A little something that’s been floating around in my mind for a while… the ins and outs of renaming your business. (Featuring the unforgettable Amsterdam houseboat from my semi-annual month off in May.)

Renaming your business

Rebranding or renaming your business

I’ve had at least three clients bring this up over the last month. Something is definitely in that summer air — perhaps a breeze of inspiration?

Okay, all that poetic jargon aside, let’s talk about this. How do you truly decide on the best brand name, especially if you’re writing over an old brand name?

Here’s what I recommend taking into consideration:

What to consider when renaming your business

1. What do you do?

How will the name of your business convey what you do? Even if your business doesn’t necessarily say, “Photography” or “Copywriting,” is there something in the name that relates to your approach, or your services?

Now, a very literal brand name such as, “Arizona Wedding Photography” is yes, quite vanilla, but literal names can improve your SEO! Imagine if you owned the URL for the very keyword potential clients are typing into Google. That would send quite a bit of traffic your way because ultimately, if your business is named after that search, you’ll have quite a bit of weight or authority for that phrase, which means Google will rank you higher.

All that aside, usually those names have long since been taken (like by all the lovely people in the early 2000’s who bought any of the standard URLs they could think of…). So, then you opt for something more creative. Which leads me to…

2. Who is your target audience?

I know this evolves over time, but perhaps that evolution is something you should consider too! Who are you talking to now, what kind of clients are you currently booking, and who do you want to book in 5 to 10 years from now?

What kind of language in your brand name will resonate with them?

3. Is this a trend or does it hold a deeper meaning?

A trendy business name can make or break you. For one, it is undeniably pretty dang cool to catch that wave and ride it out. It’s trending, which means it’s popular and you’ll fit right in. And maybe some clients will really dig that.

But the thing is, you usually do not want to fit in when naming your brand. The point of a brand at all is to stand out and step into your very own thing. How will potentially clients notice you if you sound like everyone else?

For a while, I was seeing a lot of brand names with things that were really earthy and moody (very similar to the photography editing style that was popular). Cedar, oak, aspen… And gosh, to be frank, those may never go out of style. I think I might go add “Aspen” to the list of potential kids’ names I have saved on my phone.

Okay, but where were we? Right — trends. Sometimes, those trends aren’t just a trend to us. They can be a part of pop culture that totally defines our personalities. And when that trend fades, you’ll stay true to it because it was a part of who you are and what you want your brand to portray. In that case, you’ll be fine. Why? Let me tell you.

4. Is this a concept that you can really stick with and make your own?

I would say that most business owners who come to me wanting to rename their businesses, are those who picked a name without too much thought or connection to it. It was unique, the URL was available and they could imagine the look and feel of it. So off they went.

But a few years go by, and that excitement wears off. Any connection to the brand just wasn’t long-lasting. So they go searching for a new, more meaningful name.

Which is why this may be the very most important part of naming your business. Because no one will care about your brand or listen to your story, if you, as the actual CEO, don’t resonate with it any more either.

People can feel that lack of connection. This is why “authenticity” was a trending brand discussion, but one that, in my opinion, won’t fade (although please don’t overuse the word, authentic, when describing your work — there are better ways!).

So, how do you know if it’s something you can really hang onto?

  1. Does it hold personal meaning for you? Is there a unique backstory, or some childhood facet or your life, or a forever trait that is characteristically you? (For example, my business is named Salted Pages — I used to take salt tablets for fainting, I launched my business close to Salt Lake City, Utah, I love adding flavor with words, I travel to the ocean as much as possible and so much more. In my case, the amount of personal twists and applications extend beyond mere salt. So it works wonders!)
  2. Will it apply to your unique approach or way of doing things? The point of a brand name is to stand out and create customer loyalty. So how does this name translate into your actual work? For me, my words add flavor, and my work adds zest to the lives of my customers. That all ties into the brand.
  3. In your gut, does it feel like it’s really yours? Like when you order a dish at a restaurant and the taste is SO you. Or when your best friend takes you shopping and pulls out a dress that is the epitome of your personality. Is this brand name fully your own, or are you forcing part of it? (A good test for this is to poll your friends and family. Does it represent who you are? And if a couple people are nay-sayers, but you fight to keep the brand name, that’s actually a good sign. I asked my best friend about Salted Pages before launching it and one of her friends said it reminded her of salted caramels. I had no problems with that and nowadays give caramels to every single client.)

5. Is it taken, or similar to a very well-known company?

Don’t forget the legalities and competition. Can you grab the brand name on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok)? What about the URL? Can you purchase it from Namecheap for a price that’s not thousands of dollars?

And of course, is it trademarked? Or is there another business using the name? Or is another company super similar (but still different) that is just way too well known to ever stand out?

(I’ve had clients come to me for done-for-you SEO services because they weren’t even showing up in Google for their own business name. Prevent this by doing your research before you go full steam ahead!)

6. Are you already overflowing with ideas for visuals and messaging?

This is another good sign! If you’re already running dry with ideas, imagine having to keep this business name for another 10 years.

I’ve run my business under Salted Pages for three years (as of April 2019) and I still come up with new ideas all the time. Seeing those creative juices continue flowing is critical.

And it’ll help when you sit down to write your website copy, create your brand messaging guide or design your logo and pick out your fonts/colors.

Need a little help renaming your business? Let’s sit down and talk about the new brand name that’ll redefine your place in the market. Say hi, and follow along on Instagram for more branding tips and copywriting inspiration.

The ins and outs of renaming your business

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