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What’s in a Name? Not Much
 

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After spending the better part of a year interviewing a dozen renowned entrepreneurs, I was amazed to discover their disparate views on the importance of naming their companies.

In fact, only one of the 12 -- Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com -- felt the name he selected was indispensable and key to branding his company. Surprisingly, not even Starbuck's co-founder Jerry Baldwin felt the name was essential.

Some of the other business leaders I consulted with -- such as Ben & Jerry's Homemade founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cosmetics expert Bobbi Brown, Wally "Famous" Amos, Kate Spade, and David Oreck -- named their companies in part or entirely after themselves. While this group felt it helped bring brand accountability and provide some level of differentiation, they did not believe the company name was essential in creating the brand. They unanimously agreed the best way to build a powerful brand identity is to offer unmatched quality, exceptional service, and consumer-centric products or services that focus on their customers' needs and wants.

Moreover, money was not their primary motivation. Rather, the key to differentiation and success was fulfilling their missions and giving consumers unparalleled quality and intelligent products that resonated with them. Roxanne Quimby from Burt's Bees and David Neeleman of JetBlue, whom I also interviewed, exemplify the fact that a powerful and heartfelt mission statement can go far in building a connective brand. Neither of these two business leaders believed their name was a primary factor in branding their company.

Businesses can learn from this by being more authentic and addressing the real needs of their customers, rather than creating marketing campaigns and ignoring the brand promise.

Last updated: Aug 15, 2008




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