How do you chose a great name for your business?
Depending on the business resources you read, you will likely encounter an infinite number of the following sample responses.
- Make it memorable
- It should be easy to spell
- Give it a visual element
- Ensure it has a positive connotation
- Let it include information about your business
- A good name should be fairly short
- Research who, if anyone, else is using the name or words
- Consider (if you live outside of the US, Canada or English) filing for Trademark rights.
- Finally, go with your gut - don't let others choose your name for you.
Before finally landing on ROCC (an acronym for Roasters of Central China) we tried about 2 dozen combinations of coffee+landmark+location such as:
Roasters of Wuhan (our city)
Yellow Crane Coffee (our city's landmark)
Wuhan Coffee Company (very clear)
Yellow Crane Roasters (construction?)
Along with many others which apparently had less sticking power in my brain.
Every name was scrutinized for its meaning and considered as an acronym. I especially liked the use of "Yellow Crane" as it tied a historic tower overlooking the convergence of the Yellow and the Yangtze River (also a site of many famous poetic inspirations) to our brand. However the Chinese name "huang he lou" if added to any extra monikers like "kafei" coffee or "hongbei" roaster just became a painful mouthful.
Ultimately the decision was mine, but I had to get the team on board. ROCC when spoken sounds like "rock" which has many strong connotations. The letter K-sound also has a definitive and lasting effect when spoken. Brands like Nike and Coca Cola when spoken linger in the air. When combined as "ROCC Coffee" or "ROCC Coffee Company" there was a rock & roll masculinity and playfulness we three were all drawn to.
Well intentioned business books will advise you to "test your name" or survey random people to get feedback on how potential customers may respond to your name. While it may be necessary in certain more sensitive consumer sectors, by and large with any sort of creative discretion you should choose the name you are excited to give life to daily.
Initially, people had a little trouble with the name "ROCC" and would belabor through it letter by letter, "Hey Adam, can I buy a bag of R- O- C- C- coffee?" Naturally it was an easy conversion for them when I replied, "No problem I'll bring over a bag of ROCC (rock) tomorrow." Later on you experience the benefit of being part of the 'in crowd' and there is pride being in-the-know. Only a rookie would make the mistake of saying R- O- C- C letter by letter.
If Paul, Louis and I loved it we knew others would too. We went on daily to infuse ROCC strength into our brand and ROCC playfulness into all that we did. Culture starts with something so simple as a name.