Don’t panic I am not writing a blog to discuss whether my daughter needs a new name. I am pretty set on that, I actually really love her name. But I have been thinking about my own business and did I make the right choice this time last year when deciding on a name?
Here’s one thing I’ve learned, when Dan and I where deciding on names for our baby it was much easier than naming my business. First of all, with baby names there are only two people who have a say in the decision. It’s a simple democratic process where we ‘the mum’ always has veto power over anything the father decides to come up with. I will admit girl’s names did come far more easily to us than boys and long before my due date we had the favourites decided for either a girl or a boy.
With my business name, it was based more on my emotion at the time. I had just lost my job, no maternity pay, and feeling like I was drifting. I was very much relying on the support, help, guidance from family and friends. I also wanted a brand name that reflected everything about me: loyal, trustworthy, hard working and the importance of friendships to me.
Amicitia was the perfect choice – it’s Latin translation means friendship. (amicitia) was a voluntary relation between two persons ideally based on affection but strongly regulated by ethical norms and social expectations. Exactly what I believe should be the foundations of all businesses.
However, I am in the marketing industry and I know it is important to differentiate your business but the name is important and not all about emotion. We all know lots of companies go to the trouble of changing their names down the line, especially if they haven’t got it quite right. I also know Amcitia is not the easiest name to pronounce but will this actually have a disadvantage to my business?
Well It might.
According Daniel M. Oppenheimer, a psychology professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, harder-to-pronounce names made people less likely to purchase goods, and politicians with difficult names had more trouble in polls.
Because people associate easy to process information - clear, simple language -with positive qualities such as confidence, intelligence, and capability. If the public has difficulties identifying how to say a company name, it creates contention in the market that could end up hurting the brand.
But, I refuse to be totally negative about my choice of business name. I mean celebs pick unusually names for their children and although they may get some odd remarks, we do all remember their names (Cruise, Apple, North, Future). Also, there are some huge brands that I personally love (especially in the world of fashion) that have difficult names that many of us are still pronouncing wrong.
Brands such as Hoegaarden, Nutella, Tag Heuer, IKEA, Hyundai, Porsche, MOSCHINO, HERMES, OCADO, HUBLOT, GIVENCHY, BALMAIN PARIS, Volkswagen, Adidas, Adobe, to name a few have been mispronounced all the time.
And there are plenty more!
But I can’t bury my head in the sand and not think about how having a difficult name might affect people being able to remember, find, or work with me. If people are getting lost at the company name, then they can't move on to see what my company actually does. While a contentious company pronunciation does not predicate failure (as seen from the highly successful brands listed above), it does create the challenge of getting everyone clearly talking about the same brand, my brand. Most importantly you can't share it if you can't say it.
So, I am thinking of renaming to AM Agency. It stills stands for Amicitia, it still has the same story behind the name but it's a little easier to remember and of course spell.
But before I head off and spending money to rebrand I would love to hear what you think - should I rename my baby before its first birthday?