David Placek is the branding genius behind some of the biggest names in the technology world. The words Sonos, Intel Pentium, Apple PowerBook, Blackberry, Gimlet podcasts (home of Reply All), and the Impossible burger, all came from David’s branding company, Lexicon Branding. In 2014 Placek released a book which I’d love to read – but can’t find for purchase. Luckily for me, and for you, Om Malik recapped the book in his blog recently.
I’ll let you click through to Om’s fantastic post, but the points Om and David bring for naming a startup today are equally translatable to celebrants.
If you’ve ever talked to me about celebrant branding you know I’ve got strong thoughts on the matter.
If you’re thinking about re-branding – or simple branding – yourself, these are some important thoughts on your brand name.
- Names are tools for moving your message forward. Never forget that your name is the one thing other celebrants cannot take away from you.
- Don’t be boring or weird. One of Albert Einstein’s most popular quotes applies to brand names: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
- Keep it simple: Who it’s for, what it does, and why people should buy it. < strong >Clarity is the language of leadership.
- Make every letter count. Don’t spend all of your energies on meaning. Sound and letter structure is equally important. JB HiFi, for example, it feels nice in the mouth and the ears.
- Use short words. “Sonos was selected for its seamless nature and its ability, in just five letters, to support the idea of an operating system for sound,” Placek writes.
- Never make a statement when you can tell a story. The name tells a story.
- Don’t use superlatives. They only lead your customers to discount your story. The last thing they want is another overpromise. #greatestcelebrantkalgoorlie
- Make a promise and deliver on it. Apple’s Powerbook, which fundamentally changed expectations for computers, was a good example.
- Start with what you want people to call you. My name is Joshua, for example, but I like Josh, so I wouldn’t call myself Joshua’s Celebrancy World.
- You can have levels of branding. For my brand I simply like “Josh Withers” but in a formal capacity I call myself “Josh Withers Wedding Celebrant” after realising that normal people didn’t call marriage celebrants, marriage celebrants, they called them wedding celebrants. On top of that, if it’s required or if there’s space, I’ll call myself “Josh Withers Wedding Celebrant, the official celebrant of fun” because I like that trope of “official brand of x”.
- Find a short name you can use everywhere online. In an ideal world, you’ll get Facebook.com/brandname, @brandname on Instagram, @brandname on Twitter, @brandname on Snapchat, and brandname.com alongside brandname.com.au for your domain name, which will give you firstname.lastname@example.org for an email address. That brand reinforcement across all of your online assets will serve you so well into the future. I forever regret not snapping up @joshwithers on everything.
- Be you, not someone else. On the chance that you are a person who’s brand name is “Married By Name” I want you to know that I love you and hold no negative thoughts toward you. When I thought of “Married By Josh” in 2009 I thought it was cool and original, but a quick search for “married by” on Instagram will quickly reveal it’s not that original anymore. I’m not your mum, you can name yourself anything you please, but I left the “Married By Josh” branding about a year ago and have never felt more empowered. Own the fact that you were born you, and you’re 100% valid as a you, because you’re the only you worth knowing.