Seven steps to nail your FITNESS business brand name so you can be as fearless as you are resilient.
Superhero or entrepreneur, not everyone is born for this path.
If you are on it, then you already know. Entrepreneurs, especially ones like you, that are working to forge the way for a healthier world, all possess the capacity to continually channel superhero abilities and build excellence for their business and their brand. Not everyone has figured out the right process, the right brand name, the right strategy, the right consumer, or the right model for their specific business. To start, you should decide that you have a brand name you can stand alongside confidently as you expand.
After 15 years of a successful career in sales, marketing, brand management and servicing Fortune 500 clients at the agency I founded, I did the only thing an intelligent businessperson could do to ensure the future success of the business...
I SHUT IT DOWN.
Did I love my work and the industry I was in? Yes. Did my agency name come from a source of pure inspiration when I found it lo’ those many years ago? Absolutely. Was I still attached to the initial dreams I laid out even though the landscape had evolved around me? Yes, but herein lies the rub.
I had become overly attached to the ideas I had in the beginning, the name, the direction and business plan – which evolved slightly over a few early years, but as I was in the fortunate position to garner 90% my clients via word-of-mouth, it seemed my clientele was driving the business plan for my future. I had to stop and redirect my dreams into a career path I loved.
This meant starting over. From scratch, but this time with all the tools I had and 18 years of marketing, sales and branding expertise under my belt. So, first, I decided – it was time to choose the style of my superhero cape. The moniker I wanted associated with me, my company and everything we stood for. This is how I got here, and founded Prowess.
Along the journey, it is typically a singular, sometimes awe inspiring moment that sets a person on the road to becoming a force of nature, to do good in the world.
I knew that I needed a company name for about 2 months, but was having trouble. I chose words that meant a lot to me, or would have been perfect for the stealth craft cocktail bar I always wanted to own, but most consumers in my audience couldn’t even pronounce my top choices. (Who tries to pick a brand name from an Old Norse word?!?!) I meditated on it, asked my closest friends about 50 name options I had curated, sent late night texts to myself after 2am dreams presented possibilities, ruled out names I loved but then thought sounded corporate, stuffy AF, silly, or boring.
Then it happened. My countless hours of research and subconscious marketing monkey-mind collided…And in one moment when I was time pressured by a software crash to rewrite and launch a twelve-word text for a drip campaign I was demoing to 180-person conference audience in just under 10-minutes, it rolled off my fingers like it had been there all along. “Reply with your email to receive tips that boost your marketing prowess.” When I showcased how-to use the text campaign software live in my seminar, I asked “Did everyone who texted an answer receive a response? OK – What does it say?”. A gal in the third row raised her hand, stood up and read the text aloud. When she stumbled on the final the word “prowess” – she made a face – albeit like she didn’t understand the meaning – and then repeated it again – slow and loud like a kid about to spell the final word at a spelling bee: Prowess. She took the phrase in, shrugged her shoulders, and quickly sat back down. I breathed a sigh and a wide smile grew on my face. I moved on to the next key point in my presentation – but at that moment - I knew that word would represent me, my team and all the expertise we share and that we had named the brand.
So, get to it! Follow the guidelines below, and you can manifest the business name that best suits your dream in the next 30 days.
Your brand is your brawn: When you say it aloud, your visceral response should be like a high five of self-affirmation.
- #1 List It: Make a list of names you’ve been toying with. This is the beginning list you will add to and subtract from as you move through 30 days to name (or rename) your biz.
- #2 Play Games: Get inspired and stop taking it all so seriously sometimes. Use the dictionary. Surf the internet - on the least used words in the English language, or for quotes, or a marriage of words that evoke the essence of your offering, try a translation of the name you want in another language (Like Zappos?!?!) Ask people you respect, (or even a random stranger at a bar) to share one word that makes them think of you. Add anything you like at a level 7/10 or more to the list. Make sure you list ALL options that give you any visceral response – the ones that scare and delight you.
- #3 Banner Your Walls: Hang brand name options on your walls. As soon as you can, tape up big blotter sheets in large lettering in your home somewhere you can see them everyday. Some names will grow on you, some words may morph together into another name, someone else may see one and call it out because they like it. You will know what sticks for you over time and what becomes less inspiring than when you first wrote it. Add more. Kill the names that fade from your favorites.
- #4 Research + Test: From your big master list, you have got to see what will work digitally and for social media application. What URLs are available? What social handles? Kill any name that is already being used by someone in your industry. Get rid of brand names that others have used on a large or national scale. Search the business directory to see if anyone has dibs on the name. Be thorough. The last thing you want it to be served a cease and desist letter for your company brand name two years after you have built brand equity and an incredible following of clients – when you show up on the radar of another company that serves you legal papers to change your name. Recently an exceptionally gifted client of mine in Los Angeles and I had one of the challengingly honest conversations I must have from time-to-time when big change must happen. Her wellness business name was almost the exact same name, and very close spelling, as a hydro-colonic therapy business in the same city. She hired me to support her modernization and expansion, and I knew it would be confusing, or maybe even off-putting for her desired audience, and would most definitely push her down the search engine list, so I asked her to change the name. This never comes as easy news. Since we were about to kickoff her new website and all new materials – it was at that moment she had to make the shift – or not at all. I continued to give her the sweet push that she needed, reminding her that if you frame the process as an adventure, it can be fun. The result was a business name that she felt thrilled about – a brand she feels even more compelled to share.
- #5 Drop It Like Its Hot: Cull your final list. Make deep cuts until you have 3 solid names you like on the list. You might know that one is the bottom contender, but leave it there anyway.
- #6 Choose It + Use It: Above all, be bold and choose your final brand name yourself (or with business partners if you have them). This is about you making the decision and standing in that power. If you want the business to soar, this is the first step – you must own the business brand all the way to your bones. There will be no one else to blame, needs to feel personal and loved by the owner(s). Buy the URL if you haven’t already – I started buying and setting ‘prowess.co’ and ‘theprowess’ handles before I even decided on it permanently – I knew that I wanted prowess.co or prowess.io – but that I might have to settle on what was available: theprowess.co. In the end, the owner of prowess.co decided to sell their URL to me – and I celebrated that as the final sign that I was on the right track to helping others make their fitness business dreams come true.
- #7 Don’t Settle: Above all. Find a way to get a name you love. Be ok with choosing the option that feels risky to you. Choose your business name wisely, then aim to be fearless and resilient. This means plodding forward through the rough patches, throwing out the strategy several times, changing the plan, shifting focus and being nimble as often as it takes to succeed. In the end, your brand name is only informed by the work you put behind it – so make the decision, and move on to the essential and deeper next steps that drive your business planning, strategy, and eventual success.
Now is the time for you to WORK IT.
Don’t be so fixed that you can’t bend in the winds of change. They will never stop blowing.
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