To our fellow business owner friends, we write this blog as a plea to all of you to resist one of the most egregious attacks on your initial marketing plans. It is with great emphasis that we beg you not to preemptively attack your brand position before you determine your business’s chance of success. The “Three Letter Name” strategy does not work. In fact, it’s hard to find an instance where it has worked (as a recognizable brand) since International Business Machines (IBM) made it work in the 1920’s. IBM employs about 433,000 thousand people worldwide and has been in business (under different names) since 1896. As a business starting out, it is unlikely that you will be able to dominate three letters in the alphabet – especially when you consider, for whatever reason, a large percentage of your competitors and a large percentage of companies in other industries are, for some unknown reason, seeking to destroy their first marketing option at the same time. Please. We implore you. Stop the madness!
Three letter names mean nothing to your potential clients. They will not remember them. They have no idea what the meaning of each letter is. They have no time to look into it. And consequently, they will either forget you or file you with a group of other unknown potential suppliers. There are 1,013,913 words in the English Language! Perhaps there is twice that many if you get creative using slang and variations. There are trillions of combinations of words to use. There are 26 letters in the alphabet (meaning there are about 17,576 variations of a three letter combo). Which do you think is easier to develop a brand with?
Here’s an example:
We’ll use this example because the owner is a close, personal friend of Iconic Partners and the company name is now defunct (at the command of their marketing friends). The company was called PDS. It stood for Performance Driven Solutions – not the most unique name, but certainly much easier to brand than PDS. Here are some of the problems with PDS as a brand:
- Search “PDS” in Google. It returns 123,000,000 results. We know a lot of really good SEO people. Getting to the top of that search query would challenge all of them. Among the results: stock ticker symbols, government agencies, etc.
- The company did outsourced telemarketing. Do you have any sense of that when you see “PDS”?
- Pretend you are a client. I give you two competitors: “PDS” and the fictional “Targeted Lead Monsters”. Which do you instantly want to know more about? Who are you more likely to invite into a meeting out of the two? Who are you more likely to search (and FIND!)? What the hell is a “Lead Monster” anyway? Sounds cool! It will be easy to find since nobody on Google uses that combination of words.
- Think of branding. Here are your options with PDS: lots of different fonts… oh and colors. Think of your options with Targeted Lead Monsters… pretty cool, right?
The point is, when you are starting a business, you likely have a great idea, a ton of energy, and a beautiful and poetic view of the future. One of the first marketing decisions you will make is your name. That decision will influence countless business and marketing strategies from that point on. In a world where marketing noise is so hard to get through and provides an extreme barrier to new entrants in the market, don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you have a chance to take your first step. Good branding decisions pay high dividends. Poor branding decisions can kill businesses. Have fun with your name. Tell us what you do. Keep in mind, most of us are busy, inundated with marketing messages, and/or lazy when it comes to picking a supplier. Don’t make us decipher a 3 letter naming code to do business with you. Need help building an awesome, memorable brand? Click Here!