Are you being too clever for your customer?

A good friend bravely took the plunge into entrepreneurship after over a decade spent working for “The Man”. The first thing she did like any business owner was not to get a business strategy or to make a marketing plan. She went and got a graphic designer to design her brand, spanking-new company logo. That’s the exact moment in time that she started strangling her newborn venture at conception.
The Silent Killer
My friend decided to shorten the industry in which she would be working and incorporate it into her brand name. For example, Janice’s Project Management became JPM.
I can’t tell you how many businesses I come across everyday do this very same thing. I’m not sure where we learned that companies with acronyms for brand names were cool.
If this is you, you’re KILLING your business with that brand name.
The death of your beloved baby business comes about due to several factors that stem from this awkward acronym.
1. Nobody understands what it stands for except for you
I chuckle fondly every time I remember the name of a meeting between our production and marketing teams at my last job. The name PMS (production, marketing status meeting) had been coined by some boss who didn’t even survive half as long as the name did. I’ve heard PMS used for so many other things since then. The point is, no matter what it means to the person who coined the name, if it’s an acronym, it’s meaningless to others.
2. You’re missing a Search Engine Optimization Opportunity
I still tell the story of a business I met who 20 years ago, with zero knowledge of the internet named their company Stenogropherstoronto and bought this same URL. To this day, where SEO has become crucial to success in her industry, she still ranks top of the search pages. No potential client is searching for your acronym. I guarantee it.
3. You’re missing a Memorability Opportunity
The reason you branded in the first place was to be remembered. Otherwise people would say ‘oh, Kim Dickson does interior design for lofts, you should call her’. People still do use their own names as their brand names and for those who are established and have lots of equity in their industry, that’s absolutely ok. However, if you’re a newbie and need to get traction in a crowded marketplace, your brand name needs to stand out and be memorable. Here’s a story to demonstrate:  I needed to get a quote from a new maid service and remembered that one of the ladies in my bootcamp fitness class owned a business called Bubbles and Squeak. I absolutely didn’t remember HER name or anything else about the business but just remembering her brand name allowed me to seek her out and hire her.
Save That Business
To save your brand, if you have an acronym or if you’re using your own name and you’re still relatively unknown—change it. Change it to a regular word in the English language that relates to something in your industry. The best in class example of all time of good branding is the brand name Staples. Do you wonder what they do for a living when you hear that brand name?
That’s what I want for you. I want people to stop scratching their heads or even worse, forgetting about you two seconds after hearing the name of your brand.
Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk


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About Chala

Chala Dincoy is a Marketing Strategist who helps B2B service providers reposition their marketing message to successfully sell to corporate clients