Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Your Name Matters

Most of us don't get to chose our name.

We are stuck with the name our parents gave us.

But your business, that's something you decide.

The Rules have changed over the past 100 years.

My Dad's parents had a restaurant that was named after the family: Howard's Restaurant.

And the business went has had four owners, my grandfather, my uncle, my cousin, and for the past 10 years, a lady named Crystal Ball, who worked for the family for 20 years and bought it when it was for sale.

Crystal could have changed the name, but she saw the value in the name that had spanned generations and kept it intact.

(Apparently her parents had a sense of humor too).

In today's world however, there are several factors to consider when naming your business:

  • Is it Unique?
  • Is it Descriptive?
  • Is it Limiting?
  • Is it Confusing?
  • Is it too long?
  • Is it too short?
  • Is it Memorable?
  • Is it Social Media & Web friendly?
These are all considerations I had when I registered my company name: ScLoHo Marketing Solutions a few years ago.

The ScLoHo identity has been around for years. It began as an email address on Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. Then I registered the ScLoHo.com and ScLoHo.net domains and also claimed ScLoHo on about 50 social media sites.

ScLoHo is just abbreviation of the name my parents gave me with the first two letters of my first, middle and last name. It is unique, and it is pronounceable.

Google ScLoHo and you'll come up with a few thousand links to me.

I don't really care if I am found via keywords. I am not looking to build world wide fame and fortune. Many of my coworkers are unaware of my social media presence. Which is fine with me.

One last story about how my social media life and in-person life converge:

This past summer, my wife and I attended a baseball game at Parkview Field, home of the minor league Fort Wayne Tincaps. About the 5th inning, we took a walk around the stadium and a friend of mine that I met via Twitter, yelled out "ScLoHo!"

I stopped and turned around and went over and talked to my friend Andy and noticed that he was with a group of folks that I know and work with from the Asher Advertising Agency who mostly know me as Scott Howard, although a couple of them know me by both identities.

Instead of me explaining to those who didn't know what ScLoHo was all about, I let my friends explain it, which added credibility.

So, to sum it up, you want your name to stand for something.

To stand for something good.

Something good that others will want to know about.

Chose your name wisely.

Guard and protect your name.

And if you want find more about ScLoHo, just go here: http://www.scloho.net/

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Anyone Honestly Honest?

Is it possible to grow from zero to 500,000,000 customers in 6 years?

The answer is yes.

The answer is Facebook.

Based on the sheer number of registered accounts, it is the most successful social networking company ever.

Let's look at another one: Starbucks.

Most of their customers are unaware that Starbucks is nearly 40 years old. Founded in 1971.

Today Starbucks has over 17,000 locations worldwide.

Step back in time to 1962. That's when Sam Walton opened the first Walmart. Last count was 8500 stores in 15 countries.

One more blast to the past: 1940, the year the McDonald Brothers started selling burgers. Now they have over 31,000 stores around the world.

These are just three companies that came to mind as I was thinking of Mega-Success Stories.

Each one of these grew because they had the money to grow.

A couple years ago I read the book, McDonald's - Behind the Golden Arches by John Love and learned the struggles and near bankruptcy that McDonald's went through in the early years. (The book was published 25 years ago and McDonald's is one of my clients.)

Each of these companies have had to fight the temptation to rip off their customers. And each have had their share of controversy in their lifetimes.

Many people misquote the Bible, "Money is the root of all evil", and then proclaim a gospel of poverty as a more honest way of life.

Let's clear up the quote.

From Wikipedia: The phrase derives from a saying attributed to Jesus in the Apostle Paul's First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament: "The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV). The expression is commonly misquoted as simply "Money is the root of all evil". A more accurate rendering from the original Greek may be: "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil," (New American Standard Bible).

Ah, ha... It's not money, it is greed and what how people act out their greed that causes the evil.

So, back to the question, Is Anyone Honestly Honest?

Look at the motives, look at the heart. Everyone is tempted. The small business owner is tempted to pay someone under the table. The millionaire is tempted to sock away assets in an offshore account.

The man in poverty is tempted to rob, steal, even kill for money.

Temptation does not always result in bad behavior. It 99% of the temptations we face we overcome. The same is true in the business world.

So what does this have to do with marketing, and advertising?

Advertising is the paid form of marketing that you buy for your business.

Marketing includes advertising and everything else related to your business and that includes you and your staff.

Are you honest? Look at your motives.

Is it okay to want to earn lots of money? Look at the motives behind it.

If you let greed take over as you primary motivation for making money it will fail eventually.

If your primary focus is on helping people by selling them a product or service, and set your prices and fees accordingly, everyone wins.

Enjoy the Holidays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Prediction for 2011

I was invited (again) to make a prediction for next year for Joe Pulizzi and Junta 42.

Here's what I submitted:

Value will be the true measuring stick in 2011.

Questions consumers are asking themselves, "Is there a value to me if I follow you on Twitter or Like you on Facebook?"

Business owners are asking themselves, "Is mass discounting via Groupon (and similar sites) providing me with customers that I value, or am I just offering loss leaders without any true long term value to my business?"

Social Media skeptics will place little value on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, etc because they haven't grasped the social interaction value of the media.

Social Media users and believers will continue to grow and increase their value to their friends and followers because they understand that despite the trackability of the web, relationships are not as easily measured in simple R.O.I. terms.

Every decision made in 2011 will be based on the value each of us as individuals assign to the choices.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's the Money, Honey...

30 years ago, I was a rock and roll radio disc-jockey.

I worked on the air on the top music station in town playing everything from the Doors to John Fogerty, Black Sabbath, and even some Cat Stevens and the Jacksons. WMEE was the #1 Top 40 music station in Fort Wayne.

After a few more stops, I moved over to the advertising side of radio in Detroit. I had learned the business side of the entertainment industry and the truth about radio, tv, newspapers, magazines, etc.

Today, I am back in the radio advertising business and social media, and a few other projects too.

The vast majority are supported by advertising. And advertising money is spent to get and keep customers and clients by the businesses that run the ads.

If the advertising doesn't produce a Return On the Investment (dollars spent on advertising), then a couple things happen.

First off, the business may stop advertising. The business may close if they cannot afford to stay open due to lack of customers.

Then the advertising medium, (radio, tv, newspapers, magazines, etc.) loses money because they have lost that particular advertiser. And they advertising to fund their operation and pay the people they have on staff. Including those rock and roll disc-jockeys.

If a radio station cannot generate enough money through advertising, it is in danger of changing its format. If a TV program doesn't generate enough money through advertising, it is canceled.

If a newspaper of magazine doesn't generate enough money through advertising, it slows down or stops printing.

US News & World Report was a magazine that I used to subscribe to in my 20's and 30's. Not anymore. And they are one of a multitude of print publications that are no longer going to be available.

Is the web the answer? Is social media the answer?
I say maybe and no.

Maybe if the internet can generate money. The same for the social media platforms.
No, if you are looking for a quick fix. Despite the tremendous growth in technology via smartphones and the like, despite the growth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, (and the list goes on and on)...

Unless there is money being made it won't work.

Someone has to be willing to buy something and someone has to be willing to sell something of value.

And the marketers job is never done because of the continuing changes.

So, got an idea? Great! Now figure out how to sell it. Need some help? Contact me @ScLoHo on Twitter or with an email to Scott@ScLoHo.net

Rock on....