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Sep 6, 2011 - 2 minute read - branding

Name Your Business With Your Customer In Mind

A recent episode of MSNBC’s Your Business featured Just For Fun Playgrounds located in Asheville, North Carolina in its Small Business Makeover segment. The owners, Jerry and Evelyn, had purchased the business five years ago and had been successful until the recession took its toll and significantly reduced revenues.

As part of the makeover process, the show brought in Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. One of the issues he identified was that the business needed a name change and rebranding. Michalowicz brought in Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency to take the owners through the rebranding process.

The first issue Blasevick identified was that another business had a similar name and this was causing brand confusion among potential customers. This competitor is named Just for Fun Playgrounds and has as its domain name. The old domain for Jerry and Evelyn’s company was It’s easy to see how there could be customer confusion.

The other issue was that the current name, logo and website were clearly designed to be kid friendly. While this might seem like an obvious choice for a playground company, the business focuses on selling high-end, custom playgrounds to residential and commercial customers. The branding and marketing materials need to appeal to to the people making the purchasing decisions, not the end user.

In the end, Jerry and Evelyn decided to rename their company Asheville Playgrounds. This eliminates confusion with their competitor and the new branding and marketing materials convey a more upscale image than before.

This case study provides some excellent points for you to consider when you are naming your own business.

Make sure your name is distinct enough from your competition so that there will be little confusion as to which business is which. This makes branding easier because you are working from a unique position right from the start. Otherwise, you might have to spend a considerable amount of marketing money to differentiate your business from one that is named something similar.

Is your name and brand image aligned with the expectations of your potential customers? If you are selling luxury products, your brand image must convey that image. Similarly, if you are competing on price, you want your brand image to match.

These are just of few of the considerations that should go into naming a business. As this real-world example shows, it can be important to your bottom line. Take the time to think through some of these issues before you make a choice.