If you've started your own business or renamed a company, you may have felt the pain I'm feeling now. I'm in the process of renaming my company and everything that I like is taken or has trademark risks. So I'm going to open it up to the blogosphere and see how creative you guys and gals can be! The winner gets a $100 gift certificate from GiftCertificates.com, acknowledgement on my web site and fame throughout the blogosphere. :-)
If you accept the challenge, read on.
I originally started my company, Mantra Brand Communications, as a virtual marketing agency using freelance creative. I did the brand strategies and farmed everything else out. Gradually I realized that the only part of it that I enjoyed was the brand strategy aspect. And if you've followed my blog, you know that I'm not fond of the word 'branding'. It's overused, misused, and there's far too many people in this space. It's time to follow my own advice: differentiate myself and do what I really enjoy.
The part of my job that really jazzes me is bringing completely new perspectives to the client and catalyzing an "ah hah" moment. Usually it comes through customer research where we discover that what customers think is important is not at all what the company thinks is important. I also like to look at a business from multiple perspectives: talking to employees on the front-line, finding untaken opportunities in the space, and looking at how future trends will impact my clients' businesses. Lastly, I see a lot of waste that happens in customer research: often a research firm is hired by a specific department (usually marketing) to answer a specific question, and the results are only used by that department. Or the report ends up as a dust-collector because the wrong questions were asked, or execution strategies weren't included.
So my new space is customer strategy consulting, which encompasses evaluation, research middle-man and strategic interpreter. What are the business challenges that need to be solved? What are the right questions to ask for the results to have relevance to all departments within an organization? What different perspectives will yield 'ah-hah' insights? I'll source the right resources for the job (anthropologists, quantitative researchers, database analysis, smart people in different industries, etc.), supervise the project and then apply the learnings to the business. This is, by the way, the same process that would yield a brand strategy. It's framed differently to be more relevant to senior execs, and it also opens up opportunities to solve problems and create opportunities in various departments like customer service, product development and sales.
The name I really like so far is Perspective Lab. My web designer has a cool site design that uses photographs of buildings and other objects from artsy, interesting perspectives. But there's a videoconferencing router company called Perspective Labs, and although we're in completely different industries, my TM attorney says there's some risk because the name is almost identical. It's still viable so I might go with it anyway, but I'm looking for alternatives that are fun, original and --most importantly -- not taken. If you want to play, assume that anything remotely descriptive of what I do is taken. One random idea I had was Highway 39... did you know there's never been an interstate highway 39? So it's the "take the road not traveled" idea. But the highway motif has been overused so I nixed it.
OK, enough rambling. If you've got some ideas, toss them into the Comments Hat in the next few days. Deadline is when someone submits a name I like, or when I get tired of the process and risk going with one of my other ideas. Whichever comes first. Thank you for helping, good luck and have fun!