What's in a Name? A Lot, if You're a Marketer.

Art and Science of MarketingWhen a small business owner approaches me about marketing their new business, the first place they usually start is the name. "I'm going to start a company and call it X.", they tell me. When I ask how they came up with that name, I get a myriad of explanations... most of which have very little to do with the marketing of their new business.

While I understand the desire to bring your own feelings and history into your business name, when it comes to marketing that business, the name is a very important consideration. I encourage small businesses to be open minded when naming their business, and when possible, hire a professional (like my friends over at Legalogos) to help provide insight and research into a name that both reflects their personality and the goals they are trying to achieve.

My own business name, 108 degrees, is one that I'm asked about a lot. So here is the story behind it, which may give you a bit of insight to how marketers look at naming a company...

Like marketing itself, my company name is a little bit art, and a little bit science.

My previous company name was "Pfeiffer Interactive". After about 6 months in business, I realized that few people could spell Pfeiffer correctly, and most of them couldn't even spell "Interactive" without at least one typo. I knew that rebranding required name had to be something easy to spell, quick to type, and memorable.

Coming from an industry where there are many providers, often listed together, I wanted a name that would appear at the top of lists... since numbers appear before letters, I decided to use a name that began with a number.

Probably most importantly, my company name needed to be available as a .com. After all, since I'm an online marketer, who would take me seriously if I was using a .biz?

That was the science part... I set forth clear, measurable goals that would reach a target audience.

When researching numbers, I found that the number 108 ran across all types of cultures and historical references. It was always a number of significance (Hindu deities, Buddist rosaries, Stonehenge, etc.) and had a positive connotation. It was a number of strength and significance.

But 108 what? At the end of the day, people like 'cool' names for businesses doing their creative work. When paired with 108, "degrees" both sounded and looked nice. It gave the impression of something hot, spicy, firey... the kind of marketing that most owners want for their business.

That's the art. I bounced the name off members from a target demographic segment, they all liked it. They all said they would look into or hire a company with that name.

Over the years, I've had inquiries about my company name from people who know what I do, and those that don't. Some have heard of it only once, while others have been bombarded with my marketing messages. What I've learned is that my company name met my goal of being simple, clear, memorable... and just interesting enough that it can spark conversation.

As a marketer, that's exactly what I was looking for.