For a start-up company such as mine, the company name can make all the difference. Recently, a small business reporter asked how it was that I came up with TeaCHildMath and what advice would I offer other start-ups.
What other companies had educational products for children, I asked myself. Hooked On Phonics immediately came to mind. Hooked on Phonics is a great company name as it tells the consumer what the product is. So my challenge was to come up with a company name that would not only convey what my product was but also my message.
While choosing a name for my company, I consulted my IP attorneys, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear. They advised that a made-up name such as KODAK was far easier to trademark. I would have problems if my company name were too descriptive, i.e, you could name a computer company “Apple” but you couldn’t name a company that sold apples (the fruit) “Apple.” However, as a small company I wanted my name to immediately tell the consumer what my product was the way Hooked on Phonics does.
On a blank piece of paper, I wrote name after name. As my title of my workbook is Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, I wanted both teach and child in my company name. As teach ends in ch and child begins with ch, I decided to blend these words and emphasize this blend by capitalizing the CH. Next I added math which would leave open the possibility of math books other than multiplication.
TeaCHildMath immediately conveys teaching children math. My company name is my message, my mission statement. My name is my advertising, my branding. Consumers see TeaCHildMath on a banner at a book fair and know my product is math for children. If my name were a made-up name such as TCM, they would most likely walk right by.
TeaCHildMath is now trademarked in the European Union, Mexico, Australia and Korea. Only Canada judged TeaCHildMath too descriptive and denied my trademark request. Although I was disappointed, the recognition I receive in the U.S. and elsewhere far outweighs this. So my advice for a small company is be creative and choose a name that describes your product. Branding plays a critical part in attracting your customers.
What’s in a company’s name? Everything.