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Tag: branding (Page 2 of 4)

Naming Your Business: Mix and Match for a Perfectly Generic Name

You’re welcome in advance for this one.

Naming your business can be challenging.  Do you use your name?  Do you include explicitly the kind of business it is?  Is it more abstract and evocative?

For your next cemetery, golf course, apartment complex, condo development, housing subdivision, retirement home (err … senior living center) or any of a handful of other business ventures, just mix and match the words below into pairs.

Obviously, I’m devoting insufficient time to this blog.  Not only should there be more posts more often, this list should have been produced as an infographic or – better yet – a little interactive program.  Regardless, your generic name awaits!

sign, business name, generic name, name game, naming your business

Your generic business name does not belong in such a beautiful place.

ALL-PURPOSE (can be used as first or second word in your name)

Hill(s)

Meadow(s)

Willow(s)

Pine(s)

Forest

Park

Glen

Aspen

Grove

Hollow

Valley

Wood(s)

Pebble

Boulder

Canyon

Farm(s)

Gable(s)

Garden(s)

Cove

Creek

Stream

Lake(s)

Spring(s)

Spring (season)

Winter

 

ONLY TO START (can only be used as first word your name)

Whispering

Rolling

Running

Flying

Thundering (use with caution)

Bear, Fox, Deer or other animal (bonus: need not be regionally appropriate!)

 

ONLY TO END (should only be used as the second of the two words in your name)

Crossing(s)

Run

Manor

Estate(s)

Terrace

Plural of any of the all-purpose words

 

Have you been to that new golf course Boulder Terrace!?  Have you visited my new apartment at Whispering Pines!?  Did she just buy the last home in Fox Valley!?  Is your grandfather buried at Forest Glen!?

Again, you’re welcome.

I have certainly missed some of the wonderfully generic words available.  Please use the comment section to:

a) add more words (and qualify them if necessary) and/or

b) add more business ventures for which this mix+match is appropriate

As always, thanks for visiting and for reading.  Disclaimer: I do not advocate for generic naming of businesses.

 

Permanence: Online Testimony to Your Personal Brand and Legacy

I’ve been doing marketing and promotion inside local television stations for more than a decade.  Nearly everything we do is highly perishable, especially in the linear broadcast.  It must affect my mindset, because two instances today – neither especially profound – open-hand slapped me in the face with the idea of permanence.

These instances immediately took me back to a Vaynerchuk take (find it at 19:30) on staying mindful of the fact that our great great grandchildren will be able to see much of what we do.

Instance 1: The final button on an interesting little case study by Darren Dahl in Inc. about a legal and PR crisis faced by Tagged.  I won’t go into the details of the saga, brief as it was, and will instead go straight to the closing quote.  “‘In the age of Google, bad press stays forever,’ says (CEO Greg) Tseng.  ‘This incident will be a part of Tagged’s legacy forever.'”

Instance 2: A blog post from Alexandra Levit titled “Google is Forever,” in which she runs down a young man’s persistent haunting by the press generated by a wildly anti-gay Facebook page he started with blind, youthful enthusiasm in his college days.  You can delete the page, but you can’t delete the press.  He professes great embarrassment it now and alleges it’s prevented him from being hired recently.  (Note: the post was brought to my attention by Dan Schawbel)

The takeaway: We’re building our legacy every day, one decision at a time.  Whatever’s online is testimony to that legacy.

And just for fun … a 3 year old rant (and I mean rant in the best way) on legacy vs currency:

 

 

Results from Free Facebook Ads

If you read magazines like Wired or Inc. (yes, both still appear in print on actual paper), you may have noticed offers from Google and Facebook on those little pull-out/fall-out cards that are annoyingly tucked, glued or stapled into just about every magazine.

The offers are basically identical and provide a unique code to cash in for $75 in Google Adwords or $50 in Facebook Ads.  It’s a smart way for each company to invite prospects into their easy and cost-effective ad systems.  It’s free money for me and wholly trackable sampling for them.

While reading the recent issue of Inc. featuring a cover story from Jason Fried about how to get good at making money (note: I really enjoy his ongoing involvement with Inc.), I decided to take Facebook up on their offer.  I used the $50 ad credit to prop up a community page I made for my neighborhood, Ivywild Neighborhood – Colorado Springs.

Ivywild, Ad, Facebook, Facebook Ad, Neighborhood, Colorado, Sign, Advertisement

My set-it-and-forget-it Facebook ad for "Ivywild Neighborhood - Colorado Springs"

My approach was smart from the start, but lazy through the finish (I never A/B tested or adjusted any copy or imagery).  I set up the ad to target people who:

Why Bristol?  They’ve got the biggest Facebook fanbase – by far – of any neighborhood business (about 3,500).  Along with The Blue Star and J Gregory Salon, Bristol is also right across the street from the sign that marks, declares and names the neighborhood.  I used this familiar sign as the primary image in the ad; it’s also the primary profile picture of the community page.

The ad clicked through to the Info section of the Ivywild community page, which defines the purpose of the page, the informal boundaries of the neigbhorhood and a touch of history.  I favored this over the wall, because the page has limited user interaction at this point; it isn’t as “alive” as I’d like it to be.

I set it up as a cost per click campaign with a budget of $5 per day.  I let it run past the 10 free days and ended up paying $15 out of pocket.

Campaign results (rounded):

  • 180,000 impressions with a click through rate of 0.06%
  • 50,000 “social impressions” with a click through rate of 0.094%
  • Total clicks of 110 / Total “social clicks” of 48
  • Total CPC of $0.59 / Total CPM of $0.35
  • 97 fans before the campaign, 163 at the conclusion of the campaign
  • 60% conversion rate (66 fans from 110 clicks)
  • Cost per conversion of about $1

Facebook’s social metrics refer to impressions that include the names of people to whom you’re connected who already like the page.  As seen in the results above, the social piece is pretty powerful.  Though they accounted for 28% of the impressions, they accounted for 44% of the clicks.

This free, simple effort grew the page 68%.  It was fun, easy and interesting.

I recommend you pull the offer out of a magazine on a newsstand today … unless they’re only running it with paid subscribers (all the better for tracking and measuring), in which case I won’t advocate you pulling the offer from a magazine in someone’s mail box.

Here’s a simple something I wrote back in May 2010 about why I created the page.

Personal Branding: Steelers QB Roethlisberger – Bad Boy or Dirt Bag?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed to another Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position.  Roethlisberger’s already won two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers.  In those games, he set up wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes as Super Bowl MVPs (in 2006 and 2009, respectively).

Big Ben Rothlisberger, QB, NFL, Steeler, Super Bowl, champion, Pro Bowl

NFL superstar, Super Bowl champion and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback "Big Ben" Roethlisberger

The Personal Brand

With due respect to defensive standouts Troy Polamalu and James Harrison (and to Polamalu’s insanely distinctive hair) – I suggest that Roethlisberger is today’s face of the Steelers franchise.

Physically large and notably tough compared to others who play his position, “Big Ben” seems a good fit for this role.  The city, the uniforms, the tradition – they all say “tough,” “blue collar,” “hard-nosed.”

Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback Rides a Motorcycle

Roethlisberger's Personal Brand: Bad Boy?

With his penchant for riding (and crashing) motorcycles without a helmet, sporting sleeveless (cut-off) shirts, wearing his ball caps backward and sporting facial hair in various styles and stages of growth, Roethlisberger is Steelers football.  The only NFL locale more fitting for this might be Oakland, but Ben’s a Pennsylvanian who played college ball in Ohio.  He’s far more a Steeler than a Raider.

I could simplify Roethlisberger’s personal brand as NFL superstar, Super Bowl champion “bad boy.”

I could … but I won’t.  “Bad boy” is too cute and harmless.  Instead, I’ll go with “dirt bag.”

Please note: you are building your personal brand and your legacy every day.  They’re in every decision and every action you make, as well as in those you don’t.  You’re welcome to take control over your brand and your legacy, but know that they will be built whether or not you exercise any control over them.  Now, back to the current topic …

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Big Ben with women at the bar

Roethlisberger's Personal Brand: Dirt Bag?

The Dirt Bag Brand

Ben Roethlisberger drags around everywhere he goes the weight of multiple rape allegations.  To be fair, he’s never faced charges due to insufficient evidence.  He has, however, enjoyed a 6-game suspension from the NFL due to this behavior.  Not even a year after he claimed a Lake Tahoe woman’s allegations “false and vicious,” adding that he would “never, ever force (himself) on a woman,” he officially locked down his dirt bag brand in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Fact: this two-time Super Bowl champion, perennial Pro Bowl quarterback and multimillionaire had sex with a 20-year-old girl in a bathroom in a bar in rural Georgia.  Read that again, let it sink in, then proceed to the next line.

This is not a winning play.  In fact, it’s a guaranteed loser.  This time, it resulted in another rape allegation.  He admitted contact, but denied assault.  I hate to add this, but I must … this happened in a bar bathroom, not in a club, not behind a velvet rope, not in a VIP section, not in a private room, not over at a nearby condo or hotel room.  Consensual or not, this is dirt bag behavior.

Witnesses claim that Roethlisberger demanded “all you bitches, take my shots” at the bar (“Wow, thanks for the invite!” and “Will do, Big Ben!”) and that his bodyguards were blocking the bathroom door (“Please move along, nothing to see here.”)  Enjoy this video deposition from his accuser.

All these details aside, guilty or not, fair or unfair media treatment … Roethlisberger’s not in control of a winning brand.

By Comparison

A quick look at Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl quarterback contemporaries in the AFC shows the difference between a winning personal brand and a losing one.  Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts: generically All-American, son of an NFL legend, best athlete host of Saturday Night Live ever (a nod to the hilarity of Michael Jordan’s obvious discomfort as SNL host), pitchman for all kinds of common things.   Tom Brady of the New England Patriots: GQ cover guy, dated supermodels before marrying one, pitchman for high-end luxury goods and brands.  These Super Bowl MVPs (Manning in 2007 and Brady in both 2002 and 2004) have relatively clear brands.

Though young and not yet as accomplished, there’s AFC championship game competitor Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets: southern Californian and USC grad, third generation Mexican-American and serious playoff competitor with 4 wins in just 2 years … all on the road.

An elder who’s a fair comparison is also a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP and Pro Bowl quarterback who spent his career in the AFC.  Similar to Roethlisberger in physical size, throwing ability, willingness to take a hit and overall style of play, John Elway of the Denver Broncos: worst thing he was ever involved in was a Ponzi scheme … and he was the victim, serious enthusiasm, big smile, looks kinda like the horse he wore on his helmet.

Roethlisberger wears number 7 in Elway’s honor; too bad he doesn’t take Elway’s approach to personal responsibility.

To Summarize

As I argued a couple months back, when Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics refused to own his words, you have to own what you say and own what you do.  These decisions and actions define you.  You can use them to build, develop and enhance your personal brand or you can just let it all happen and deal with the consequences (“Drink Like a Champion Today”).

Having sex with a 20-year-old girl in a bathroom in a bar in rural Georgia  – consensual or not, with your bodyguards blocking the door or not – is always a losing play.

Being an incredible on-field performer buys lots of forgiveness, but it buys no respect.  To me, Big Ben’s brand is “dirt bag.”

To Provoke

Bad boy?  Dirt bag?  Other?  What’s Roethlisberger’s brand?

Was media treatment of Roethlisberger and the rape allegations fair?

Does off-the-field behavior of NFL players affect your thoughts or feelings about the players or the League in any way?

Have you read Jack McCallum’s Sports Illustrated cover story with the subtitle “An NFL Superstar’s Repulsive Behavior, the Ultimate Expression of Athletic Entitlement Run Amok, Has Forced Even the Most Die-Hard Fans to Question Their Team and Their Football Faith – and Made a Small Town in Georgia Wish He’d Never Paid a Visit” yet?

Groupon Investing in Traditional Media: Smart Play?

This morning I met for coffee a friend whose website I’m writing.  It’s a pretty casual shop that opens at 7am; the owner was still getting everything together at 7:05am.  Part of the process: firing up the music.

“I can’t think of it … what’s the radio on the internet?” she asked.  “Pandora,” I immediately replied without thinking twice.  “Yeah, that’s it,” she said, adding “I like Slacker, too.  It’s deeper.”

Pandora’s built from the Music Genome Project, which started in 1999.  In its current form with which you’re probably familiar, the website itself started in mid-2006.  In less than 5 years, then, “Pandora” has come to mean “radio on the internet” on a fraction of a moment’s thought.  I don’t even use Pandora and the connection is instantaneous.  That’s an important and impressive achievement.

If Pandora’s growing by anything but word of mouth, social networking and maybe some online banners, I”m not aware of it.  I’ve never seen an ad for it in any form.

Meanwhile, “the fastest growing company ever” is now “experimenting with what’s now typically referred to as traditional advertising – TV, print, radio, outdoor billboards – to maintain momentum.”  The former quote comes from a Summer 2010 story in Forbes; the latter comes from this week’s Ad Age.  Both are about everyone’s darling, Groupon, the company that can say no to Google and its $6,000,000,000.

Groupon, Collective Buying Power, logo, corporate logo, social coupon, group

Groupon and Traditional Advertising: Is that what it takes to be a premiere brand, a true household name?

Written by Rupal Parekh, the Ad Age piece is built on the fact that Groupon tried to buy Super Bowl ads, but settled for title sponsorship of the Super Bowl pre-game show because the in-game inventory has been sold out for months (at $2.8-3M per :30).  It goes on to detail their engagement with Crispin Porter + Bogusky for creative and talks with cable networks about their new agency Starcom.  It seems like they’re embracing establishment in hopes of becoming a premiere brand.

Attention traditional media: put Groupon on your “new client that’s ripe for courting” list.

Neither LivingSocial, Groupon’s chief competitor, nor Facebook, which has 50% more users at 600M than Groupon at 400M, has spent any serious cash on traditional media.  Apple, on the other hand, can’t be avoided if you watch an hour of prime time network television.  Google falls somewhere in between, but much closer to LivingSocial and Facebook.  Microsoft also falls somewhere in between, but much closer to Apple.

It’s worth noting that Pandora passed the 400M user mark more than a year ago, a mark Groupon hit at a much faster pace, achieving it in 2010.

Questions for You

Is the Super Bowl a smart play for Groupon?

Is traditional advertising still a basic requirement for a brand to become top-tier, to become a true household name?  Do the spend and presence add credibility to a brand?

Does Groupon need an agency, a creative shop and traditional media?  If so, why?  If not, how might tens of millions of dollars be better spent?

I’d really like to hear what you think – please leave a comment below.

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