The question “How important is it for a business to have a catchy name?”was posed by Sprint in a LinkedIn poll. The answer options were:

  • “it’s essential”(22%)
  • “not as important as marketing”(23%)
  • “not as important as a great product”(52%)
  • “catchy names are distracting” (1%)

“The poll has achieved 4,193 responses since it was launched on Dec. 23, 2009. It has also received more than 135 written comments. Kudos to the marketers at Sprint (and a best practices example of how to use LinkedIn for more than a Rolodex).”

As I read through many of the comments left by other business and marketing consultants, I made the following observation:It’s not a one-size-fits-all question. For some products or services, especially those directed to retail consumers, the value of a “catchy name” can be enormous and may justify investing significant resources in brand advertising and promotion.

Many B2B companies I know, however, compete in mature, somewhat commoditized markets. Customers assume high quality products/services and competitive prices. A catchy name may help some new companies create brand awareness, but it’s not a business differentiator and of little interest to existing customers.In B2B terms, success is a reflection of the quality of your relationships– which in turn is a reflection of your commitment to delivering excellent products/services and client support.

In many industries where replacing customers is difficult, keeping happy ones (and market share) can be more important than prospecting for new customers. If you take existing relationships for granted, you risk losing them. That leaves you forever prospecting to fill a bucket with holes in the bottom. It’s essential to communicate your values, commitments, and vision to your customers, industry partners, and prospects. In other words,you need to communicate the benefits of a relationship with you. That may be your strongest differentiator.

Action to take now: Review everything.

  1. Review your communications plan.What messages are you sending customers and prospects (or do you spend most of your effort on communicating to prospects?)
  2. Review your website.What does it say about how you define relationships?
  3. Review your collateral.Do your pieces communicate more than information on your products and services?
  4. Ask your customers.Survey their perceptions, priorities, and needs.

Every conversation, email, and meeting also presents an opportunity to reinforce this goal. Now is a great time to assess how well you communicate the value you place on relationships. Ultimately, your customers will tell you by continuing with you (or not).

If you would like to share examples of how companies you know communicate their values and relationships, I’d be happy to hear from you. For more on my company’s philosophy and services, please

You can find the LinkedIn poll I referenced here.