolve from your core values or core mission. So that foundation worked. We talked about Module one should really be informing the name and not vice versa. That's right. I like that people are already start are starting to ask questions about like the legal side as well about business, because that is where we're going next, correct into the legal aspects of things. And so that's great that people are already asking those types right? Next. Rachael is all about legal. So it will be everything from trademarking and fundraising and, you know, stock options and employees. And what to do when you're you're setting up your company. So I can't wait to hear the questions on that cool. So we do have I mean, like we said we have. If we could ask a few more questions, that would be fabulous. Um, and this goes back to We had that talk about using names that bigger companies might have and Jordan Brantley is Her problem right now is that her business is create like crazy. She's a Blawg design studio and a resource shop. But she just found out that it's trademarked by Crayola and is used in their markers. Should she change this, or is it not a big deal? I'd recommend changing it. Uh, sooner or later, Creole A will send her a cease and desist. It's not that she's a threat to Crayola, but if they don't do that, they establish a precedence of saying, Well, this is okay you've got time after time of people using your trademark in the marketplace. So therefore, it's no longer yours. You have to defend it in order for it to be a trademark. Yeah, and this is a little bit different story. But there was one point where at Virgin America we had used a famous astronauts name and an email without his consent, and it was used in historical reference. But because everything is searchable now, they didn't. They felt that it was being used as an endorsement on dso. A very costly trade lawsuit ensued, which, you know, was hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle. So you know when someone is saying please don't use that I have a trademark like take it seriously and, you know, lawsuits can close a small business and so I think, try to avoid things like that. So, unfortunately, I would probably recommend that she changed the name to makes sense. Um, decide what so many questions? Uh, Alfie, Savannah says, should what you do be included in the name. So she was using Upashi as an example. Should it be posh e where instead of just pa she I don't believe there are any hard and fast answers on that. I think that that if it helps to explain what you do and builds upon it, um then you oughta Then you ought to consider it. But again, if you're looking at 50 75 100 names, you'll get a sense of how that works in your particular case. Well, and a lot of times to a name is gonna be attached to a tagline. And so the tagline conduce Oh, a lot of the communicating of, you know, for Virgin America we used a breath of fresh air lines, so that was kind of taking a funny cliche, right? And then making it, making it memorable because it was right, instead of breath of fresh air for at the fresh air line. But it was saying we wanted to reinvent the airline category by the tagline. So I think that you have to remember that the name doesn't have to do everything and that usually the name is gonna be on packaging or it's gonna be on a website, or it's gonna be on materials where there's other places that you can also communicate, so I wouldn't have it do everything. That's a great point about the tagline. Absolutely. People were asking about that as well. So a question from Ecuador. If you are branding yourself as a name, what advice do you have for a naming strategy if your name is a quite common one? So we have a lot of photographers in our audience who might, or people providing services who might who are using their name for themselves? Yeah. Um, well, if it's if it's quite common, it's going to be hard to be distinctive. Um, it's going to be directly related to you. Depending on where you are in your evolution, it will suggest that you could be very small. In other cases, you might want to use the name that suggests there are more than just, uh, you behind it. Um, so it it's a It's a hard call. But if your name is very, very common in the States, if it's Smith there, Johnson, I think I'd probably want to shy away from it. You know, the other thing is that being a photographer, obviously it's a creative business. And so I think, the interpretation of the font selection, the graphics the way it looks the layout. If you're putting it into kind of, ah, logo or an icon, all of those things are gonna have kind of, you know, a feeling, too. So just kind of as a as a follow up to that. A couple people, several people are asking the reverse if they have a very hard to remember or spell name. What would you recommend, for example, Oz Fall. Her name is US Fall Huda, which is not easy to pronounce A remember should they operate under a brand name, as as an artist or photographer? And there were more questions like that yet Ah, great question. If a lot of your business is going to be coming from the Web, I would probably shorten it both to easier spelling and easier pronunciation so you can get the URL Um, if it's problematic that people are pronouncing mispronouncing it, yeah, you might want to consider it, but on the other, on the other hand, under these things are easy, right, But there's trade offs, but having a name that's distinctive you could play off that, um, and in your possibly in your messaging, you could you could simplify it provide a fanatic case to it. Um, you know, But I think the key thing is, if it's hard to spell on unfamiliar to your audience, which is key, then it that would be that I probably lean towards simplifying it to get the You're right, You know, one funny thing that I've seen done Gary Vander Chuck, who I mentioned Vaynerchuk at the beginning, his quote about passion. He's an author and a wine person on all of his books. It has the phonetic spelling of how to say his name, and so he's used it to his advantage to kind of help communicate. And so that's kind of a funny thing. But I agree you have to take each situation and look at the pros and cons and figure out what's best. I think that the non names, the ones that are company names or brand names instead of individual names often feel bigger and larger, and sometimes a personal name will seem smaller. So you have to think about that too, right? Okay, so I think we have one time for one final question. Eso shrew me says we use the UK spelling of one word in our two word name because there's another word hidden in the combo of the two words. So the name of the of the company is care stories. It's, ah, resource for caregivers on gets a supportive community. So they like the fact that care stories when stories is spelled with E Y s, the UK version that the word restore is hidden in the middle of that. Is that something that you recommend? Is that something you like? What you think about using Kind of, you know, putting jokes in the name, just that sort of playing with the name in that way the subliminal bits again, case by case basis. I think those are some of the very, very happy coincidences that can come when you do your homework and develop Ah, lot of names and you'll find some, especially when you, when you put the U. R L together that don't have happy endings that that that they don't they come across is not being very good. And so you gotta think about those. But again, I think you do it on a case by case basis, and in that case, restore fits perfectly for that, and you could build a story around that, right? So that's I think that's a nice story. They tell the same thing with Michael Nina with RN 74 now a lot of people don't know this, but are in 74 is a road that goes through France in the Burgundy region. And they picked that because they wanted the restaurant to have kind of a French feeling and be all about wines. Now a lot of people don't know it. But if the servers at the table and someone asked, all the sudden there's something that you know, there's this great story and it has rationale and goes back to kind of the theme in the feeling, So I like that they have the word restoring there. I think it's smart and fun, and it may be something that they can use in their communications.

Class Description

Every successful business needs to have a clear brand message. Porter Gale is a consultant and former VP of marketing for Virgin America. In this class she’ll teach you everything you need to know to a business idea all the way to the front pages of major publications.

This class condenses 20 years of knowledge in creative development, social media, email marketing and PR and delivers it all in concise, easy to follow steps. 

During this class, Porter will discuss:

  • Naming your company
  • Creating a corporate culture
  • Multi-channel marketing and more!

She’ll share the stage with entrepreneurs from some of the world’s most innovative brands, like Virgin America, Dollar Shave Club, and Hint Water. You’ll learn how the pros build a brand through interviews, case histories, resource lists, and how-to tips.

A successful business brand understands its ideal customers and employs a team that consistently finds a way to stand out in the crowd. Learn how to build that brand from Porter Gale.

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

Thank You so much Porter Gale I have learned so much you made me view everything in a more professional way seeing how the big boys do it made me realize the steps that need to be taken for success. You are a very smart thank you again for sharing your knowledge I have the title of your book stuck in my head I think is powerful.

a Creativelive Student
 

This is an excellent course which delivers so much key information to developing your brand. Highly recommended!