What’s in a (business) name? Gold.

September 29, 2015 at 4:26 PM Leave a comment


2015 09 29 rose imageYes, a rose by any other name is just as sweet. Yet it is still important to invest time and money to pick a distinctive, meaningful, easily-recalled business name.

When starting a new business, picking a new name is one of the most important steps to driving success. The name of the business sets the foundation for successful brand equity, a distinctive value proposition and top-of-mind recall. As well, the business name provides the framework for distinctive sales and marketing messages.

A good business name lets anyone who hears it know a great deal about the business. The name can convey one or more of the following about the business:

  • Cultural values
  • Types of services provided
  • Quality of service
  • Established brand equity (if a division of a larger company)
  • Points of competitive differentiation

The more the business name conveys, the easier it is for potential customers to recognize the business services can meet their needs and the greater the level of top-of-mind recall.

Recently, MedSpan Research assisted a national provider with testing a name for a new business division. The new division will be a national outpatient delivery system offering a wide variety of services.

To assist our client with identifying the most appropriate business name, we conducted an hour-long phone interview with 40 executives from health plans, hospitals, ACOs, IDNs, and physicians and their office staff. We also interviewed patients. The patients were a mix of those who are healthy, those with chronic conditions and those with high morbidity conditions.

Each payer, provider and patient evaluated six alternative names for the new outpatient delivery system. The names were presented in random order to prevent sequence bias.

Surprisingly, all three types of respondents (i.e., payers, providers, and patients) agreed on which two names were most appropriate and which two were least desirable.

Almost all payers, providers and patients immediately eliminated two of the six business names as they were too vague. These business names could be applied to a hospital network as well as any type of outpatient delivery system. The names did not describe in any way the services or value the new business division would offer.

Almost all payers, providers and patients most liked the names that: 1) described the services that the network would provide, 2) indicated the value the system would deliver (i.e., solve their health issues; strong patient and provider relationships) and 3) was differentiated from the names used by other healthcare providers.

Testing alternatives for new businesses is important. It can save missteps that may affect customer relationships. Of the six business names we tested, our client’s pre-research favorite was least attractive to customers by a wide margin.

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Entry filed under: ACOs, alternate-site providers, branded drugs, IDN, naming. Tags: , , , , .

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