Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's in a Name?

We've all heard of elevator pitches and boiler plate pitches; fag packet pitches and even pitches in 140 characters or less. But, what about pitching with your company/product name (as well as your logo and strap-line)? Most times this is all you’ll get. 

The common theme is the impatience of those whose attention you want. No time to rough 'em up a bit - it's got to be a knock-out punch straight from the bell!

The best advertising might be free, but most free advertising will feature just your name; likely in copy, text chat, Twitter handle even. A good name is an advert.

Just like the first set in an epic five set tennis match, the first session of 31 frames of snooker or the first day of an Ashes test: you can't win in the early stages - with these early decisions, but you can lose. Get this wrong and you might as well pack up and go home!

So just what do you want to say with your SaaS identity? You want to convey those things that will likely appeal to your customer base. You want to convey that you are a high-tech, web 2.0, SaaS, design (usability) led, responsible, reliable, robust, customer orientated, technically proficient, world class, imaginative, creative, innovative, disruptive, technology service organisation, specialising in *****(whatever). Shall I go on? If you can convey all this with your name then job done! Drop me a line and tell me where I might buy shares :)

So naming your SaaS product is extremely important. There are many things to consider. It’s a key marketing element. You want to tell the world you exist; who you are and what you do. There are many tricks and clues. For example, the current vogue for two or more words joined together with capitalisation for each word works. Instantly it implies technology; web 2.0. Of course it doesn’t mean you’re not these if you don’t employ this technique, but use it and you can move the conversation on quickly.

This article was kind of prompted by a recent bit of hand-bagging between a couple of SaaS support solutions. In short there was an implication of one being a copy-cat. The basis for this seemed to be because both used ‘desk’ in their name. Without getting involved in the argument (cos I don’t care and its beside the point), what both companies are doing is simply using a recognised identifying tag to let people know what they do. I know that desk in a product name is an indicator that it is likely a support/customer service solution. A potential customer certainly would. That out of the way, both vendor and client can then move on to the next part of the process. And closer to the money! Simples.

So the goal when choosing a name is to have one that, when inserted into a piece of a copy or even when written on a blank page with no other identifiers, the reader has a good idea of what the offering might be. The next goal is to imply that you are proficient and one of the very best in that field. That's where your logo and strap-line come in. More on that next time.

Update: Another great support/customer service solution Assistly has recently been acquired by Salesforce. It is has since been getting the full rebrand makeover. Now Salesforce know a thing or two about branding and they've also got a couple of quid. The first big announcement was renaming the service to...Desk! They realise just how important this name matched to the (not cheap) .com is in defining their solution and ultimately its success. The big question is of course, did they read this post first?

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