How To Pick A Company/Product Name
In today's episode, I want to dive into the subject of company and product names. I've been getting loads of questions or loads of messages in general about this recently, everything from, what should I call my company or product? Do I need to know what the name is before I start do it? Should I build a website? What if I want to change the name?Loads of different questions, so I thought I would just give you give you my quick hot takes on all things company names, so and product names depending on your circumstances.
Read on for the full transcription or listen to the podcast episode here
So company names…now for transparency sake, I want to stay say right up top that you are speaking with a woman who chose to call her virtual reality company ‘Cats Are NOT Peas’. So instantly, that should give you the most confidence in the world, that you can literally call your company or product, anything and make it sell. I sometimes think that people spend a lot of time and energy thinking about a company name, or the website URL, or I don't know, the branding the logo like, I've got to get the perfect name because then until I do that, I can't get the website and the log and that really needs to be great before I start approaching businesses. I sometimes feel like it's a little bit of an excuse. It can be a little bit of an excuse, a little bit of procrastination, to not do the thing that's actually going to get you results, which is just getting out there and starting. Because the truth is, it doesn't really matter what your name is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't necessarily matter, especially when you're getting started.
Think about you know, the number one? Well, I don't know whether number one but think about like, you know, one of the biggest smartphone companies in the world. Imagine if they were called smartphone global or something rather than apple. Imagine if one of the biggest trainer companies or sneakers depending on where you're from, sneaker companies in the world was called Comfy Trainers USA rather than Nike. Do you see what I'm getting at? Cats Are NOT Peas, my company, I chose that name years before I actually used it as a company name. I was trading under that name, I have it on my invoices, even when I was a freelancer, when I first started my career in 2012. Even before that maybe, I think when I was at university, I was still using, I was using it because and I obviously I've changed careers several times since then but I'm still using the same name. Because the truth is names are made. You don't need to be sitting around stressing and worrying about what to call your company or product because realistically, 9 times out of 10 the name will be made based on your work. So with Cats Are NOT Peas, I think I've done a really good job at building a great brand reputation for the name, because of the work that I've done over the last, you know, four years or so in this industry. Because of the clients that I've worked with, because of the projects that I've delivered, because of the kind of person that I am, that has made Cats Are NOT Peas exist in its own right. Maybe there’s an element to this, because it's memorable, maybe that’s something to think about? Maybe it’s really great marketing tool, because people do remember it because it's so random. But, there's equally probably as many companies with strange names that haven't gone as far in terms of success or brand reputation, as you know, those two companies that I've just kind of used as an example, and that's proof because actually, it doesn't really matter what the company is called if you're not going out there getting work, if you're not going out there delivering on your promise to deliver high quality, valuable content products or services to your clients. Does that make sense? So that's one argument for not really worrying about what to call your company.
I picked my company name that I've loved for years, because now I could literally do anything. If I decided tomorrow to quit VR and go into selling cushions, I could literally keep the same name because it doesn't matter because brands are made and the joke is I could do both of it. For example, at one point, Amazon was just a bookseller. They were just books, and now they're an e commerce juggernaut, the biggest, arguably the biggest company in the world. I mean, I don't know whether that's factually true or not, but one of the biggest companies in the world for sure and now they are doing groceries, and movies and original TV shows, and it's still Amazon. The name doesn't dictate what it is, they do. So don't sit around worrying too much about what the name is, especially if you're just getting started, you can operate under your own name, you know, work under your own name until you decide not to, or don't at all start with a company name. Then, you know revert to using your own name. If you don't like the name or change the name, it genuinely doesn't matter. It genuinely doesn't matter. Anyone that tells you that, is from such an old school marketing and sales background, that I would question whether or not they're giving you the most up to date advice, because the truth is, if you're gonna sit around and spend the next month worrying about what your company or product name is, rather than spending that month going out, getting clients, starting generating revenue, starting building a network, the truth is doesn't matter what you call yourself, because you're not really a company or you're not, you don't really have a business or a product, if you've not started to engage in that way. Does that make sense? It's totally irrelevant.
However…SEO. This, in my opinion, is the only real reason why you would pick a name where it says what it does on the tin. Like, if you want to sell virtual reality training simulator, maybe you should call your company, virtual reality training simulation UK, so that when someone Googles virtual reality training simulation, your website is most likely going to come up. Also what it infers is that you are a specialist, it infers that you do something very, very specific and if someone is looking for a product or service, and they want it quickly, they are most likely to go to someone who is specialist in that. Now, don't get me wrong, that's not a done deal. That's not, you know, they're not going to just pick you purely based on your company name, you would then have to back that up with your product or your quality of communication, your quality of project management, your ability to sell. But potentially, you could drive more inquiries to the business, you could maybe rank a bit higher on Google. If you have a name that is a little bit more practical, so say for example is my good friend, Ben Claremont, who is very well known in the 360 space, who has a massive online following and YouTube channel under his own name, Ben Claremont. His business is called Virtual Tour Pro. Now that says exactly what it does. On the surface in a nutshell, is so specific. So if you want to become a virtual tour professional, chances are you're going to see a product called Virtual Tour Pro, and you're going to instantly be like - oh yeah, that seems like that fits with what I want. But do you see what I mean? Like, the difference is that in that context, someone's reaching out to you, someone already knows what they want vaguely and you happen to be a specialist in that area, or you have a product that is a specialist in that area. And so therefore, it can sometimes be beneficial to have a super specific name. So that when people come in, they instantly say - okay, yeah, that makes sense.
Whereas, for example, if someone was looking specifically for, I don't know, let's say, virtual reality unconscious bias training, and they came across a website like mine, which I mean my website is trash anyway because I've literally done zero with it, but if you found a company called Cats Are NOT Peas and you're a big corporate looking for unconscious bias training, you might be like, you might see that as an award winning virtual reality studio but instantly, you're going to probably think - oh, that seems a little bit too artsy and out there and wacky, which is exactly what I wanted that company to represent. I wanted it to feel big and aspirational and although I do that kind of work and usually it's through word of mouth recommendation, I've worked with those kind of companies, I can get those word of mouth referrals. And I've got enough of a portfolio to back up what I'm doing. Whereas if a big company wanted that specific thing, and they googled it, and they found a company called VR unconscious bias training UK, they might be more inclined to click on it, to find out a bit more about the company, because it seems logical, right? Like - oh, I want virtual reality unconscious bias training, this company website is literally called VR unconscious bias training UK, I'm based in the UK, and I want that product. So I'm going to click on that to see what they're offering and then if it's a good fit, if it looks like the product that they're selling, is really specifically perfect for their needs, then they're more likely to make an inquiry, does that make sense? So potentially, using a very specific name can have benefits long term, from an SEO point of view, and from an inbound inquiry.
But when you're just getting started, the chances of you running a website that SEO is really high and having a product that competes with some of the bigger, kind of more established kind of names, isn’t unlikely. It’s just gonna take a lot of hard work and a bit of upfront cash to be able to invest or just, you know, a lot of time and knowing what you're doing in terms of SEO properly and all of that kind of jazz, I'm not going to get into today. So realistically, unless you're a bit more advanced, and a bit more kind of further down the kind of business product journey, I wouldn't worry too much, I would literally get out there, start making connections, start getting clients, start getting work, start getting a portfolio, and then down the line, if you want to specialise.
I actually had a kind of a client in a former life between TV and finding VR phase, I basically worked for a company who were one big umbrella company, I won't use the name just in case, this isn't common knowledge, because I don't actually know whether people know this. But they then had four other websites that were very specific to what they did. So for this particular company, they did very specific explain animations for big brands that wanted to communicate internally with their employees. So they had a website that was very, I can't obviously use the name, but it was a very specific website that kind of showed that product. And they had like, I think it was between three and five different websites that all had a different slightly different name, but all basically selling the same product. And then what would happen is the inquiries would come through those websites, and then the actual umbrella company, the actual production company behind all of those companies would then actually be the one doing the work or would be the one to make the sale, the same team, same production company, just lots of different websites. So the website names were being used for marketing purposes, but the actual company name itself was something totally different. So that's also another way to go down but again, that's quite advanced. That's quite far down the line if that's something you're considering. But for now, don’t sit around waiting for inspiration strike, to have the perfect name before you get started, just go. Because either you will make that company name with the brilliant, outstanding work that you deliver or you can pivot later on down the line and be super specialist and super specific and use that as a marketing tool. So that's it. That's kind of all my advice on this general topic. Obviously, everyone's got their own opinion on these things but I thought I would just kind of share mine just because obviously I've had experience building a company with a stupid name. And by stupid I mean absolutely goddamn marvellous. So don't spend loads of time stressing about it. Just get out there.
Listen to the Alex Makes VR podcast here
Subscribe to the newsletter here
Follow Alex on Instagram here