Taste and popularity

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We’ve been working lately on getting feedback on possible company names. It’s basically come down to two names, which we’ll call Strongname and Safename*.
Our research so far has basically been to get feedback from a pretty large group of friends and family. I wouldn’t say that they necessarily represent our target market (we’re not sure exactly what that is yet), but they certainly represent it better than just the two founders.
Strongname has gotten some very good feedback, but also a little negative feedback. It’s also confused a few people, but struck the image we were hoping for in others.
Safename has gotten good responses across the board, but not as many really strong responses.
I personally like Strongname the best. I feel like Safename is sort of vanilla – it just doesn’t seem that cool to me. It doesn’t stick in my brain. Of course, Strongname also has a connection (a pretty weak one, but a connection nonetheless), to a pretty unsavory topic, so that’s a strike against it.
All of this is quite vague, but the point is this: I’ve been trying to justify Strongname all day, despite the fact that it’s not as universally liked and it has some other issues. I just like the name better.
But then I read an article on small business marketing sent to me by a friend, and this caught my eye:
“The name AppExchange came from one of the customers I did dry runs with. We were considering 10 different names. That one was my least favorite. But it doesn’t matter what I think. The customer is always right. A clich�, I know, but it is also true.”
This guy is a marketing genius, so I’m inclined to take his advice. But some part of me disagrees, as least in part. I feel like at a certain point, if you only give the customers what they ask for, you’re not doing a good job. At some point customers are paying you to surprise them and give them something they want/like now, but didn’t know they wanted/liked before. Of course, at some point, you’re just being stubborn and ignoring customers to satisfy your personal tastes.
And it seems to be quite tricky to tell the difference.
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*I know it’s slightly strange to talk about names without actually mentioning the actual names, but we don’t want any squatters to take them out from under us.

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3 Responses to “Taste and popularity”

  1. dave Says:

    if you’re still torn between two names just register them both for now. it isn’t that expensive. it’s not a bad idea to have two different options anyway. you may someday decide to form a subsidiary company or try two separate marketing strategies for different (or even related) products in which case it might make sense to have some autonomy between them.
    look at “general motors”. they only have two unique cars, the corvette and the hummer. everything else has a duplicate. for instance, the ford f-series is the number one selling truck in america, but the virtually identical chevy silverado and gmc sierra (individually outnumbered) combine to be number one. is that the right way to do business? i don’t know but it’ll give you options. go buffs!!

  2. dave Says:

    i’m going to assume you also picked up the book “grammar for dummies”, that or ben has been writing most of these posts. haha. go buffs!!

  3. scott Says:

    I replied to your email – but in response to this post… I think a strong name is good. I evaluate and award research proposals a couple times a year. Company name is a small and supposedly unimportant factor, but when I’m reading 20 proposals on essentially the same stuff – a unique, powerful name helps their proposal stand out slightly when I’m trying to remember which one was best. That said, I think you should skip on this particular Strongname.

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