What'S In A Name?
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Managing Director
See interview of Chetan  Nagaonkar
When Shakespeare wrote about it, I am not sure if he also referred to names of organizations. At least, I felt obliged to ensure that our startup should have a relevant name that symbolizes our objective of business. I believe that there are many things in a name. It’s a different topic to debate what does successful brand names like Apple, Nokia, Google and Microsoft etc have to do with its business strategy/goals though. This small blog attempts to throw some of my thoughts/activities that underwent in rebranding exercise.

I had a customer willing to sign a contract before I had registered my startup. Obviously, there needed a registration of an entity to be formed to sign a contract with customer. It was in such a hurry that I had very little time to analyze options for naming the entity. Of course, as any budding businessman, I wanted to name the entity differently and meaningfully, and I had indeed thought about few names. Since I have been obsessed with perfection and professionalism, most of the names hovered around that theme and those words, to be specific – 

  • Obsessed Professionals
  • Obsessed Professionals Technologies and to brand/set its acronym as OPT
  • Obsessed Professionals Solutions (but then that point of time, I was thinking more in terms of services and hence, Obsessed Professionals Services was registered)

While registering the domain, I realized that opt.com, ops.com weren’t available. That is when I thought about coming up with a slogan –‘Redefine Excellence. Opt for OPS’ and then registered for the domain ‘OptForOPS.com’.

 

As usual, the process of evolving the business, understanding sales, marketing, finance, HR, quotations etc followed. I was able to visit different prospects, present them on services, capabilities etc. Although everybody seemed convinced, some of them were hesitant since I had to undergo the process of getting listed as their vendor/partner. Thankfully, others did demonstrate trust and confidence and helped us immensely to get listed as their partner/vendor.

Whenever folks would get our reference, they would eventually call us and ask if they were talking to someone in OptForOPS ! I had branded the entity as O.P.S but since the website (and subsequently the emails) reflected OptForOPS.com, people had started assuming that was our entity name. Slowly, we were getting known as OPS and with few, as OptForOPS !

Few months down the line, when I was able to learn more about business, I started questioning myself on the entity name and if it was reflecting what I intended the business objectives should be. For instance, although O.P.S reflected that our professionals were obsessed and served professional services, would that suffice? It’s a human nature to think that they are providing best; however, ultimately, it should be measured by the customer who is receiving the services. Thankfully, during our feedback process, we realized that we had exceeded customers’ expectations and were being used as benchmarks for other vendors in terms of services. We realized that our consultants were indeed making a difference and contributing significantly to their business lifecycles by providing best possible solutions. And voila! That is what was required to think while considering new business name. No matter what you do or how professional and excellent services you provide, if it is not contributing to customer business lifecycle, ethically, you are not entitled to generate invoices and ask for payments.

Since I was operating mostly from home, I was also able to spend significant time with my daughter. One day, while tutoring her, I came across a word called ‘Stomata’, which is referred to pores on leaves that help plants for movement of oxygen/carbon dioxide – used for photosynthesis (preparation of food). We also discussed about different lifecycles. Since the entire lifecycle chain starts with plants, I realized that it eventually starts at Stomata. That was it! The background process in my brain was probably doing a parallel processing of managing the business. And hence, I decided to link this with business lifecycle while renaming the organization. I made a mental note, mapped the thought process of Stomata with business rebranding and left it there trusting that my sub-conscious mind will remind me at the right time. Later, when I searched for domains, Stomata.com, iStomata.com, eStomata.com were all unavailable. While discussing the possibility of renaming O.P.S with one of my friend, when I shared Stomata as a new possible business name, his first reaction was to rhyme it with Sonata (another technology organization) and at the second instance, to rhyme it with tomato! That upset me enough not to consider Stomata as the new name (not that I dislike tomatoes. I respect Steve Jobs's extraordinary skills to name the organization as one of the fruits/vegetables and yet, manage to create distinguished brand name in IT segment). However, the more I thought about it, I was convinced that I was not Steve Jobs and that new business name should be related with Stomata. Now you know why I love etymology so much! Finally, I decided to shorten the name and make it as Stomi and prefix it with “e” to reflect technology organization. I added Technologies to ensure that it reflects ‘Information Technology’ aspect rather than getting categorized as pharmaceutical organization.

If you thought that it ended there, well, that was just the preamble of rebranding exercise. Once I finalized the name, I had to complete several activities of registering for domain, getting the website created and updated, getting an affidavit notarized to make the rebranding legal, informing customers/vendors/employees about the change, regenerate appointment letters, business cards etc. Last but not least, pay a sizeable fee to our partner consultants who helped us to achieve this rebranding.

Was this rebranding exercise worth it? You bet! The time ahead will decide it tooWink. I had fun and I believe that I have learnt enough to start additional consultancy to help folks rebrand their organizations Smile Is any organization ready to sign up with us for it?

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