Is It Time For A New Name?
Recently, our founder Luke Faccini was invited to have a chat on the Business Essentials Podcast. He provided some amazing insights on brand naming alongside some do’s and dont’s. And he had a lot of fun doing it as well!
Read on to find out what happened, we’ve got a transcript below of what went on. Or, if you’re more of a listener then just click the play button below for the full podcast.
Also subscribe to the Podcast and you will hear more from Luke in the very near future!
Is it time for a new name?
Peter Lance: Welcome to this episode of Business Essentials podcast, I’m Peter Lance. “Do you sometimes wonder if your business name continues to reflect the business you run?
Changing times, new markets, and modern trends may lead you to think that your name is, well a bit outdated, but if you think it’s time for a change, tread carefully.” Says Luke Faccini of branding agency, The Sponge. “There’s a lot to consider.” He says, “And, it’s not a decision to be taken at a whim.” First, Heather Dawson asks him, “Why would, or should a business decide to change its name?
Luke: It’s a drastic thing to do, so it should only be considered when there is a huge change, or a problem that is irreconcilable for the business name as it currently stands.
If you want a couple of examples there, we work with clients from around the world, and the most common reason why they would come to us is that they have been trading with a name, and they’ve gone to register it in a particular market, and it’s been countered by somebody that has that trademark there already, so they’re unable to use the name. That is a catastrophic fail.
Another would be if the business has gone through some significant challenges, perhaps some really bad press, and they cannot trade with the current name, or the business change’s direction completely, and the name no longer fits, so there are some good reasons there.
Heather: What’s really involved in renaming, the sort of rebranding exercise, because you need a whole strategy behind it, wouldn’t you?
Luke: Absolutely, it is an opportunity to find meaning. That’s one thing that we take our clients on. When it is a rename, it is really a rebrand, and that means finding the purpose, and the values that underpin what the brand, what the culture actually means, so that you can create a platform to develop a really meaningful name that’s gonna resonate for the market, and actually for your team, because it is such a big thing to do.
Heather: But, it’s so hard, isn’t it? To actually come up with the right name? Is there a secret to getting it right?
Luke: Well, there’s a bit of a science to it, and there is also an art to it. One of the things that I’ve learned in this 18 years of doing it now, that you can’t be attached to any of the name options that you develop during the process, because you will ultimately feel pain when it’s not registrable.
Heather: In your experience, what are the biggest mistakes businesses make when renaming their businesses?
Luke: There are a few. The first one is that they come up with a name that is too long, and that’s, anything that’s really over three syllables is gonna be shortened. They don’t think about it, so they end up with this long name that sounds good when it sounded out completely, but Australians are notorious for shortening names, so if you don’t think about what the nickname is actually going to be, then you will lose control of it, or become a meaningless acronym, and that’s a big mistake.
The second one is jumping on the bandwagon for whatever the trend is now. Like, you look at some of the startups that are out now with LYN, L-Y-N, so it’s whatever it is LYN, or that kind of thing where it’s gonna age pretty quickly. Those two are probably the key ones for now.
Heather: Well, you chose The Sponge for your business, why was that?
Luke: Yeah, that name is now 19 years old, and I was rather naive at the time, and we chose that because it for us meant that we were saturated with ideas, and while that is fine, and I’ve reconsidered it on a number of occasions, there has never been anything catastrophic about our business that’s needed a name change.
One of the things you gotta remember that a name in itself cannot contain the entirety of the brand story in the word. It’s just impossible. If you look at something like Apple, for example, if you took the literal meaning of Apple for what the brand is, it would never be what it is. It is a container that holds the whole story, the culture there, the brand essence, and all the storytelling that comes after the fact.
Heather: Because some businesses, even some of the most successful businesses in the world seem to have quite random names, and, I mean, Google would be one of the first to come to mind.
Luke: Yes, Google is a perfect example of a name that means something that’s connected to what they do, which is the largest number from remembering correctly, and that relates to the broadness of the searching. It has a connection, and that’s what a good name should do. It should have a tie into an attribute of the culture, or an element of the brand so it makes sense, but it’s not gonna contain that entire story.
I mean, think about Google, what does it mean to you? So many things, right? It’s search, it’s maps, it’s a failed social media platform in Google Plus, but it’s all these things that are attached to that name, but the name has relevance for what the business intended from the beginning. It’s the same with any name that you should come up with.
Heather: And, it’s catchy.
Luke: Yes, and it’s short.
Heather: And, then there’s so much else to do as well, isn’t that a practical level look like business cards, and website redesign, and social media presence, and all that sort of stuff. What do you need to think about?
Luke: Yeah, it is a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the attention that you can get from changing a name, because it is such a drastic thing. Eyes are on you, so you need to develop a complete suite of sales and marketing collateral, as you said, that’s your business cards, digital imprint stationery, social media, website, sales collateral, PowerPoint, or Google Slides or Keynote slide decks.
The whole works you need to consider it, because you never know which one of these is gonna be the first touch point for your market, and you wanna give them the story. Take them on that journey that you’ve just embarked on with this new name, with this new meaning.
Heather: Can it be an expensive exercise? I imagine you’d say yes?
Luke: It depends. There are different depths of the work that’s required. For instance, if you are a local business, and you only intend to trade in your local market then the work to come up with the initial shortlist, and do the freehold name checking is short.
When you’re looking at something that is an international name, one that has to be registrable in AU, or in U.S., in China, in ANZ, then you have to come up with significantly more name options, and you also then expose to things like domain name squatters that are asking for between 500 thousand, and 30, 000, or $100, 000 for the domain name that you wish to acquire for that business name.
And, of course, the other costs of IP lawyers to check the availability in those regions, and registering. Yeah, it can be minimal, five, 10, 000. It could be 50 to 100 depending on really the scope of where you wish to trade.
Heather: Okay, well then communicating your new brand to the outside world, Luke is that an opportunity for a big splash?
Luke: It’s absolutely the opportunity for a splash. I would take that from a smaller medium splash targeted at your market, and your audience, and your people, and then, do it sustained. The point here is you’ve got an opportunity to capture attention, but you can’t tell the entirety of the story in that one splash, so how do you engage them? And, that could be through a lead magnet acquisition process to get them into your list, and then, share that new story with them, because there is a significant change. There is a story around that name you can tell to bring these people into the fold, and turn them into raving fans.
Heather: What are the biggest risks do you think in going through a renaming, and rebranding exercise like this?
Luke: Yes, you can choose the wrong name, and some examples of that are when brands don’t consider what the name means in other languages, other nationalities in which they’re going to enter into the market. The second is that they go ahead, and start trading without checking the availability, and then, have to cease, and desist, and some big lawyers come around knocking on the door.
Heather: All right, well, any final words then on making the absolute most of your decision to rename your business?
Luke: Yeah, the first is don’t get attached to the names that you’re working on, because you will get disappointed. Come up with a lot more than you think. Stay away from trends as far as names, and thoroughly check that its ownable by you in the markets that you’re in, and if you do get stuck seek expert help, because there are plenty of people out there that do this for a living. If you are going to attempt it yourself, or you have somebody that’s gonna do it for you, there are some rules that we follow, which in essence our seven keys to a powerful brand name. I’ll share some of them with you now.
The first is to make sure that it’s meaningful. It has to have some connection to what you do.
The second thing is, it needs to be short, so one, or two syllables, and if you can’t make it that you need to control the nicknames, so think about that with the end in mind. What is the one or two syllable nickname for the brand.
Third is that it has to be spelled correctly. You don’t want to be spelling it out to people on the phone, or having people screw up typing in your email, or your web address.
Now, there are more, and if you wanna go deeper on that you can check out our website. We’ve got a free guide on there. The website is www.thesponge.com.au, and if you have a look at the naming section you’ll our Seven Keys For a Powerful Brand Name.
Peter Lance: Luke Faccini, The Sponge, and that ends Business Essentials podcast. So you don’t miss out on future episodes, why not subscribe? And, if you found this valuable, we’d love you to leave a review. For further information about us, or if you’d like to listen to more interviews like this one visit businessessentials.com.au. We hope you’ve enjoyed Business Essentials podcast. I’m Peter Lance, thanks for listening.