What's In a Company Name? A Lot if Your Brand is Everyday English.

There are millions of articles on the web about How to Choose Your Company Name.

But aside from picking a name that does not offend anyone, is legal, and has an available domain, does it really matter what you choose?

Many branding experts suggest avoiding words that are hard to pronounce or spell. After all, how will people find you on the web? But this is somewhat of a blanket statement that does not always apply. Can you spell Weyerhaeuser? What about Charles Schwab? I still have trouble with that one (unfortunately I had no trouble locating them just before the market tumbled).

But does it matter?

Just type the first four letters of an established company into Google and the name often appears automatically. Misspell the name? No problem. When Google presents the search results it will ask you "Did you Mean [correct name]?" But what about SEO? A great company name may help but a bad company name can be overcome with good SEO. After all, the no 1 online shoe store is Zappos, not shoes.com. And don't forget, the majority of the typical company's web site traffic, even if direct, is rarely the result of someone "typing" in a specific URL.

The HR marketplace has had its share of peculiar branding:

Then (dot.com era): PerksAtWork.com changes name to Abilizer.
Reaction: Terrible branding decision.
Where are they Now? Abilizer burned through tens of millions of dollars and then fizzled away. But it had little to do with their company name.

Then (2004): Recruitsoft changes name to Taleo.
Reaction: Mixed but lots of "what are they thinking?"
Now: Taleo is doing just fine. Nobody remembers the old name.

Then (2006): Recruitmax changes name to Vurv.
Reaction: Similar to Taleo.
Now: Taleo bought them in 2008 in spite of the name.

But honestly, I'm not sure a company name really matters in the long run..........

Unless your company's name is a phrase used in everyday conversation and you are trying to measure your online media visibility.

Couple of examples:

- A Place for Mom is a relatively new and fast growing company that helps caregivers locate care options for their loved ones. But when you set-up news alerts to track your media visibility you're likely to also pick up thousands of articles that have nothing to do with your brand such as a blog with the phrase "I was looking for a place for mom to stay when she visits Santa Cruz...."

- Setting up an alert for the leading background screening company Accurate Background will return a ton of irrelevant stories such as "a company wanting to conduct an accurate background check on a new employee......"

- And try setting up an alert for training company ELI. You'll be getting a ton of football articles on the Mannings.

What's a company to do?

In a few weeks HRmarketer will launch a new E-Clipping Service (My Company News) that we hope solves this problem.

A sneak peak....

My Company News is a new online media monitoring service that will track major national news sites, newspapers, trade magazines and business journals, plus broadcast TV and radio media outlets. My Company News will also track HR-specific online news and blog sources as well as social media sites such as Twitter — effectively covering millions of outlets.

Updated hourly, the ‘Company News’ section enables HRmarketer members to conveniently view recent media coverage of their company or from a specific time period in the past. Additionally, members can share their media coverage via services like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Digg to further enhance their company's online visibility and Web site traffic. All content is fully accessible via RSS in any desired format, and companies can subscribe to their own feed via email updates, including a mobile feed option and an iPhone application in the Fall.

As we get ready to launch this service we are spending considerable time creating the search strings for each HRmarketer client and adding negative keywords so companies get an accurate picture of their online visibility - without the junk. It's been quite a project but we think we've got a winner here.

As Kevin Grossman, president of HRmarketer says, “Our new e-clipping service will help HRmarketer become a central resource where HR suppliers can plan, manage, execute and measure their company's marketing, PR and SEO initiatives. For years our members have asked for a media tracking service to help them locate news coverage and media placements. Now we can help them measure which news announcements best resonate with various media audiences including blogs and social media sites."

Stay tuned.

Labels: , ,