The Name Game – Is It Time to Change Your Company Name?

by Shannon Underwood

At this time of year, I connect with about 20 small wedding businesses a day, many bearing cryptic or challenging company names.

1.  A Play on Your First/Last Name
Recently Will was on the phone with the owner of Immaculate Concepcion Entertainment, when I heard Will say, “I don’t believe that either of you are virgins.” Yes, this was a sales call! I laughed and cringed at both their company name as well as our reaction to it.

I worked with a client whose last name started with a C.  Her company:  “The Big C.” Problem: C also stands for cancer; not an appropriate image to conjure up for wedding planning.

The idea is not to be seen as funny/clever/cute but rather your company name should elicit bookings and recognition, not necessarily in that order

2.  Using Your First or Last Name is a Calculated (?) Risk
If you lead with your name, wedding couples will consider other staff members as subpar.  “I booked Jane’s Wedding Planning, not Laura, her event planner.”  “Yes, I understand she is having a baby the weekend of my wedding, but if I can’t have her, I don’t want to book with you.”

You dramatically decrease the selling power of a personalized business. The last sale you plan for is that of your own business.  Unless you will remain on staff post-sale, the company’s value dies when you can no longer service brides and grooms.

3.  Photographers Are (Somewhat) Exempt From This Name Game
It’s a bit puzzling that so many photographers use their own names for their business.   I think they might get a free pass though.  Why?  If functioning solo, a wedding photographer likes to celebrate this work, much as an artist might sign a canvas.

4.  Bella Is Beautiful (But Not In A Company Name)
Bella Weddings, Bella Bridesmaids, Bella Vita Events, La Bella Bridal, Corte Bella…the problem is obvious. In the Phoenix area alone, a Google search for Bella + Weddings delivered 6 MILLION results.

Confusion can cost you customers who mistakenly contact a competitor instead of you. Trends don’t last long…pick something timeless.  Don’t select YOUR brand from the year’s top 100 baby names.

5.  Motel vs Hotel

Be desirable.  Hotels typically charge 70% more than motels.  Evoke positive imagery and exclusivity.  Film or cinematography sound more exclusive than videography.

Be discriminating.  Avoid appearing to be trying too hard, i.e.:  luxurious, perfect, elegant.

Be inventive.  Use subliminal imagery:  The Velvet Garden vs. The Empty Vase.

Be clear.  Your name should at least HINT at what your business is.  Great examples:  Piefection.  Always on Thyme Catering.  Frost Gelato.

Remember:  your branding should be top of mind.  For an unbiased opinion – don’t ask clients or friends.  Submit a list of your top three favorite names to me, and our office will send our favorite back to you.  Send to info@weddingmba.com by February 1st for your free name evaluation.

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