Naming a business or product can be tricky business.
It isn’t any secret that companies have secrets. They also have names. How to name a business can be a make or break decision. Names are something many companies work hard on and spend a lot of money to protect. Try and sell a soda called Cola-Coke. As soon as the folks in Atlanta get wind of it, the lawyers will run you out of business. This is why naming a business is so tricky.
Recently I was approached by a company to feature a product on COOLTOYS® TV. The person claimed to have complete rights to the name. A little research showed otherwise. Putting that product on our show might have led to a lawsuit. At the minimum the company that owns the name could make us pull the episode. That would be a very expensive way to not have a show for a week.
Business Products and names can be a very expensive creative process. Think about energy drinks and what comes to mind? Red Bull? Monster? Bang? If you just say those words, does “Energy Drink” pop into your head? With Red Bull yes, but Monster and Bang, probably not so much. Since Monster could be “Sully” from Monsters Inc, or Godzilla, the brand name is a little vague. But have you ever seen a red bull? I haven’t. The two words mean energy drink to me.
Automatically having a consumer connect a name to a product is a result of finding a great name and spending a lot of money marketing (building) that connection. I am sure the first time someone looked at a can of Red Bull and tasted it, the response wasn’t “Red Bull gives you wings”. That was a long creative process. My hat is off to the group that built that brand.
Many years ago I started a blog about all the cool stuff my wife didn’t want to talk about. Since I owned a medium sized home theater design and installation business, I had a lot of cool toys. Over time I started racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons and doing more “cool things”. Had I trademarked the name early on, I might have been in good shape but it was just a blog so I didn’t bother.
Years after I sold the home theater business, the blog turned into a vlog. I named the vlog Tech-Tach-Dough. Tech was obvious. Tach was all the fun toys that had an engine and dough simply being money. The three things I liked to learn about and talk about. The original blog name stayed with the blog.
At first the name Tech-Tach-Dough didn’t have traction, so I merged the blog and vlog under the blog name and found out that the name worked immediately. For legal reasons I can’t use the name here. The vlog took off and I turned it into a web series. As the show grew, an attorney suggested I trademark the name. That is where the problems began. Another company who I still believe still went way out of their trademark range, gave me a very expensive lesson in trademark law. Basically if they have money and you don’t, they win.
In 2007 when I started the Blog, they were a little company. In 2018 when the vlog became a web series and I was naming the show, they had grown. Over the course of the year that I spent fighting them, I didn’t pay attention to my other domain names. One of which I already had a trademark on. They were grabbed and the price to get them back is beyond their value to me.
Ironically, the Tech-Tach-Dough name was starting to get some traction because the early videos were starting get some fan recognition. Sort of the Red Bull type name thing. Once the connection is finally made it sticks. Unfortunately that is one of the domains I didn’t pay attention to and it was lost.
Moving forward I have an entirely different approach to naming my new ventures. Fan2Stage was an easy one to name, everyone in the test group got it, and we received the trade name with no contest. When you look at how to name a business, there are two ways to go. A name that makes sense and connects quickly, or a name that isn’t related and is unique. In the second one, the marketing is about the connection, so once made, it sticks.
What’s your business name doing for you?
If you need help naming your business or a new product, give us a call!