What’s in a name?

Quite a lot actually, especially in franchising.

From the point of view of the brand and franchisees being able to sell what they need to sell, the name has to reflect what the franchise does.

But, once again, I’m starting in the middle.

This is the start of the story: I was approached a couple of weeks ago by a guy who is thinking about franchising his business and, during the course of the conversation, we started talking about the name of his business.

I’m not going to tell you what it actually is, but let’s say it was Smith and Co.  He wanted to use the name for his franchise.  The problem is, unless you’re McDonald’s, you’d be missing a trick when it comes to helping franchisees by not explaining what it is the franchise does in the name.

The very best franchise names tell potential customers exactly what they do and what to expect.  Consider these gems:

  • TaxAssist Accountants
  • Ovenclean
  • Xpress Photography

They all explain, pretty clearly, what the franchise does.  Even the big boys are at it:

  • Burger King
  • Pizza Hut

And so on.

Now consider the name of our business: Derigo.  It’s very clever (being Latin for ‘I guide, I direct’… not, as someone once asked me, because I was a Leeds United fan (which I’m not) and I was very much appreciative of the skill’s of Tony De Rigo).

I like the name, but if I was to franchise the business, it would be a mistake to use it.  It doesn’t say enough about what we do.  I’d need to create a trading name, something like Ace Sales Trainers or People Development Inc. or something like that.

So, I had to tell my potential customer that he needed to consider a new name, one that was more functional, practical and easy to use.

I have to say, he wasn’t best pleased at the prospect but away he went to think about things.

A couple of days ago he called me to relate an experience he had just had.  This guy goes to BNI, the breakfast networking group, every week and he thought he’d try out a new name that he had come up with.

Apparently, one of the other members of the group came up to him after the meeting and said, ‘That’s a brilliant new name… for the first time I really understood what it is that you do!’

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