One of the most common—and difficult—tasks I undertake for online clients is helping them name or rename products and services. In many cases, this involves modifying an existing name for online use.
An example of this would be a crafts product called Urble Soapz. This is a name that looks cute on a tag in a retail shop or crafts show but is certain death online, where people are searching for “herbal soaps.” Or a service that a company’s internal team has always called “multiple viewpoint advocacy” but anyone coming to their website would think of as “group work” or “collaboration.”
I have been involved in one or two situations in which not just a product or service, but the entire company name, needed to be changed to become more web-friendly or user-friendly. In most cases, this meant that the name got longer, vaguer, and indisputably worse.
Guy Kawasaki’s blog called my attention to a well-written report on company name changes done by Strategic Name Development. If you are in the middle of naming or renaming a business entity, I strongly recommend studying the before-and-after comparisons. This is a real “read it and weep” document.
2 thoughts on “Words count: Changing a name”
I stumbled across your blog post and it’s one of those things I’ll keep filed away in the back of my head. I hadn’t given much thought to the way a name can create preconcieved notions in the mind of the potential customer. Thanks for pointing that out. You’re right, what looks cute on a tag in a gift shop might do nothing for your search engine placement or letting the online public know what you offer.
Having chewed on your post a few days, it might have contributed to falling over the edge and changing the name of my own blog. I had named it “Book Outlook” but didn’t feel it was very creative, and to me it sounded like a publishing site or a “what’s new in books” blog. So I decided to go with “Coffee-Writer”, and although it sounds like I write about coffee, I think people can get the idea I use coffee to fuel my writing. With that, it goes with a more playful tone, I think, and more the approach I wanted to take.
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. That was also helpful because it pointed out how people decide what your blog is about by the last five posts. I’ve been writing about noir this month, but have covered other genres too, so I realized I have to leave links to other topics on my front page.