On my way home from work this week I found myself behind a Southeastern Freight Lines truck. As you can see from their website, the name accurately reflects their business across the southeastern parts of the United States.
Do all companies with regionally specific names do business in their representative geographic area? Let’s take a look.
Should you use the points of the compass in naming your company? Take a look at Southwest or Northwest Airlines. These airlines do have routes that cover their namesakes. However, they have definitely outgrown their original geography.
Compass points are relative. South of what? West of what? It really depends on where you are standing.
Here in town there is a store called “Austin Affordable Furniture.” They have one location, aptly found in Austin.
What happens if they start to expand to neighboring cities like Round Rock or Cedar Park? The city name may still hold up because you’re close enough to Austin. However, what happens if you grow and spread across the state of Texas? Or if you go national?
Some regional names may shoehorn you into a market that you outgrow down the road.
These types of names may give you growing pains later:
- city names (e.g. Austin Affordable Furniture)
- county names (e.g. Bexar County Towing)
- state name (e.g. California Pizza Kitchen, Texas Instruments)
- national names (e.g. American Airlines)
- regional names (e.g. Tri-County Plumbers)
Consider your growth potential and your market before picking a regionally specific name. Do you only provide services in that area? What about tomorrow, is that still true? Once you’ve established yourself and your brand, it will be extremely difficult (and expensive) to change names.
You can avoid the locale-specific problems by using generic geographic names like:
These have their own issues since you’ll still have to scope your company to some geographic restriction.
Here in Austin I see lots of companies named “AusTex”, “CenTex” or the like. These obvious contractions of, for example, Austin and Texas, give local flavor to a company name.
Will this type of name scale nationally or globally? Maybe it would lose its regional specific meaning and take on another as the company grew.
Local Name = Local Appeal
One advantage of a local name is that it appeals directly to local customers. Many people like locally owned businesses and will frequent them over larger franchises.
How Would You Name Your Company?
Naming your company is a big decision that will affect your business for years to come. In addition to regional names, there are several other points to consider. Make sure you look at all your options and the ramifications of each.
What do you think? Do you know of companies that have overcome their regional namesake to achieve greater things? Would you name your company something regionally specific?