Trend Whisperer, A blog by Sherri Scheck-Merrill
The exercise over what to name a new business requires thought that goes well beyond the name in itself. Your name is not only your identity, but is perhaps the single most powerful asset when it comes to search engine rankings.
The first thing to understand about choosing a name is how it will relate to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The basis of SEO is about pairing the code and content of your website with the keywords users search for in Google (also referred to as building relevancy).
One way to build your “relevancy” is to use a keyword or phrase in your actual name. I’ll use a couple of examples from the hotel industry.Wyndham Suites Downtown NYC Hotel. The “Downtown NYC Hotel” phrase repeated throughout their meta-tags and throughout the copy on their website will assist in building keyword relevancy.
Another method is utilizing a unique name along with a brand or chain name, if and when applicable, and especially in saturated markets. A good example is “The Wit Downtown Chicago Hotel by Doubletree.” The unique element of their name allows The Wit to market themselves as a Boutique Hotel while as an online strategy, since they are a chain affiliated, they will automatically rank better in search engines. As well, the “Downtown Chicago” portion of their name adds additional opportunities such as city-specific search rankings.
There is also the direct, name game approach where owners opt for a straight-forward approach by using a to-the-point name based on the “pulse” of their property.
The “Whitepod Hotel Switzerland” is as straight-forward as a name can get. Selecting a name under the premise of “it is what it is” is key for this eco-luxury alpine escape in Switzerland.
The “Caves Resort in Jamaica” capitalized on the same theory for their luxurious oceanfront property by using the same approach for their property name.
The “Hotel de Glace” in Quebec Canada is a magical hotel sculpted from ice who also opted to incorporate their main attraction as their name.
Choosing the right name is never an easy task for any business but one thing is certain: a well thought out name can and will give you a competitive edge and make your company the talk of the town!
I leave you with 16 companies who have taken a less-traditional route using some extremely unique names. Here are some examples along with the backstories behind them.
The name started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a googol of information. (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.) When founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave a presentation to an angel investor, they received a check made out to “Google.”
Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith had the idea of checking their e-mail on a web interface, and tried to find a name that ended in “mail.” They finally settled on “Hotmail” because it contained the letters html, referencing the HTML programming language used to help create the product.
Volkswagen literally means “people’s car.” Adolf Hitler initially came up with the idea for “cars for the masses,” which would be a state-sponsored Volkswagen program. Hitler wanted to create a more affordable car that was able to transport two adults and three children at speeds of 62 mph. He chose the car manufacturer Porsche to carry out the project, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The word yahoo was coined by Jonathan Swift in the book Gulliver’s Travels. The term represented repulsive, filthy creatures that resembled humans. Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo considered themselves yahoos, and thought the term would be an appropriate name for their joint venture.
The consumer electronic company is named after Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology. The founders dropped the first three letters in favor of the high position in alphabetical listings. In 1998, Asus created a spinoff company named Pegatron, using the other unused letters of Pegasus.
Contrary to popular belief and theories, Cisco is simply short for San Francisco. Its logo resembles the suspension cables found on the Golden Gate bridge.
Canon was founded in 1933 under the name Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. Two years later it adopted “Canon” after the company’s first camera, the Kwanon. Kwanon is the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy.
Coca-Cola’s name comes from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring in the soft drink. Eventually Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the K of kola to C to create a more fluid name.
9. Franklin Covey
The planning-product line was named after Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Covey. The company was formed in 1997 from the combining of the two companies Franklin Quest and the Covey Leadership Center.
Ikea is a random collection of letters. It uses the first letters of founder Ingvar Kamprad’s name and the first letters of the Swedish property and the village where he grew up: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.
Lego is a combination of the Danish phrase leg godt, which translates to “play well.” Initially the company built wooden toys, and later switched to making plastic bricks. Lego also means “I put together” in Latin, but the Lego Group claims this is coincidence, that the origin of the word is strictly Danish.
Reebok is an alternate spelling of rhebok, an African antelope. The company founders found the word in a South African a dictionary won by Joe Foster, son of the Reebok founder J.W. Foster.
The Japanese consumer electronics company is named after its first product, an ever-sharp pencil that was created in 1915.
14. Six Apart
Six Apart’s name has one of the most interesting origins. The web company’s co-founders Ben and Mena Trott were born six days apart.
The original prototype of the company’s flagship product had the name “Sky-Peer-to-Peer,” which was shrunk down to Skyper, then finally to Skype.
Verizon is a combination of the words veritas, which is Latin for “truth,” and horizon.
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Sherri Scheck-Merrill is a hospitality industry professional with a passion for excellent hotels and resorts. She is passionate about hotels, interior design, fashion, and beauty. As Vice President of Amenity Services Inc., she focuses on hotel business development and guestroom product design. She distinguishes herself by researching, teaching and reporting U.S. trends for her own fashion and export business.
She is a three-time nominee for Businesswoman of the Year by California’s Orange County Business Journal. A UNLV student-athlete/Harvard Executive Education Consumer Marketing graduate, she licenses popular retail brands for hotel guestrooms.
After spending several years on a tennis court, followed by the role of head buyer at the largest West Coast-based sporting goods and fashion apparel export company, her knack for predicting trends landed her a columnist position at Orange Coast Magazine. She is also the author of the biannual trend-forecasting report for a major retailer in Osaka, Japan, and writes a popular blog about trends for Hotels – the magazine of the worldwide hotel industry.