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Thursday, December 22, 2005

More on Company Names 

From Folio:'s Dylan Stableford on the new name for Primedia Business Information:

In an e-mail to employees, John French wrote that the company considered a number of factors in choosing the name.

“It needs to be … Memorable … Unique … Meaningful … Sustainable … Positive … Protectable as a trademark,” French wrote. “We also want the name to reflect who we are as a company and the image we want to project to customers, employees and competitors.” French added that the company hoped to convey through the name a “broad portfolio” and a “fresh start” alongside the ubiquitous “quality” and “market leader” branding buzz terms.

“Prism – like transmitting or reflecting light, like a ray of light passing through a prism. Prism is a reflection of what we represent within the organization and the industry. Shedding light, information, reflecting quality,” French wrote. "We ask everyone in the organization to enthusiastically embrace our new name. Carry it positively to the marketplace and avoid the inclination to say 'why didn't we name it this or that.' It was a very tough process and many excellent names were not useable due to trademark issues."

When Edgell Communications (the old one, formerly Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publications) was renamed Advanstar, many of us worker bees were somewhat flummoxed. But we got used to the name in time, even if half of people I meet still don't pronounce it correctly. (It's "advance-star", not "add-van-star").

At least most people can say Prism, though the internal jokes, I'm sure, on the similar feeling to saying 'prism' and 'prison' have probably already begun.

Since I grew up in b2b when our company names featured, more often than not, the names of the founder(s), I tend to like b2b company names such as Cahners (now Reed, which isn't bad either), or Gralla (remember them?), or Ziff-Davis, or Hammock Publishing, or Lebhar-Friedman, or Penton, or Phillips Publishing.

As attorneys have long known, there's brand equity in that approach, built the real way, through longevity and results. But over time, I guess any name can build brand equity in the same way.

Of course, the obvious question is, if I like founder-named companies so much, what's a GRID Media?

Well, the business reason for the name was this: I've long constructed media 'grids' for the markets I serve, looking for opportunities to better surround and serve those markets with different types of products and services. I thought I could bring that approach to our client companies.

The personal reason for the GRID Media name involves my daughter Gwendolyn, my son Redfield (and wife Rene) and me (David). Don't know where the "i" came from, but I smile a bit each time I think of our little company. Our logo, which several people have told me looks like it was designed by a four-year-old, was indeed designed by a four-year-old (though she's nearly eleven now). That's the joy of owning your own company.


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