When starting up a business, one of the most obvious but important things to consider is the very name that you’ll be trading under. Some people aim for the ‘does what it says on the tin’ approach like Bert’s Bees, Screwfix and Poundland. Others go for the ‘less is more’ tactic, using an acronym like DFS, IKEA and IBM. Somewhat bafflingly, there are also firms that opt to change their name and go for something much more cryptic, perhaps in the hope that it’d make them seem more pretentious exotic. Remember when the Royal Mail tried to rebrand itself as Consignia in 2001? Well, neither do they. Or they try not to, having received so much stick for it that they had to consign it to the dumper after only a couple of years. And that was after spending 1.5 million on the rebrand and then a further million on changing it back!
Then there’s the ‘pun’ route, which can often divide potential customers. But this is usually the domain of small businesses, and anyone who’s prepared to advertise their flooring services by calling themselves Lino Richie has got to be worth a punt, right? And ink refills by Alan Cartridge anyone? Personally, if I had to move house and Jean Claude Van Man was in the area he’d be top of my list.
Puns can be quite funny and clever but after a while the novelty tends to wear off. Did Brighton’s fitting specialists ‘Knobs and Knockers’ come to regret their name or did it actually encourage business? Sadly we can’t find out because they’re no longer trading. And is the proprietor of Budapest veggie hangout ‘Marquis de Salade’ concerned about any associations with an infamous French libertine? Not at all, it seems, judging by the online reviews.
Here at Spicer International we like to keep it simple. Our M.D’s name is Spicer and we send/receive freight anywhere in the world. That’s it in a nutshell. But it’s notable how many new customers ring up and ask, “Do you send stuff to foreign countries?” After all, we don’t answer the phone by saying, “Hello, Spicer UK delivery only.”
But this is nothing compared to some companies. The receptionist at an Oklahoma company who got sick of receiving prank calls for gastrointestinal issues springs to mind. And the name of the business she worked for? Phartronics Engineering.
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