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The BIG Blog

What’s In a Name

By June 5, 2019February 12th, 2021No Comments

Did you know I have an actual company name? It’s true. My incorporated business is Prospera Partners. But you know me by my name. When I started my consulting business in 2012 I was making a clean break from being a nonprofit executive director. I struggled with what to name my business but in a stroke of (what I consider) brilliance, I thought, “it should be representative of what I do, who I am, and where I come from.” Prospera is the Latin word for prosperous, and in ancient Roman culture meant to define luck, the prosperous, the fortunate. It seemed like a great fit for a local economy development consulting company founded by a passionate expert localist descended from Italian immigrant parents, who had stepped into the local economy movement somewhat by chance and luck.

My branding and logo, however, were not so lucky.

In my haste to start my business on a very tight budget I made the mistake of asking a designer friend to throw something together for me to represent Prospera Partners. I wanted a symbol for prosperity to represent the work of local economies. I also wanted to convey my Italian background. I wanted to represent the idea of partnership in my consulting style.  Oh, and let’s throw some other stuff in there, too, I thought. My logo should represent all that I’ve become! I found a symbol for prosperity represented by a triad of three triangles suspended upside down. It was perfect! I brought the symbol to my designer friend, Michael, and he obliged, delivering me my high res graphic of three upside down triangles in a yellow/green hue (the color of money, duh.)

Months later, while proudly handing a potential client my business card, that person looked at my card, looked at me, looked back at my card. “Are you in the business of hazardous waste?”  I was mortified and yet laughed out loud at what I suddenly recognized as the universal sign for hazardous materials. My logo wasn’t an exact match but it was pretty close. I crumpled my card and wrote my number on a piece of paper and handed it back to the potential client. “I do business development and marketing consulting, too. I just taught you the first lesson in branding. Ha!” We had a good laugh and I was grateful for my own improvisational skills. But, wow, did I ever need to brand my business!

I eventually hired a branding and design firm that took me through a series of exercises to determine who I am, what I do, and how I do it.  What we landed on was my first and last name. It’s recognizable, it’s memorable (thanks to those double ZZs) and I already had name recognition as an expert in my sector.  I was hesitant to be a “personal brand” but with the guidance of design professionals, I let go and let them do their work to create my brand, which includes tag lines to use for various purposes and projects.  Prospera Partners is my legal entity where I sign contracts and I take payments to my company, but it’s not my outward facing brand. I still struggle with being a personal brand and often ask myself when might the time come for me to hire staff or more contractors under Prospera Partners to form a bigger company? For now, I’m Vicki Pozzebon and I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

 Naming a business is personal and practical work.  

First, think about who you are really targeting with your business name. Who would buy from you? Why? What service or product do you offer? Can you convey that in the name? What is the image you want to be top of mind in your prospects? Think memorable and easy to spell so people can easily find you on a Google or social media search.

 Brainstorm taglines.

Taglines help you expound on your message in a memorable and simple way. Who are you? What do you do? What is your unique selling proposition? What is your mission? Consider the answers you gave to the questions for targeting your business name as well.

If you look at my website, you’ll see a simple tagline under my logo that describes who I am, “Purveyor of all things local” and a more descriptive tagline with what I specialize in, ”For the love of local business and social good.” If you are getting stuck choosing your business name, start with your tagline and work yourself up to the name. If you are a social enterprise, I strongly suggest you use that either in your business name or your tagline.




Be strategic with color.

The major corporations with lots of money to do research and hire companies to create branding recognize the power of color psychology. Smaller companies would do well to spend some time considering colors that will further convey the desired image. Color is its own language- subtle but real. When it comes to your brand, what are your values? How do you want your customers to feel interacting with you? Is there a color associated with your service? (Like my initial green representing money.) Research the colors that best correlate with those emotions and industries. The colors for my Vicki Pozzebon brand are earthy and comforting to me, two values I want to portray in working with me. Someone once told me my logo looks an Italian restaurant owned by a family in a cool neighborhood. Bingo! Locally owned, Italian, small business development. Nailed it.





There is a psychology behind shapes too.

Are your ideal clients male or female or both? Are they looking for creativity? Stability? Innovation? Excitement? You can further convey these values and attributes through logo shape. You can combine color with logo shape to balance or appeal to different values.

My client, La Lecheria is a great example of all these elements working together.

Their name La Lecheria means “the dairy or creamery.” To me, that conjures up the idea of fresh cream, real ingredients. But just in case that doesn’t clarify to you what La Lecheria is, you’ll see the tagline right below on the logo, “New Mexico Craft Ice Cream.” With that name and tagline you know it’s local, it’s fresh, it’s craft – so there are probably some unique flavors – it’s ice cream.

The sugar skull cow further drives the local New Mexico message and dairy home. It’s cool for men to go in there. It’s bold. The circle around the cow softens the look and is comforting (like ice cream!), inviting to women, while conjuring up family enjoyment. The black is bold, sophisticated, and hip – it’s not your run of the mill ice cream. The hot pink is playful and modern. It’s not baby pink which would be too feminine and it’s not red which would be too aggressive, it’s energetic and exciting. It’s not just ice cream, it’s an experience and it’s local.

Their name and branding is memorable. It answers the questions as to who they are, what they do and who their customers are. It entices you to visit them. It accomplishes what a good name and brand set out to do.

Your name and brand will convey an image to your prospective clients. Make sure it’s the right image.