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The Power Of A Great Company Name

March 29, 2011
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The power of building a brand starts with a great name.

My first marketing guru was Leo Baron. He put me on his knee (figuratively speaking!) as a 20-something and taught me the ins and outs of marketing. I was lucky to have access at such a young age to such a proven marketing genius. He had “street cred” from working with some of the top companies in the greater New York area. It was only because he and my dad had been boyhood friends did he do my father a favor and decide to mentor me.

One of the first things Leo taught me about is the power of building a brand. And to him, it all started with a great name.

“There are only two times to change your name,” he said. “One is a happy announcement, such as you’re getting married, and the other time is because there’s something you want to distance yourself from, such as you’re getting divorced.

“With a good name, you can have the power of marketing at your back and the wind in your sales [it was his idea of a joke by writing it out as a word play on ‘sails’]. With a bad name or a neutral name, you can overcome it with a ton of money, a ton of time and a whole lot of wasted effort. I recommend you pick a great name and leverage it with a great look and a great tagline.”

“OK, so what are the common pitfalls in choosing a name for a company?” I asked.

Leo replied: “The two biggest mistakes when choosing a company name are to either name the company after a person or use the family name; the second biggest mistake is to name the company after a location like the name of a city, town or village.

“The most important purpose of a good company name is that it means something positive to the potential customer. A neutral name can be made better with a good tag line. A bad name can be overcome but only at a huge investment in marketing dollars.”

I took Leo’s words to heart and shared this with my dad and my brothers, and we did change our company name. My dad had done this once when he changed the name of the company from my grandfather’s first name, Morris, but even his new name was too limiting and too confusing.

My dad was always receptive to the wisdom of Leo and he also understood that his company was growing beyond just him and his boys and the original boundaries of the service area where the company started. He, too, wanted the name to mean something to the customer.

What I learned about marketing through the years and, in particular, about the power of a great company name is that the best of names can be leveraged with a great tagline that flows from the name. That’s because it not only tells the customer what we’re all about, it also tells the staff what our customers can expect from us.

One of my long-term clients, Mark Paup, and I changed his company name from City Rule to Golden Rule and then incorporated a tagline of “We Obey the Rules to Live By.®” We branded the whole company around this theme. The customers know what they can expect and the staff knows its obligation to deliver.

When you do decide to change your name, remember to address these issues as well:

  • Licensing (sometimes a dba is sufficient].

  • Truck design.

  • Letterhead.

  • Envelopes.

  • Menus.

  • Surveys.

  • Invoices.

  • Advertising and marketing pieces.

  • Bank accounts.

  • Uniform.

  • Stickers.

  • Valve tags.

  • Leave-behinds.

  • Door tags.


Take Leo’s advice - pick a great company name and feel the power of sales at your back!

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INEPT advice again Allen please don't be a putz

Sylvan Tieger,LMP,LMFSPC
April 15, 2011
"The two biggest mistakes when choosing a company name are to either name the company after a person or use the family name" NO KIDDING??? I better tell Macy's and Dodge they are NUTS and FORD is a moron using his name. Ever hear the expression "does Macy tell Gimbel" I reckon these companies were really stupid and should never have used a real name. Allen, I read PM and did the exact opposite and did amazing well over the years as using one's name show sincerity. I often asked the morons that wrote "how to" what "business they actually owned that did not go under as the case with several advice givers that caused their own companies to go under. How about those saying "be a team player " but of course they never actually owned a company (team) or they managed to steal the cash so their company went under. Allen your advice is usually right on the mark but I think you should remember using ones name shows integrity as all one has in life is their good name. Ever come to NYC (Manhattan) go to Katz's Deli a good family name as the original owner was a WW2 vet and a close friend a really close family friend..There is also "Russ and daughters" I met Donald Trump and I will tell him "Donald better change your company name to XYZ INC" as people feel your name is not a decent selling point . Sears and Roebuck WILL never survive according to the morons who gave you the advice . Allen you are who you hang with and I can see your advice is falling like a lead balloon as you were a STAR but it is hard to soar with eagles when surrounded by turkeys IMHO

Response to company name

Al Levi
April 15, 2011
This is what makes horse racing. My advice is based on my own now 4th generation successful plumbing, heating and cooling It's also based on helping companies rename that I work with who with branding found the wind at their back ANY NAME can be overcome with enough marketing muscle of being first to the party. WHy make it harder is all I was saying? Warm Regards, Al Levi

Allen, Your a "Mench" BUT

Sylvan Tieger,LMP,LMFSPC
April 16, 2011
Considering the following fact "you are judged by the company you keep Fiedler roofing (see FIEDLER on your roof) was started by my grand father around 1913 then my uncle took it over and now my cousin is running the "tradition" Leonardo da Vinchi would have been told "don't use that name it is to ethnic, possibly a name like Benedict Arnold has a nice ring to it and the use of a dead man from the 1770's would be a better choice. For example Ben Franklin was a whore monger was hated by his son and like the Kennedy clan was known to drink and treated his wife like crap. It would take a certain mind set to want to name a company after a SOB like this Unless of course your in the printing business or flying kites for a living in my humble opinion How is this for name recognition "The Ted Kennedy women's school of driving " OR the big book of modern day morality by Wild Bill (Bubba ) Clinton One is born and then dies with their name so using it means your standing behind what you do. One of the idiots who never was able to make it on their own many years ago suggested using a name after a dead man around 1999 and I said it was a terrible idea then as I said now. NYC for the majority of companies rely on honesty and even our billionaire mayor saw fit to use "Bloomberg" for his business ventures as well as running for public office. Being an expert witness for many of Manhattans most prestigious law firms I yet to see one named George Washington or Tom Jefferson LLC. personal injury lawyers The only thefts that I know of are the liars in the franchise service industry who by nature are low lives trying to get over on the public. These franchise crooks use the term tech saying we will send over a tech as they know the stumblebums in their employ are certainly not qualified in heating or plumbing or any aspect of the piping profession If these people has one ounce of honestly they would take a full page ad in the yellow pages under "tech" I would venture a full 60% of the plumbing legitimate contractors in NYC use a family name. Professionals such as doctors /lawyers /artists / manufacturers / plumbers / heating experts / engineers all use their given name. The Scum from other states the crooks of society that steal cash from their business and refuse to use their real name and HIDE behind some dead persons name or company IMHO Have a great happy and healthy Pass over

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