Can you name your company something that you “feel”?
What about something that your customers feel? Or even better, something you’d like your customers to feel?
I’ve spent over 10 years working as a creative producer in the naming industry. A subset of marketing, advertising, and branding, where all we focus on is The Name. I often can’t walk past a company sign and not at least have a thought about it. Yesterday, I talked with the people behind Fier Koffie en Thee.
Let’s go over some possible names for a coffee and tea business (results from a local Yelp search, I’ll translate some):
- De Koffietafel (The Coffee Table)
- Koffie Leute (Coffee People)
- The Village Coffee & Music
- Figi Expressobar
- Cornelis Coffee Food And A Room
Mostly descriptive names. Meaning that you have an idea what they do. Some add something else to the mix (a table, people, music, and even a room!), others just say what it is: Expressobar.
But what if you went the direction, an abstract or arbitrary direction as far as meaning of the name, and the name itself might mean nothing or at least not mean much? “But then how do they know that we make coffee and tea!?” I hear the cry, I get it.
It’s a creative leap. I understand that. But let’s explore the benefits of having a name that doesn’t pin you down to an industry or a product.
- Future Proof: if you give your company a name that’s less descriptive, you have more wiggle room to expand later–beyond coffee and tea.
- Backstory: if your name isn’t immediately obvious, lots of people will ask what it means. There’s your opening to tell your story. BONUS: they will forget you much less quickly now.
- Emotion: we’re going for the gut here. We’re not bothering with the mind and rational decisions. This is emotion and we’re shooting straight for the heart.
Let’s take a quick look at Fier Koffee en Thee.
If you live in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) or France, you probably have some idea of what the word “fier” means. From the French (and this is why I approached them yesterday because I was curious), I thought it might come from fier, meaning proud. Turns out, it also comes from an old Flemish (Belgian) word fier which probably comes from the French.
Their story was simple and to the point: we are proud of what we do.
They were proud of their products and wanted to get that across. What are consumers engaged by? What brings you and gets you to the point where you want more, you want to know more, you want to know what makes something tick? What is contagious and sticky? It’s simple:
When someone is proud of what they do, you can’t turn away. Even if it’s not your, ahem, cup of tea, you at least want to know why they’re so proud of it. What makes them tick? You want to be a part of what they’re a part of or at least you want a little bit of their pride to rub off on you so you can soak up some of that fire that they’re emanating.
Did you catch that?
See how close it is to fier? See how that works? There’s fire hidden in the name. There’s fire and pride in the brand. There’s clear direction and a backstory. What else do you need in your naming and branding? Not much.
Oh yes, good coffee and tea.