If you passed me on the street, would you know my name? Would you call me by it? If you needed what I had to offer, would my company name be one that came to mind?
There are few things more powerful than a name. It links to our actions, our reputation and to the history of who we are. In days of old, continuation of the family name was a key goal of lord and serf alike. It was all they had to guarantee they would be remembered after they were gone. Today, both individuals and companies focus on a name as a brand, hoping to link what they stand for and what they do to the name they carry.
Our name connects us to others.
Many companies have recognized the power of the sharing of names between employees and customers. Last week I had lunch at the Macaroni Grill. Our server came over to the table and introduced himself, saying “Hello, my name is David” as he pulled out a crayon and scrawled his name right on the table. He went on to welcome us, ask what we would like and assure us that he wanted us to have a good time today and to call for him by NAME if we needed anything at all. Other businesses, including Sam’s Club and Safeway have taken the practice one step further. Each employee has a name tag which allows us to call them by name. They use technology and our name on membership cards to thank us by name for coming to their store. The Safeway at Chandler and 40th Street has been where I do my weekly shopping since we moved to the Valley of the Sun in 1992. Through familiarity and the regular exchange of names, we have come to know each other.
Al is always available with a smile to help me find a special ingredient or item. Linda has been ringing up my orders for years. If I see her behind one of the registers, that is the direction my cart veers – even if the line is shorter on row over. Steven is often there to help me take my overloaded basked to the car and fills me in on the things he has been doing or how his family is getting along.
Within a short drive from my home, there are six supermarkets within a very small radius, including another Safeway. They all have coupons, bargains and specials. But I always go back to the same one. Not because it is closest or cheapest, but because we are on a first name basis and I know that I can get what I need there. It is not just store policy, or a marketing gimmick. It’s a connection.
What’s in a name?
When I launched my own business in 2002, I had to answer a lot of questions. The most important being…what was our reason for being in business? This broke down further to… what would we offer, who we would serve and how we best serve them.?
My personal passion was innovation, doing something in a new way to make life better for the people who matter. Helping other organizations create innovative ways to achieve their business goals became the central focus of our company – our core purpose.
When I started to research possible names, it all came back to who and what we were. We had a strong, motivating drive to our core purpose. We helped others discover and capitalize on their core purpose in innovative ways. We became CorePurpose, Inc.
Today, companies come to us to help them refocus, to grow, to make the most of what they have, or find the things they need to realize their own core purpose. We get calls from around the country and around the world asking about what we do and how we do it.
Our name and our reputation brings customers to our door. The work we do brings them back. ~ Joan Koerber-Walker
What about your business? What does your name say about you? What do people think of when they hear it?
If you do not know, there is a simple test. Ask the question! Most people will be happy to tell you what they think and are pleased to be asked. You might be surprised what you hear. What your customers tell you is what they perceive your purpose and value to be.
What they think of when they hear your name matters the most. Their perception of your business and the value it brings when linked to your name becomes your brand. If you like what you hear, maximize the message in the marketplace. If you are not hearing what you want – you may have some work to do.
Just as a business brand links your name to what the markets perceives you to be, you have a personal brand that links your name to how those around you see you. What you do and how you do it becomes tied to your name. Your personal brand may change depending where you are. In my case, when I am around the school or at the hockey rink, I am well known as Chris Walker or Nick Walker’s Mom. My brand is directly linked to theirs. My claim to fame is directly linked to what they do and who they know. In the business and philanthropic community, my brand is more closely linked to the personal values I exhibit in my work with customers, organizations I volunteer with, or associations I belong to. In the case of my personal brand, what they see is what I get. What I do becomes what my personal brand is perceived to be.
Ask yourself – what is my personal brand? Ask your friends. You might be surprised by what you hear. If you like the answers you get, build on it. If you don’t like the answers, get to work.
So, do you know my name? Will I know yours? Whether you look at this question personally or in terms of your business, the answer may be one of the most important ones you ever hear.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned…