How my company got its name

One of the hardest things I’ve done as a marketer is choose company and brand names. The name of your company is your first impression. It tells prospects and customers a lot about you. If it’s memorable and stands out in a good way, it can set you up for success. If it is long, hard to say or spell, and hard to remember, you won’t be off to the best start.

When I set out to name my company, Marketing On Purpose, I went through some pretty poor choices out of sheer desperation. I was so eager to start. Eager to network and share my vision, but I had a small nagging issue. I had no name. No name meant no business cards, no Facebook Page, no website. This name problem was causing me to lose momentum. Losing momentum was not something I was willing to do.

It got so bad that I almost went with simply “Hayley Bohan Marketing”. Can you imagine? That would be so off-brand for my business. My business is all about my customers and helping them be successful. Given what I was trying to create, naming my company after myself just seemed wrong.

Next I chose 5Marketing. Why? Because it was a blank canvas. I wasn’t 100% clear on how I was going to bring my vision to life so this was a safe choice. I could make it fit and I could just make most of my blogs and my courses include the number five– like 5 week boot camps and 5 Tips to Name Your Company.  I decided to move forward with this even though I could not bring myself to publish my site or order my business cards under this name that meant nothing to me.

As I continued to build out my strategy and started piloting my methods, I became more uneasy about the name. I decided to try again. I tried to focus more on my customers and did some research to get some interesting ways that would describe them. It was a good exercise and I got a lot of insight into how my target audience viewed themselves and other entrepreneurs. Words like creative, brave, courageous and even crazy made the list. I started meshing them together in a multitude of ways. The most promising was BravesEdge, but again it didn’t feel right, even though I felt it was a nice representation of my clients – brave and cutting edge, and also on the edge of greatness. But, it wasn’t self explanatory and sounded a bit like a hiking trail. Because I had a limited budget to start, I didn’t want a name that didn’t clearly show what line of business I was in. I figured I should include “Marketing” as part of the name.

I decided to put myself through my own strategic boot camp. During this process, I knew my instincts were right to disregard previous front-runners. Neither 5Marketing, nor BravesEdge would do. My business stood for more and I knew I would eventually be in a position to help shape new businesses locally and around the world. Helping to make this world a better place one company at a time was important to me. The way I would do it would become my secret (or not-so-secret) sauce. It all revolves around helping companies build brand strategies atop an unwavering foundation of purpose.

I could envision the beauty that would be created if every company strived to matter more, if every company had a deep, meaningful purpose. I had seen and even experienced what happens when companies don’t have a strong purpose. When motivation to succeed is based only on numbers or ego, many companies struggle to gain momentum. They struggle to stay motivated and to inspire customers and employees. They can also become unfocused and this confuses prospects. And, if we are looking for new customers, the last thing we want is to be unclear and confusing.

So “purpose” in some form of the word would have to find its way in my company name. After living with 5Marketing for four weeks, of this I was certain. Like most great ideas, it came to me out of the blue one day. Marketing On Purpose. And, I fell in love with it. As soon as I changed the name, everything in me shifted. I was more inspired, more driven and definitely prouder of the company I was creating.

The beautiful thing about Marketing On Purpose is that it has a dual meaning and both meanings are extremely relevant to what I am trying to do for my clients.

1- “On Purpose” means purposeful. You’ve got to be purposeful in marketing your business. You need a plan and you need a brand strategy – both of which I offer through my 12-week Strategic Foundation Boot Camp. You don’t have unlimited time and resources so being purposeful is critical.

2- Having “Purpose” is the number one thing I believe a brand strategy must be built upon. It is the essence of the brand and in the 21st century brands with purpose will do better. It’s already been proven many times over.  Purpose is the reason your company exists. It’s the good it will do for your customers, your community or the world. It is the unwavering foundation on which your strategy must be built.

All this to say, when choosing your company name, don’t rush in, and if your current company name is not doing you any favours, don’t be afraid to let it go. Before choosing, do the strategic work. It will open up choices you’d have never considered otherwise. Know your customers, know your purpose and your vision, know your competitive advantage. Then choose a name that will make you proud every day and want to wear the t-shirt!

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