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What's in a Name?

Keith Stacey
Whats In A Name

We are surrounded by competing signage on billboards, buildings and particularly on all types of vehicles from buses to mopeds. The name of any business is a chance to build a unique and recognisable brand - to stand out from the crowd. Whilst on the Gold Coast recently, two examples caught my eye: a truck with Rarely Late Freight and a ute with McNab Relationship Builders.


The first is unique in its honesty as it admits that yes, we are sometimes late, but then again in this day and age of supply chain interruption, who isn’t? The name structures the expectations of customers in an important way. Through our name, we are already communicating with our counterparty before we even sit down at the table with them.


In the second, ‘McNab Relationship Builders’ - the message is subtle. Every transaction has an element of establishing or building a relationship between the parties. Relationships involve trust and commitment. Building projects are often fraught with variations and changes in client requirements and these all have the potential to create conflict. By acknowledging the importance of relationships in the business name, a commitment has been made to adopt behaviours that ensure the relationship is maintained throughout ‘the build’ and beyond.


Furthermore, some business names use speed synonyms to make a promise to customers. They are following in the example of the Pony Express. So we have Express Plumbing, Border Express, Quikprint, Pronto Concrete and Fast Couriers. Having made those promises to customers, the pressure is on to deliver. `


The sun has also been revered in many religions, so it too is prominent in business names -Suncorp, Suntory, Sunpower, Solar Edge. An examination of the top 50 ASX companies, lists only two with any reference to what they actually do, let alone promise.


In the world of discounting and bargains we have also had a number of crazies - Crazy Clark’s, Crazy John’s (both no longer operating). There has also been Chickenfeed, The Reject Shop and Shiploads.


A recent example of the power of describing the business and the benefit to the consumer is the ‘buy now pay later’ sector with AfterPay, FuturePay, Deferit, Splitit and FuPay all giving consumers the instant gratification of goods now and future payment in instalments.


And of course, there’s the wonderful MissChu, an Asian street food business founded in Sydney and specializing in home delivery, using their own fleet of mopeds. These were emblazoned with the unforgettable ‘you ling we bling’ promise. Perhaps uncomfortable with our current sensitivities to stereotypes and ‘race’, but certainly memorable. The chain has survived in Melbourne: it expanded overseas, but sadly went out of business.


So, what’s in a name? Your promise, your commitment, and your values.  A lot.


Happy negotiating!

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