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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 13, 2012 • Issue 12:08:01

The game in the name

Selecting or changing a business name is tricky, for a name can help accelerate or retard company growth. Many factors go into choosing a name - how it sounds when said aloud, what it conveys about the company, how distinctive it is when compared with competitors' names and how memorable it is. It is a subjective exercise to evaluate a company name; however, certain basic criteria seem to separate good names from bad.

  1. Syllables: Many well-known and successful payment businesses have only two or three syllable names. It's not a hard and fast rule, but such names are usually easy to pronounce and remember.

  2. Acronyms: Sometimes an acronym is more distinctive than the name it abbreviates. But sometimes companies run the risk of obscurity or confusion when using acronyms. For example, Marvelous Payments Inc. and Magnificent Processing International both reduce to the acronym MPI, which could be confusing and counter productive in the differentiation game.

  3. Target audience: Companies focused on target markets often echo those markets. For example, a prepaid card provider targeting teens may have a name that plays off current popular language used by teenagers, while a provider focused on a certain immigrant population would choose a name that population can relate to.

  4. Attributes: A company that strives for the highest level of data security may have "secure" or "safe" in the name. Or if it's a company that prides itself on the speed of its service delivery, it might have a name that mimics the idea of speed and real-time transaction processing.

  5. Quirkiness: Companies risk being branded as lightweight if they try to be too clever. Transposing letters to make a name sound unique, lower casing entire names and mashing two words together into an awkward combination are common traps. In comparison, a less flashy, basic name can make a company look like a bastion of stability.

A name only defines a business to a point. If an ISO establishes a solid reputation for providing excellent customer service, most merchants won't care much about its name. end of article

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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