This is Part 3 of a 5-part series on Rebranding. If you want to catch up on the previous installments before you continue reading, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Yesterday’s post revealed how very, very into lists and research I am (very). Today’s topic is a toughie though… and honestly, this is something I had every intention of keeping private, shoving deep under the couch cushions in the history of Ballyhoo. Truth was, I didn’t like the name “Ballyhoo Society” anymore and had decided to change it. It was a mouthful. It was vaguely misleading. I had grown to just plain hate the sound of it!

What do you do if the name of your growing, 5-year old business drives you bananas? Do you keep it anyway for continuity? After all: the business is registered… so is your domain, word of mouth is so important, SEO’s chugging away, and the name’s all over your documents. Don’t even get me started on email… the contacts, the change-of-address requests, updating my contact information everywhere… Eeep!

Yeah, well, I did it anyway. Inconvenience be damned.


See, this wasn’t the first time I’d considered changing the name. When I first made the mental and legal transition from freelancing to a Super Official In Business For Herself person, I was already thinking about all of this. I listened to some advice to hold on to the “Society” in my business name, which was the part that I wanted to set adrift. Now, I see why that advice was given to me: the name is fun and whimsical, and that speaks to the voice of the brand, ties back into the emblem, etc. But it turned out to be bad advice,because I just couldn’t get behind it.

Never forget: Nobody knows your business better than you do! The best business advice you ever take might just be from your own gut instinct.

I thought that the name Ballyhoo on its own could convey everything I wanted it to. My gut just told me it could.

Before I settled on changing the name though, there was some important marketing detective work to do. Not nearly as sexy as brainstorming, but way important.

Beyond What Sounds Good: What’s In a Business Name?

Once you have name ideas, it’s time to widen the search:

  1. Conduct research via official channels
  2. Research possible domain name(s)
  3. Get creative with Google queries
  4. Consult a marketing professional with your findings
  5. Register that business, buy those domains, uncork that champagne!
  6. Get the branding engine going

When you’re satisfied with your findings, dig into available (and unavailable) domain names and cover your bases with some Google searches. You never know what might be lurking out there to cause you grief later! Let your imagination run wild with possible mis-spellings, mis-interpretations, and even analyze what the words look like if you squint (seriously!!).

And last, but certainly not least: before you finalize that name, consult a marketing professional! Trust me: I’ve seen many a potentially awful, even downright offensivebusiness name get past a lot of internal scrutiny.

On deck tomorrow: Brand Character. How do you make sure you’re striking the right tone so your market actually pays attention? Psst: I think you’re going to like the answer.


About the Author

Reesa is an art school taught / self taught / eyeballs taught designer based in Toronto, Canada, and is the Owner and Principal of Ballyhoo Design. If you like this post, then you may also enjoy more marketing tips and trends via the Ballyhoo newsletter.

Subscribe to get The Goods.