When I was in elementary school, I wished I had a cool, normal name like Katie, Cathy or Michelle. But no, instead I had a first name that teachers struggled to pronounce and a last name that was ripe for kids teasing…Saretta Holler always hollers.
Rather than introduce myself to others, I kept my head down and didn’t talk much…shocking to those who know me now, I know. Eventually I learned to embrace the unique name my parents deemed appropriate for their fifth child. As an insecure adolescent, I had no idea my name would later provide me with creativity lessons in business, especially as it relates to names.
When developing a company, product identity or even a presentation, set the tone with a powerful and creative name that engages clients immediately. Keep these three techniques in mind when developing your name.
Create Chatter. It’s true that not everyone has the pronunciation of my name down, but they talk about it and it’s the source of conversation. What does it mean? How did you get that name? I’ve never heard that before. Select a name that initiates positive dialogue and will extend your brand.
Build a Story Around the Meaning. I was a surprise (or “Hell no, I’m not pregnant”), as I was born 10-15 years after my brothers and sisters. My mother felt too old to have a baby, like Sarah in the bible, only Sarah was 90. It was important for my parents to have a meaning behind my name, which is Little Sarah. Don’t name for the sake of naming. Adapt a story and build your brand around it. For example, a friend of mine owns an advertising agency in Los Angeles called Omelet. It’s a fun name – just like the brand – and the founders and employees all engage in cool stories of how the name came about.
Own It. Once I learned to embrace my name, I actually grew quite fond of it. So much so that I named my PR and marketing company Holler Ink. Creating the perfect name is important. Equally as crucial is being passionate and proud of the name you’ve established.