I was talking with Chris one morning and we stumbled into an interesting discussion. What do you think of when you hear of some famous company names for the first time?
- Burger King and McDonalds – If you heard these two for the first time which would make you think ‘delicious’ and which would make you think tools or something?
- Maceys and Forbes – Would you know the difference between a clothing store and a business magazine? Using a last name tells me nothing about a company. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are awesome extensions of Sam Walton’s name.
- General Motors, Ford, Toyota – Hmm, I’d think General Motors is probably something to do with motors. Cars though? Perhaps. Ford and Toyota? No way.
- Safeway – First aid? Airbag manufacturer?
- Flickr – Something to do with light. A camera flash.
- meebo – Something about myself but I’d never think instant messaging.
- Pandora – Something bad, cluttered, uncontrollable. Wow, isn’t it all about the opposite?
- Google – I know everyone in elementary school was fascinated by the word ‘googolplex’ I’m sure I’d think of “a lot” and maybe math. Search, though? Never.
- OK Dork– Uh….
It’s amazing how many companies actually use family names. Check out the Fortune 100 list: Wells Fargo, Sears, McKesson, Morgan Stanley, Time Warner, Walgreens, Lockheed Martin, Lowes, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Merrill Lynch, Walt Disney, etc.
So, when you’re spending hours coming up with a name for your new company, product, service or feature maybe it’s not worth your time. If it’s good the name will follow…
Feel free to prove me wrong…