5 tips to deal with inherited branding
I wish my parents had known more about SEO when they named me.
Sometimes when we in the digital branding and marketing sphere take on a new employer or client we face a few “name” challenges. We really cannot do much about it because the company is already born and we’re late to the game. I understand. I mean my name is Ken Cook for Pete’s sake. Google me by name and you’ll have to dig way down to find me. On Google, in fact, I am currently 9th and 11th in raw search results and those are my Twitter and G+ accounts respectively! I feel as if I have no respect. But alas, it is my fault.
Say you inherit the reigns for SEO and social evangelism at a company already named. Say that company has been around for a while and they “just don’t get it” about the importance of a well designed and scientifically engineered name space. It happens. It happened to me – a few times. Remember your training, stick to the basics and don’t make any big, sweeping changes. Here are five bullets I use to win the name shoot-out:
Embrace the name – even if the company has a very unusual sounding or what you would consider negatively branded name. Like say, Toothpaste by Toilet or Plane of Death Airlines. While I’m not saying they should not immediately change names and carve their own eyes out with a broken toothpick that’s not our jobs as lowly brand engineers. Embrace the name as though it were your baby.
Keep with protocol – all marketers know there are times when marketing protocol collides with executive management desires. One thing I always keep in mind is if I and my current employer split up I still have to work with me and I do not want a bad name following me around. Trust me, I have work that I do not and will not refer too. One has to do with some Austrian crystals. So regardless of how badly your upper mucks want you to spam the planet – resist.
Buy space if you have to – and let’s face it, if the name of your company is Butt Cake you’re going to need a little help so share some wealth with your favorite ad agency. Or, if you are a DIYer get in there and buy some space – within reason of course.
Count small victories – I once had a client with a really badly chosen name for what they did. I can’t say it here but I was developing online custom apparel catalogs for some Fortune 1000 companies and the supplier had a particular name that was probably okay for Web2.0 but this was in 1997 and … well, it was one of those where you felt like you always had to explain what the company did. If it had been called Custom Corporate Apparel no problem. It wasn’t. So I counted small victories. Every time they acquired a new client that meant I got a new client, too. I had written all of the code for the eCommerce solution and even inventory control, fulfillment and every step in between. That meant every time they got a new client I put a new set of backlinks out there. I never got them to change their name but I finally got them to number one on Google!
Work for synonimity – you mean that’s not a word? How about synonymousness? Work to make your company’s name synonymous with the product or service. I know Mary Bell’s Nut Wax probably doesn’t sound like the best furniture polish name when you’re competing with Endust but look for creative ways to make your name the leader.