What’s in a name?

Quite a lot actually…

I’m working closely with a guy who is working with a business that is franchising for the first time.

It’s a good business model; well researched, capitalised and tested.

My colleague has been tasked with putting the full franchise package together, designing the system from the ground up, if you will.

But he has a frustration. He can’t use the business name for the franchise, it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t say what the business does, what it is or anything of the sort. And really you need that in franchising, particularly if you’re new to the market and you aren’t McDonalds.

(Just think about that for a second… it’s only because McDs have been about so long that they get away with that name; their rivals were actually much more sensible in the name game: Burger King, Pizza Hut, et al.)

Anyway, back to our case…

My colleague is now at an impasse because there is quite a debate in the business about the name and he really can’t get cracking with the rest of the marketing stuff…

For example, securing web addresses, Facebook and Twitter pages, getting the logo designed, really getting into the fine detail of the product, developing the brand messages and so on.

So, when we ask, what’s in a name, there is an awful lot. Particularly in franchising and particularly for a new franchise just getting off the ground. But what exactly, makes a good name?

Here is a top five rundown of naming factors (cue the top 40 music):

  1. It has to be short, sweet and easily pronounced. Coca Cola… four syllables, symmetrical and rolls off the tongue.
  2. Unique within your industry. It doesn’t have to be strange, bizarre or any of those wired and wonderful names that don’t mean anything (remember Consignia), but it shouldn’t sound like anything else.
  3. Describe what you do. Think of Ovenclean or Driver Hire. Kind of says what it does on the tin.
  4. It has to be available and you have to be able to defend it legally. That means you have to be able to stop other people ripping off your name, which means trademark. You won’t get a trademark if the name is generic and the phrase you choose is in everyday use.
  5. Will not age quickly. I have a suspicion that The Text Masters might not mean anything in a few short years.

So, there we have it.

Naming your franchise is very important to so much else. And, when you come to think about it, it’s got to be something you’re proud of. After all, you’re going to be thinking about it pretty much 24/7 for the next ten years.

Please leave a comment - we all like them