Can you imagine if your customers paid you to advertise your brand all over town? Or if people who didn’t even patronize your business wanted to buy a t-shirt with your brand name on it just because it was so much fun. Any business can generate extra revenue simply by having a fun name that you can slap on a product and sell. That’s what we call monetizing a name. The good news is it doesn’t matter what your business is or even if you have a retail location because customers from all over the world can order your branded merchandise online. Here’s how some of our clients are doing it:
Spoon Me. What started as a simple frozen yogurt shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, is now an international franchise who makes cold, hard cash selling everything from bumper-stickers to booty shorts, which feature fun phrases like “Shut Up and Spoon Me,” and “If You’re Driving This Close, You Might As Well Spoon Me.” The merchandise is sold in stores and online and has even been featured on “The Real World” on MTV. (If the client had gone with their original name idea, Zenyo, how many t-shirts would they have sold?)
I Have a Bean: A socially responsible gourmet coffee company in Wheaton, Illinois, is enjoying the perks of extra income from the sale of stylish “I Have a Bean,” coffee mugs and t-shirts. They’ve extended the brand with racy t-shirt slogans like, “Drink It Naked.” (We’re still waiting for them to sell a t-shirt with our suggested slogan, “Once you go black…”)
Stuff a Sock In It. This chain of Tennessee Laundromats wanted a name that would appeal to the college-student customers. They are cleaning up with cheeky laundry bags and t-shirts that sport their fun name and logo.
Hand Job. This cheeky neighborhood nail spa in San Francisco’s Castro district is making money hand over fist selling lotions, potions and t-shirts with the name on it. And they are enjoying lots of free exposure from the thousands of people who walk by the store and take a photo of the sign.
To come up with a fun business name, look online for lists of puns, catch phrases and idioms. Try substituting one word for another, e.g. “I Have a Bean,” instead of “I Have a Dream.” Play around with words common to your business, e.g. if you have a pet store, ideate around words like, fetch, bone, scratch, paw, fur, etc. A great place to start is www.onelook.com. Have fun and let me know what you come up with!
Alexandra Watkins is Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Eat My Words, a nationally-recognized branding firm known for creating names that generate buzz and revenue. They love naming retail businesses and have an affordable “Snack” service for non-funded start-ups and entrepreneurs.