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想给公司起个令人拍案叫绝的名字?记住这五个诀窍

Verne Harnish 2016年10月13日

一个令人过目不忘的名称,无疑是一家公司树立品牌的第一步。但就像给小孩子取名一样,给公司取名也大有学问。

 

1、别人习惯怎么叫,就给公司起那个名

如果你给公司起了个名字却没人用,这就是该换公司名称的信号,多留意别人是如何称呼你的公司的。每次客户打电话到HVLS(大风量低转速风扇的简称)风扇公司都问“你们是不是做那种大块头风扇”,创始人卡雷·史密斯认真记下了,随后将公司名改为“大块头风扇”(不过后来,在公司将业务拓展到照明领域后,他又稍作修正,改为“大块头解决方案”。)这个非常规名称让这家制造商一炮走红。

2、选择适合的词语

不要执着于起一个非常花哨的名称。关键是让大家容易记住。最好起一个反映客户实际需求的名称。比如,一家公司专门帮助施工单位减少工地槽沟安全事故,名字叫“槽沟安全与供应”,光看名字就能明白他们的业务,不会有什么疑问。要是不确定公司名称是否真能传递你的业务范围?不妨问问客户他们觉得你的公司是做什么的。

3、简明扼要

假如在公司名后面加上“法定公司”、“集团”或者“有限责任公司”简称,企业代表律师或者合伙人可能满意,但读起来既拗口又冗长。去掉一切多余的词语,你会惊奇地发现,你和团队谈起公司来会非常容易,也就能尽快切入业务主题。等大家都非常熟悉公司业务以后,你可以像明尼苏达矿业与制造业公司一样把名字缩减成3M(注:该公司原名首字母为三个M)。

4、先测试

不要选没有吸引力的名字。在正式启用某个名字以前,先在谷歌广告服务产品Adwords上测试一下,或者在Facebook网站上发起测评,或是在提供A/B测试软件的网站Splitly.com上做个测试,这样你可以了解消费者最喜欢哪个名字。蒂姆·费里斯就用类似方法创立了品牌“四小时工作周”(4-Hour Workweek)。如今竞争对手们都在采用众包测试,你可别让自己落在人后,疲于追赶。

5、给所有业务建立品牌

服务业公司应该向产品生产商取经,因为产品生产商最会起名字。私募股权公司Riverside Co.就是这么做的。该公司为旗下所有服务都专门命名。比如,一项旨在改进公司流程的服务被命名为“闪耀系统”(Sparkle! System)。

“闪耀”实际上是一个英文首字母缩略词,代指这家公司大幅提升企业价值的一套多步骤流程,囊括了“擦洗清洁”、“强有力的管理团队”、“有吸引力的设施”等含义,现在这个名字比一长串全称简洁得多,也更容易给人留下印象。联席CEO斯图尔特·科尔评价说:“用这个名字可以充分体现出我们顶尖的业务能力。”

本文作者凡尔纳·哈尼斯著有《升级》(Scaling Up)一书。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Call the Company What Everyone Else Does

If no one is actually using the name you picked, take it as a hint—and pay attention to what people are calling it. When customers kept phoning HVLS Fan Co. and asking, “Are you the guys with those big-ass fans?” founder Carey Smith listened. He changed the company’s name to Big Ass Fans (though he later reduced that plainspokenness a bit by updating it to Big Ass Solutions when the company expanded into lighting). The unconventional name has earned the manufacturer a gusher of good publicity.

Own the Right Words

Don’t get hung up on finding a clever name. The key is to find one that is easy to remember. One of the best ways to do that is to reflect the job the customer needs done. TrenchSafety and Supply, a company that helps construction companies keep their trenches safe, for instance, left no room for confusion about what it does. Not sure if your name really conveys what you do? Ask a few customers what they think you do for them.

Clear the Clutter

Adding a “Corp.,” “Group,” or “LLC” after your company’s name may make your attorney or partners happy, but it will just make it clunkier and clumsy to say. Ditch any extraneous words and you’ll be surprised at how much faster you and your team can mention it and get down to business. Once -everyone knows what you do, consider following Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing’s example, which rebranded itself as 3M MMM -1.37% .

Run a Test

There’s no excuse for choosing a name that’s not ready for primetime. Test your idea in a Google Adwords or a Facebook campaign FB -1.63% before you take it live, or use Splitly.com to do A/B testing so you know which name customers like best. Tim Ferriss used a similar approach to establish his “4-Hour Workweek” brand. (For more on Ferriss, see “40 Under 40”.) Your competitors are crowd-testing, so don’t let them leave you scrambling to catch up.

Brand Everything

Service firms should take a lesson from product manufacturers, who name all their creations. The Riverside Co., a private equity firm, has done so. It coins a name for everything it does, including its process for cleaning up companies: the Sparkle! System.

“Sparkle” is an acronym for the multistep process Riverside uses to dramatically increase the value of a company, and it’s a lot more succinct and memorable than the long version, which stands for terms such as “scrubbed and clean,” “powerful management team,” “attractive facilities,” etc. “It gives us a shorthand way to refer to what we do that is unique,” says co-CEO Stewart Kohl.

Verne Harnish is the author of “Scaling Up.”

A version of this article appears in the October 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline “5 Ways to Pick a Killer Name.”

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