Naming your company is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Unfortunately, most of you probably already have your brand name and possibly a logo, and the idea and cost of changing it isn’t high on your list of priorities.
When I started Zen Windows, I knew I needed something that would be so different it would stand out from all the standard names—AAA, Able, Affordable, you know the ones still hoping to get the first call in the phone book. Zen, as you’ve probably noticed, comes at the end of the alphabet, so had we still been in the yellow pages era, some would think I had committed certain naming suicide. Of course, Google has changed all that.
Now, memorable, easy to spell, unique names can help, as can building your website properly for search engine optimization and even accessibility for the disabled (ADA accessibility for your site is key to Google indexing).
But, just having a cool name or brandmark/logo isn’t going to make the phone ring; that’s where a unique selling proposition comes in, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, you need people to take notice.
I was lucky in that I chose to work with a true branding pro when I launched my second window company. David Esrati at The Next Wave not only named my business and came up with the logo, but he also positioned me with the unique Selling proposition (USP) of “relax, window quotes in five minutes.” Those six words were so unlike every other window company’s sales pitch that we had established differentiation and a USP—but that alone wasn’t enough. You know the saying you have to walk the talk?
That’s where our branding came in. We needed our materials to stand out as well. Like it or not, our industry has a pretty high churn on sales people. I’ve seen competitors’ leave cards where the sales guy was scratching out the last guy’s name and writing his own with a ballpoint pen. The literature that was left was from the window manufacturer, with a rubber stamp imprint of the local dealer. None of these give a sense of permanence or quality. Esrati told me the business card he was going to make for me would guarantee that everyone I handed it to would start a conversation about it. He also told me it was going to cost almost double what a normal nice business card would cost but that it would be worth it.
He suggested buying a very expensive paper. It was actually two pieces of paper, one snow white the other jet black and fused together. It was thick and heavy. And we were going to print with only one color—silver metallic ink—same thing both sides. Sure, it was a yin-yang thing to go with the Zen name, but more than that, it was an “I’m here to stay statement” and one that was hard to forget.
That’s the power of a brand that scalds. Once you’ve touched it—you’ll never forget.