Ever have customers walk through your door and ask: “What do you guys do?” Or worse yet, think your business provides something else when you don’t even have that product or service? The problem for this might be very simple. The business didn’t put much thought, research and strategy into its business name.

The name you chose for your business is the first impression you’ll make on the community and customers. It must instill confidence, leadership and give a clear understanding of your business identity. By business identity, I mean simply stating what you do or provide.

This might seem very elementary as you read this article, but it’s a mistake many business owners make time and again. What are the most common mistakes? Not stating what you do or provide. To illustrate this point, how interested are you in shopping at Smith & Jones? As a company with a nondescript company name, can you tell what it provides and whether or not you’re interested in its services? I didn’t think so.

Another mistake I’ve noticed is there’s no or little consideration on how the business name will be effected in the digital world. Once you pick that business name you need to see what website domain name can be attached to it. The website domain also has to be simple and easy to remember. A dot com is preferred, which is the most common on the digital frontier.

Avoid business name clichés whenever possible, and yes we have them in North Dakota. Some of the top clichés for business names in our great state are Dakota, Roughrider, Northern and Prairie to name a few.

An outside and unbiased perspective might be the marketing medicine you need for a better business name. Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of your business, a marketing agency can create a strategy based around the developed business name. Once that business name is selected a slogan is created to reinforce the business. A fine example is Papa John’s: “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.” It’s clear, simple and easy to understand.

If you’re suffering from an identity crisis, a new name with a marketing strategy might be the best solution. When you’re getting too many customers saying, “What do you guys do?” it might be time to make some changes. A new business name might be the thing to create a better brand with a better identity.


To “be known in 60” with a marketing strategy created for your business, find us online at www.knownin60.com

Justin Harmon is a manager and branding strategist for Known In 60 Media.

He can be reached at