Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Business Names that Fail

When you visit the telephone directory Yellow Pages and you look under "Plumbers", everyone whose name is listed you assume is a plumber. You don't care what they call themselves.

In the real world, if you drive by and see a nice sign saying, "Jones", what are you to make of it?

Jones isn't like Apple or Nike that are brand names everyone on the planet recognises, especially when accompanied by their apple or check mark logos.

So, it's probable that many people look at it and think, "Who the hell is Jones?"

Recently I was looking for a stationery shop and the location that had previously been "Corporate Express" a well known stationery firm, now had a sign saying, "Staples." I've never heard of Staples and had no idea what type of business they are in. Rather than waste my time driving into their parking lot and walking to the door only find they sell tools and bearings, I simply continued across the road to Office National, a firm I know sells stationery.

The use of a non-descriptive name is a fail for any business unless it has a nationally recognisable brand name. At least in the early years until they develop a well known brand name, non-descriptive business names need to be accompanied with a statement saying what they do; "Staples - The Best Stationery Shop in Central Australia" would be much more use to passers-by like me.

Staples, I found out later is a stationery shop so I would not have been disappointed had I visited. And they would have taken my money and not Office National.

It could be argued in Staples' favour that I'm the only person in Central Australia who doesn't know what they do, but I'm betting there are many more.

As a principle, a business name should either be accompanied by a description of what the firm does, or be self-explanatory.

Look at my site as an example: "Desert Wave Enterprises - Business Documentation that Works."


PS: What examples have you seen of business names that mean nothing to you?

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