When Naming Your Business, Choose Words Carefully

September 20th, 2009 by Bob Bly

You’ve heard of Meineke Discount Muffler, right?

Nothing wrong with that name.

So Jeff wanted a similar sounding name for his auto repair shop specializing in brakes.

We drove past his place today and saw in front a big sign that said:

JEFF’S BUDGET BRAKE.

I said to my wife: “I’m not sure when we’re shopping for brakes, the word we are thinking of to describe them is BUDGET or BARGAIN or anything that implies cheap merchandise.”

Maybe Jeff’s RELIABLE Brakes.

What do you think of the name JEFF’S BUDGET BRAKE — good, bad, or terrible?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 20th, 2009 at 2:58 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

20 responses about “When Naming Your Business, Choose Words Carefully”

  1. Bill Perry said:

    I think in the case of a muffler shop, it might not be so bad. I think it just depends on the merchandise.

    I read once about how some casinos and hotels in Atlantic City tried to appeal to the “average” person by offering discount casino/hotel booking packages and nearly went bankrupt doing so.

    Seems the people on vacation didn’t want to be reminded of their “normal” lives and wanted to live like high rollers for at least a weekend.

  2. Byrne said:

    You never want to look like you’re the low bid in matters of love or death. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey! I stopped by Hanks House of Cast-off Flowers, and then went to the Discount Chocolate Slab emporium!”

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  4. Debra Dalgleish said:

    Good advice, and Reliable or Dependable would be much better adjectives. Funny though, that the next article in my RSS feeds was “Break Through By Taking Breaks”. ;-)
    http://www.publetariat.com/write/break-through-taking-breaks

  5. Katherine Chalmers said:

    Ranks right up there with Discount Sushi – no thanks!

  6. Phil Wrzesinski said:

    It all depends on the the type of customers you wish to attract.

    All businesses have traits (or values, or characteristics – use whichever phrase you wish). The businesses who consistently align their image, their advertising and their operations with the traits they possess do a better job of attracting customers who share those same traits.

    Although you and I might not want “budget brakes”, there certainly may be a market of people to whom this is appealing and attractive. If Jeff believes this is his calling, his business model, his values, who are we to argue?

    No business can get 100% of the marketshare. Few ever get 30% of their market. The most successful businesses, however, are those that understand this and focus on their segment with tightly aligned branding where the business meets the customer’s expectations time and time again through consistent performance that matches the advertised message. If Jeff’s brakes are truly “budget” he’ll probably do well.

  7. Hesster said:

    I think it depends on the product. I probably wouldn’t think twice about the name JEFF’S BUDGET FURNITURE or JEFF’S DISCOUNT COMPUTERS. But for brakes? Terrible.

    Your life is riding on your brakes. Would you buy your smoke detectors from JEFF’S BUDGET SMOKE ALARMS?

    Personally, when I get my brakes worked on, I want to go somewhere that does work that’s going to be safe and dependable. I would not go to a place that specifically advertised budget brakes.

  8. Greg said:

    Going there would be like telling my wife we are buying a house in Cut and Shoot, Texas.

  9. Lou Wasser said:

    Welcome to Jeff’s budget brakes. We offer a premium brake that stops your car short twenty-five feet in front of a possible devastating accident.

    We also offer our popular budget brake that stops your car short three inches in front of any possible devastating accident. This model has been proven to work 87.67% of the time, and comes with catastrophic medical insurance for the driver.

    You pays your money and takes your chances.

  10. Chris Greaves said:

    I think I’d go for a longer slogan:
    “You can’t Budge It – with Budget Brakes”

  11. Yolander Prinzel said:

    I just saw a coupon for a cosmetic surgery procedure and thought the same thing. Really, you’ll hack me up at a discount? Awesome, I hate having to pay full price for stupid things like brakes and surgery. Now if I can get a BOGO deal on my laser procedure we’ll be in business.

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  14. Ken said:

    It does sound a little iffy considering the subject matter. Maybe a name change would be a good idea…or a tagline that told a little more of the story.

  15. Mark said:

    Name does matter cause it reveal your identity to outside world…It signifies your policies your vision and mission…So While naming all the points should considered as a priority…
    Nice read…

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  17. Bill Perry said:

    I was thinking more about this today. I think another factor which would play into it is where the discount is coming from.

    Is the discount coming from parts or labor?

    A lot of shops around here charge a “standard” of $60/hour.

    If someone offered the same service, possibly even the same brakes, but at a slightly reduced labor rate, I’m sure they’d be swamped for business. At least around here.

  18. Joe Beim said:

    A fellow put a new sign up on his store: “Fresh Fish Sold Daily”

    Ben, the copywriter across the street, saw the sign and said to the fish monger, “Sol…what gives with the sign. It’s too long.

    Sol: “Why, what’s wrong?”

    Ben: “Ya gotta keep your text short and to the point. You’re here. You don’t have to use the word HERE.”

    So Sol tore off the word HERE. “OK, now?”

    Ben: “Still too long. Who’s gonna buy a fish that that you caught yesterday. Of course it was caught today. Take off the word, DAILY.”

    So Sol took off the word DAILY. “Now?”

    Ben: “SOLD? As if you’re giving the fish away?”

    Sol took off the word “SOLD.” Now only FRESH FISH remained.

    Sol: “Nu? Does that make you happy?”

    Ben:”FRESH…who’s gonna buy a fish that’s not fresh? If you put that word fresh up, it’ll make people think there’s a chance you don’t always sell fresh fish.”

    Agreeingly, Sol took the word FRESH off the sign. Now only the word “FISH” remains.

    Sol: “There. You happy now?”

    Ben: “The way those fish smell, people don’t need a sign!”

    Brother…that’s marketing.

  19. Alexander Thomas said:

    I think the use of the word budget is bad, not really terrible. All depends on who’s reading it. As a matter of fact, it’s an effective sign! Obviously, you take time to read the sign right? Some businessman strategies like this one in order to get the attention of the people.

  20. Imogen Moore said:

    Budget Brake? Just one? I thought they came in pairs. If that’s just a typo here, no problem. If it’s painted on Jeff’s sign… drive on.

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