What’s in a name, again?


NewsBusiness is about to go through a(nother) name change.

This isn’t something to be undertaken lightly, and the process is often fraught, as I found out myself many years ago when working for the subsidiary of a very large publishing company that went through a name change (see our previous article here – What’s in a name?).

However, sometimes it’s important to understand when a name might be holding you back or misrepresenting what it is your business does, and it is very hard to recognise this as truth when you came up with the original name yourself!

When I started NewsBusiness* (over 10 years ago, according to my LinkedIn profile, which has a better memory than I do) it was in new-found enthusiasm for a component of marketing that I knew well and had implemented for a number of clients – email marketing and something I dubbed ‘PR marketing’ at the time, now better known as ‘content marketing’. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) writing articles on various topics that engage customers and prospects of client businesses, and as a business we still do a fair amount of this.

The beauty of the name NewsBusiness was that it implied that distributing ‘news’ about your ‘business’ would lead to more ‘business’ (which is still true). It also sat nicely with the public relations/publicity side of the business – the ‘real news’ side, but even here we now have a separate name and website – Bateson Publicity, mainly for reasons related to 1) clarity and 2) SEO.

I still absolutely believe that email marketing and content marketing are incredibly effective marketing strategies, and have seen them work really well for clients.

However they don’t work in isolation and, depending on the size of the business you are running, are not going to work on their own – they presuppose a certain level of sales and marketing activity already in place, which sometimes is just not there.

The other issue – for us anyway – is that organisations that truly understand (and can really get maximum value from) email marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing are generally larger and often have a marketing manager or someone with this role. If they already have someone performing a marketing function on the payroll and they are NOT doing the things we do, then they’ve hired the wrong person!

And in a few instances where we have worked with clients on a marketing or publicity project, they have realised the impact of the work that we do, promptly got a full time person in to do the same job, and our contract has come to an end (c’est la vie!).

So we sat down and did some of the navel gazing about our business – something we encourage (and help) all of our clients to do.

Which services – or combination of services – we offer give the most ‘bang for buck’ for our clients? Which types of businesses are we best positioned to help? Which types of businesses value our contribution and which types of clients are the ones that we really enjoy working with? And finally, which are the most profitable for us?

Once we asked ourselves these questions, the answers seemed obvious.

For reasons relating to the amount of time it takes for a marketing strategy to start to get traction, a client needs to be able to sustain the cost of engaging us for a reasonable period of time – three months as a minimum. This is very often beyond a startup or microbusiness. And at a certain point it makes sense for a larger business to bring in a full time marketing person, who should be able to cover off all of these bases. Working out benefits of in-house against external agency is another discussion.

This process narrows down our target market to businesses with 5-15 employees, ie. large enough to benefit and too small to have a dedicated internal marketing resource.

However, when looking at overall marketing needs within this size of organisation, we found that, although content and email marketing were always going to be a major component of overall marketing, there were other pressing marketing strategies that needed to be employed as well. And the fact that we can help businesses who need general marketing advice and implementation is just not reflected in our current name and focus.

This is where we’ve had to make a frank admission to ourselves – that we are in fact marketing generalists, but nothing about our current name says that.

So we have come up with a better name (we think) and we’ll be in a position to share it with you soon. At the same time we are planning on introducing some other options that we believe will really help those organisations that are outside our target market (ie smaller or larger).

Have you ever thought about your business name and wondered if you should change it? Let us know.

*in fact the business was originally called News Equals Business, but this name was dropped after the fiftieth person on the phone assumed they were getting a call from an organisation that had something to do with music (try saying News Equals Business a couple of times and you’ll see what I mean).

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hello_my_name_is_sticker.svg

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