What’s in a name?

Well, quite a lot, actually, especially if you are a franchisor… and especially if you are a new franchisor.

I was thinking about names and catch phrases as I was on the lovely journey from Birmingham to Edinburgh (A38, M6, A74, A702 – home) yesterday.

For some reason I was paying more than usual attention to the straplines on the side of lorries and, I have to say, there were some real corkers.  How about this one:

  • Quality is King and King is Quality

This was on the side of a lorry that also said M R King & Son: Specialist Removals.

And my favourite from yesterday:

  • Simply the Beast

This one under the name Blaydons Livestock Transport.  Genius.

This got me thinking even more and I remembered a pavement sign in Edinburgh: Latte and a muffin: £2.50.  Savebucks!

But still my favourite, from the side of a van in central London more than 10 years ago:

  • You’ve used the cowboys, now try the Indians

The business?  Patel & Son, Builders!

I was thinking about all this because in franchising it’s pretty important to get the name right.  Generally speaking the name (or at least the strapline) has to make it very clear what it is the business does.  Look at some of these names and see if you can guess what the franchisee is expected to do:

  • Ovenclean
  • The Flat Roof Company
  • Furniture Medic

See what I mean?  Of course, there can be variations using a strapline: Greensleeves – Lawn Treatment Experts works brilliantly well, too.

The problem with not being clear about what you do in your name is that you create extra work for your franchisees.  For example, potential customers have to guess what the service is from the logo or your marketing has to be tip top explaining what the service is in just a few words or pictures.

Of course, when you have a strong name and logo it’s vital that you get them protected (and, if it was me, I’d get some legal protection even if I was simply contemplating the franchise route.)

There are always exceptions to the rule… and the name being so explicit becomes less important the better established you are.  Let me give you an example.  McDonald’s and the golden arches.  The franchise carries the name of the McDonald brothers who set up the chain in the 50s.  The golden arches have nothing to do with burgers either, but we all know the product from the logo.

So, unless you are a McDonald’s equivalent, the best advice I can give you is think very carefully about your name, logo and make sure you get them protected.

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