Names matter

BY: Doreen Hammond
Names matter

When I bumped into an old school pal, we realised there was a lot to catch up on after over two decades.

I, therefore, accepted her invitation to lunch the following day. She promised to meet me at a popular filling station so that we go together to the eatery. I met her at the pre-arranged place; and full of expectations, we drove off.

It was at the entrance to the eatery that I cringed and nearly threw up. The name of the restaurant was kakalika! How on earth anyone would name their restaurant after cockroaches was beyond my wildest comprehension!

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To cut a long story short I declined to dine at this den of cockroaches despite my friend's plea that the owner was a cousin and prepared sumptuous dishes. We moved to Papaye where we had a good time catching up on our naughty days.

As we parted company, I kept reflecting on the experience and realised that this was a general sin committed by most of our organisations. For example, I once saw a fast food joint known as zaphenath-Paneah! What has food got to do with this word?

Many businesses in the country are guilty of this anomaly. Why should a business name be formed at all cost from the names of your relatives so that you end up with Matkofiamoahbert for a hotel? Just because you are called Matilda and your husband is called Kofi Amoah and your daughter is Bertina? Elsewhere, a hotel is called Holiday Inn and the name tells you that it is an Inn for people. You hear Circle Hotel and it is so simple, easy to pronounce and tells you where the hotel is located.

I once met a tourist who had come to town and insisted that he would only sleep at California Hotel thinking that it would have Californian standards.

The name Payless or Dollar shop tells you that prices are lower though in reality that may not be the case. A name such as Papaye exudes positivity, for if the owner of the business believes in doing good, as the name literally translates, then he is less likely to use unwholesome products to prepare his food.

Then is the awkward practice of linking business names with religious flavour. So a spare parts shop at Abossey Okai is called 'In him is life Spareparts'. Or Psalm 23 Pharmacy Shop or Everything by God Salon. The truth of the matter is that as the good book also says, by their fruits they shall be known so we know of those selling goods at cut throat prices, etc in spite of these religious names.

In the world of business, the one most important decision one may ever have to make is to get the right name for their business. This is so because the name of a business has a big impact on how customers perceive the business. This is even more so in the globalised world where you will be looking at customers beyond your borders.

It is, therefore, important that certain key factors are considered in choosing a name. Among others the name must be easy to pronounce and remember and should be catchy for the purpose of attraction.

The name should be unique exude something positive and must be simple.

It is necessary that the name makes some sense and if it can throw light on what you do, then the better.

For new businesses it may be necessary to pre-test the name by getting the views of a number of people on it.

And the name must be flexible so that just in case you decide to expand your business, the name could resonate with all your products or services.

As a business owner, you may keep arguing that you have established the business with your own money, from your own sweat, and, therefore, the choice of name must be anyhow you like it. Well, there is no law prohibiting this way of doing things but no matter what you think, names matter. And you will depend on customers to keep your business thriving.