What’s in a Name?
When I used to work on Broadway shows most producers when looking at whether they liked a piece would always address the importance of the title of the show. If you had a title that was too confusing for the audience or didn’t communicate what it was they were about to see in some way, you had an uphill battle. Now that didn’t mean that shows with bad titles didn’t sometimes succeed, but the majority of shows that have lasted have a title that carries with it a very strong message about the content of the show. Look at anything currently running on Broadway for more than five years and you’ll notice that the title is one that even if you haven’t been in the theatre world is clear to you. Shows live and die by what they are called.
The same is true for companies people start and services they provide.
It seems a little over the top to say that your business is a Broadway show, but when you really break it down, that’s what it is. You are dependent on your audience understanding who you are what you do in a very short period of time and your consumer is presented with an endless array of choices that they can make as to where to spend their time and money. This means if you are running your own business or selling someone else’s you need to think about titles like a Broadway producer. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Spend time on your title – Think very carefully about what you want to be called, because it will be the way that you are introduced to every new prospect that you meet. Many people just throw their name in front of a generic term like “consulting” when naming their business and then the consumer has to do additional work to figure out what that term even means. Think to yourself, if I were looking at the name of my company from the outside would I have any idea what it is that I do?
- Make your audience feel something - When looking at the title of your business or describing what it is that you do, always ask if there is an emotion that can be attached to it. How does someone feel when they read a title like Wicked or Jersey Boys? What emotions are conjured up? How does someone feel when they hear the name of your business? Are they intrigued? Do they want more? Or do they glaze over and look bored? If you make people feel something when they look at a name, you’ll have someone who will listen to your message.
- Think about your audience - All too often titles are chosen without thinking about the audience that may attend them. In the best case scenario the audience goes to see the show and is a little surprised at what they saw, in the worst case scenario they bring their kids to a show where the f-bomb is dropped every five minutes. Your customers look at your title and make a decision if what you do is for them or not. Give them enough information to make an informed decision and don’t be afraid to make a choice about who you’re NOT for. All too often we come up with titles that we hope will be universal, but as any great marketer knows, If you advertise yourself as a product for everybody, you’re a product for nobody.
A good title can absolutely transform the way someone looks at your business, yet many people spend little to no time thinking of it.
If you had to present your business on the Big White Way what would you call it?
What would you want people to feel when they read about it?
Make these decisions now or, like it or not, your potential clients will make them for you.
So what’s in a name?
The answer is more than you think.