(The Network Journal) — A Kansas City coffee and sandwich shop named after a Native American word and a New Orleans street? What was the owner thinking? Most Kansas Citians didn’t know what to make of Tchoupitoulas, much less how to say it (chop-a-TOO-lus) or spell it so they could look it up. The business didn’t last two years. Its space is now filled by the transparently named Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen.
What’s in a name? When it comes to a business, it better be a whole lot more than something that smoothly rolls off your tongue. A name is not only what the company says it is, it’s what the customer thinks it is, branding experts say.
“Your brand name is your permanent media,” said David Placek, president and founder of Lexicon Branding Inc. of Sausalito, Calif., which created some of the country’s hottest brand names, including BlackBerry, Pentium, Swiffer and OnStar. “It’s intellectual property, and you want to protect it just like we protect our homes.”
Ideally, a business moniker should be memorable and distinctive enough to set it apart from its competitors. It should say something about the company’s product or service, should simplify the shopper’s selection process, and perhaps even engage them emotionally, branding experts say.