Friday, August 24, 2007

Your Name can make or break you


Your Name can make or break you

Do you know the song by Johnny Cash titled, “A Boy Named Sue

The song starts out like this:

“My daddy left home when I was three

And he didn't leave much to ma and me

Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.

Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid

But the meanest thing that he ever did

Was before he left, he went and named me ‘Sue.’”


It’s a catchy tune with an “ah shucks” theme.

The song points out the influence a name might have on a person. The logic for the absent father in naming his son Sue was explained in this verse:


“And he said: ‘Son, this world is rough

And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough

And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.

So I give ya that name and I said goodbye

I knew you'd have to get tough or die

And it's the name that helped to make you strong.’”


Most parents study books of names to find the right sound and meaning for their child. If they had more than first and last name they might even write down the initials to check that it doesn’t form some inappropriate acronym.

Don’t ask me how and why Frank Zappa named his children; Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuuhka Rodan and Diva Thin. I imagine there was more than one day when those kids wished they were named Sue – even the boys. Even his albums had better names.

I’m lucky. My parents called me George and I am quite happy with that.

If only business owners invested more thinking in how they pick their company names.

Law firms have the worst names. The names sound boring, unimaginative and unmemorable. Most of them sound the same. It’s all a variation of Smith, Smithwicks and Smithers. Don’t they realize that people can generally only remember one name? Cleary, Cher and Madonna understand that.

There is the horde of entrepreneurs like Bob Smith, (imaginary person) who name their company BS Enterprises, (because they don’t know what they will sell and don’t want their customers to know either; BS and Associates, (because they want to sound bigger and might have associates one day) or BS Services (because they think that keeps their options open and they heard that the service sector was growing).

Let’s look at company and product names in future posts. The topics that come to mind are good and bad examples, the criteria in picking a name and the challenges.

Here is an interesting and helpful website on the topic of business names. The company is named Strategic Name Development. A good name because it tells you what they do. Their website has some helpful articles and background on language and words.

Their blog is named Name Wire – another good name because it is easy to remember and fits nicely with what they do.


George Torok
Marketing Specialist

Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Host of Business in Motion

1 comment:

Rafael said...

The people needs easy names to remember and talk.