Hughes PR, Media, Public relations, Social media

Trials and tribulations in search for a name

Last week we were musing about how choosing a business name has changed in many ways since the rise of digital media. While many years ago you might decide on “AAA Removals” or “Aardvark Consulting” to ensure you were right up the front of the telephone directory, these days a whole new set of rules are in place to make sure you’re visible to your client base.

This article originally appeared in The Advertiser on 6 December 2011.

Trials and tribulations in search for a name

Finding a new company name is getting increasingly complicated with the need for multiple checks through websites and social media.

The search is getting so complex that digital agency Fusion director Gavin Klose says it is virtually impossible to find a short, four-letter name that has a website domain still available.

“Unless you have a really bizarre four-letter acronym it won’t be available,” Mr Klose said.

“Basically, every single name in the dictionary is taken, common names have been either taken or parked by name squatters who will charge you a huge amount to buy the domain name from them.”

Mr Klose, whose business works with companies on branding and names, says clients now need to first discover if a potential name is available by trademark and website domain.

Next, they should ensure the name is easy to find in a Google search or if its spelling is easy for potential customers to find so that they don’t end up inadvertently finding a competitor’s site instead.

“We are working with a web hosting company to find a name at the moment, it’s a very, very saturated marketplace and almost every single name we come up with is gone and not just that, gone to a hosting company,” he said.

“We were lucky that back in ’95 we registered Fusion as a name, if you tried to do that now it would be impossible.”

And once you have a name, Mr Klose suggests you “vigorously defend it” – Fusion has found two businesses to date using its name.

He also suggests incorporating social media links to the company website.

Kate Potter at Hughes PR emphasised choosing a unique name – but ensuring it was spelt like it sounded.

“Think about how it sounds out loud, think about whether it uses numerals or hyphens or full stops,” Ms Potter said. “If you have a radio ad and you have to explain in great detail how someone can find you online then you’ve used up half your spend just explaining your web address rather than communicating your other messages.”

Ms Potter said once a name was secured, its identity could be confused.

Triplezero web design company, for example, chose its name partly because www.triplezero.com.au was available.

Since then, the Government has established www.triplezero.gov.au – explaining emergency calling.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy in Adelaide with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital and social media, community engagement, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Hughes PR, Marketing, Social media

To QR or not to QR?

QR Code

QR Code

Kate Potter writes…

QR codes – abbreviated from Quick Response codes – are a type of barcode that started out as an invention for manufacturing tracking, but like any good invention soon found other uses.

These days, QR codes are found in a whole range of places ready to be “read” by you and me – using our smartphones. By downloading a QR code reader application for your iPhone, Blackberry, Android or other smartphone, you can read QR codes and “unlock” their content.

By “reading” a QR code on your phone, the data within the QR code then prompts the phone to take an action – be it go to a website, play a video, share a message on social media websites, draft an SMS message or even receive payments and donations directly through the QR.

You might have seen QR codes on billboards, promotional materials, coffee cups, wine bottles, posters or even as temporary tattoos!

Adelaide Festival 2012 poster uses a QR code

Adelaide Festival 2012 poster uses a QR code in the bottom right hand corner of the design

There’s some debate about the effectiveness of QR codes. Firstly, QR codes are really only accessible to the population that uses smartphones. While this is a legitimate concern, it’s worth considering not only the percentage of the population using smartphones, but the percentage of your target market using smartphones. Statistics vary of course, but earlier this year Telstra predicted that smartphone ownership will reach 60 percent by year-end.

I was surprised recently to hear someone denounce QR codes because they didn’t understand why someone would want to be exposed to more advertising. But what this generalisation dismisses is situations where you really want to find out more information, or engage further with the creator of the communication. Some examples:

  • A poster for a music festival has a QR code, which you can scan to be taken immediately to a timetable of the musical acts
  • A wine bottle has a QR code which you can scan to be taken immediately to tasting notes, vintage report and technical specifications
  • A billboard for a well-known charity campaign allows you to scan a QR code to donate immediately, transferring money to the charity’s PayPal account with their mobile phones

All of the uses of the QR code can also be tracked, allowing you to analyse exactly how successful your communication has been.

So, should QR codes be used for communications and marketing campaigns? I believe they are an effective and easy way to give your target audience more information, but like anything they are not a “one size fits all” solution. I wouldn’t put a QR code on a wine bottle that was intended to be cellared for 10 years – you never know what technology will replace the QR code and it may be a passing trend!

But in an age where people are bombarded by hundreds of messages a day from advertisers and organisations seeking publicity, QR codes can be effective when you’re asking consumers for a call to action (such as recruitment, petitions and competitions). The consumer can take that step on the spot while the idea is still fresh in their mind.

When creating a QR code, make sure you use a tool that allows you to change the destination of the scan such as http://uqr.me/. This will ensure your campaign is flexible.

Give them a try – if you have a smartphone, download a QR reader and next time you see a QR code, scan it to see where it takes you. You may discover some unique and innovative marketing using this technology.

UNICEF appeal using QR code

UNICEF appeal using QR code

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy in Adelaide with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital and social media, community engagement, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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