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  Category: Articles » Business » Article

Naming Your Local Business

By Marcia Yudkin

Pothole Pictures: Normally this name wouldn't create a positive image for a movie theater. But in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, where glacial potholes in the Deerfield River running through the village are a cherished part of the landscape, the name works well.

When naming a business whose geographical reach and clientele are mainly local, you can use nicknames, regional or city lore, local in-jokes and historical references that might be lost on outsiders. Subliminally, these kinds of names drive home the message, "We're rooted in your community."

Besides features of the landscape, consider these sources of inspiration:

* City nicknames. Some residents of Northampton, Massachusetts affectionately refer to it as "Noho," so a local studio calls itself Noho Yoga. Happy Valley Gifts in nearby Amherst also plays off a local nickname.

* Historical references. Paradise Copies, Paradise Spa and Paradise Taxi all refer to the locally well-known fact that in 1851, Swedish singer Jenny Lind pronounced Northampton "the Paradise of America." Likewise, residents understand that the Calvin Theater pays homage to Calvin Coolidge, who before becoming U.S. president served as mayor of Northampton.

* Archaic names. Geographical names no longer in use may have the same sort of cachet for locals in the know. Norwottuck Realty Company and Nonotuck Community School both make reference to Native American names for what is now Northampton.

* Local in-jokes. Upingil Farm in Gill, Massachusetts "humorously describes its location perfectly for those of us who live here," a colleague tells me. "I'm sure the owner of the farm has been referred to as 'Mr. Upingil' by outsiders who don't understand the pun in the farm's name."

Homegrown industries and the mascots for high school and college athletic teams in the area can also inspire business names with a local aura.

What about locally inspired names for companies doing business nationally or internationally? In most cases, such a name won't register meaningfully at a distance. It won't hurt but won't help the business, either. At worst, such a name can backfire.

For instance, Nobscot Corporation is named after an Algonquin Indian word meaning "rocky place," and alludes to a hamlet in Massachusetts frequented by author Henry David Thoreau. Nobscot comes across respectably in the U.S. but evokes snickers in England, where "nob" is slang for a private part of the male anatomy.

Use my examples from Massachusetts to spark insights and ideas for your own locale if you have a local business to name!
About the Author
Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and ten other books hailed for outstanding creativity. Find out more about her new discount naming company, Named At Last, which brainstorms new company names, new product names, tag lines and more for cost-conscious organizations, at .

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  Some other articles by Marcia Yudkin
Business Names Do Matter, Norm Brodsky
In the November 2005 issue of Inc. magazine, Norm Brodsky wrote: "Your company's name plays little, if any, role in determining your success." I agree completely that a ...

New Business Names: Naming With A Story
Sometimes a company name communicates a message on its own, and sometimes the story underlying the name adds depth and distinction to that ...

The Benefits Of Branding
Branding is the process of creating distinctive and durable perceptions in the minds of consumers. A brand is a persistent, unique business identity intertwined ...

Branding Cures Several Marketing Headaches
Are you trying to attract business with a no-name, no-differences-from-competitors company identity? Branding your company, when done well, not only helps you stand out in a field of similar choices, it also helps you ...

Exploit Your Brand To The Fullest
A brand goes beyond a company name and tagline. It is a complete personality or set of values, sometimes even a story line, along with repeated visual, ...

Why Bother Building A Brand?
At a conference in Dallas not long ago, a graphic designer from Kentucky and I sat down at a table where people were exchanging business cards. I looked at his logo, and ...

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