Finding the “perfect name” for your brand or company: this is a mission that has eluded many companies. But even in the sea of every bland and overly complicated business name, once in a blue moon a name arises that grabs you, holds you tight, and never lets you go. As you may have read in our May issue of The Snack Magazine, one woman is battling to make sure that the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from seeing a great brand name comes more often than not. That woman is Alexandra Watkins, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer for Eat My Words.
In part one of Hello, My Name is Joe: Finding the Perfect Brand Name, we set out on a mission to find one such name for our friend, Joe Produce Founder, Rex Lawrence. Rex had a seemingly simple task in mind, to find a moniker for the parent company of all his current brands/services and those to come. It would have to encompass familiar names, such as Joe Produce, Joe Produce Search, the executive recruiting division; Joe Pro Resumes, a resume writing service; and Joe Food Safety, the Online Job Center for food safety and quality jobs across all food and beverage.
“One request Rex had was that his new brand had to have ‘Joe’ in the name, so the challenge then became to keep with the Joe theme, while still providing a broad enough umbrella to encompass all of his brands without confining him to just the one vertical,” Alexandra answers when I ask her how she approached Rex’s challenge. “Having a name that can scale up is very important. Imagine if Amazon had started out with a name like Book Barn.”
What seemed like the simple task of “just” picking a name, turned out to be a collaboration that was a lot of fun to watch unfold. I must have seen hundreds of names pop up over the course of the entire process, I was personally amazed that Alexandra and her team’s brains could whip up that many catchy names in just the course of one phone call and then the weeks to follow.
“Working with Rex turned out to be very easy and so much fun. Partnering with someone who has a background in marketing made the process go so smoothly,” Alexandra expresses. “Rex was very open to my name suggestions and had such a positive attitude. His optimism and perspectives on branding made my job so much easier.”
All of the name choices Alexandra brought to the table cleared the Eat My Words SMILE and SCRATCH test, a 12 point name evaluation filter, and while it was hard to choose a final contender, there was one that rose above the rest. That name was—drumroll, please—JoeWorks!
“‘JoeWorks’ didn’t start off as one of my top contenders from Alexandra’s list,” Rex laughs as if he’s admitting a big secret. “But Alexandra put this little note ‘Similar to DreamWorks,’ and that really stuck with me as I continued through this process. I compare my feelings about ‘JoeWorks’ like this: sometimes you meet someone and it’s red hot for a few weeks, but fizzles out. ‘JoeWorks’ is like the one you meet and warm up to. That makes for a feeling that lasts and has real legs for the future.”
That loving feeling is definitely part of what makes a great brand name stick, but there are so many practical aspects that go into the winning formula as well. Namely, (pun slightly intended) domain name options and trademark results. When JoeWorks.com was unavailable, they decided a modifier was necessary. Getting cute with numbers is one of Alexandra’s deadly naming mistakes to avoid, so instead of the dreaded number 4, JoeWorksForYou.com became the domain of choice.
“While it may work for texting and clever license plates, embedding numbers in a brand name or domain looks cutesy and unprofessional. When you use numbers in your name you will 4ever have 2 spell it out. Your goal is to have a name that you can say proudly, ‘Joe Works For You dot com,’ just like it sounds,” Alexandra explains. “The reason I love this particular domain for JoeWorks is that it has a double meaning to it. All of his companies are related to work and jobs, and this implies the company is also working in service to its customers.”
The real selling point for Rex was those “legs” Alexandra talks about in her “SMILE” test. Because in life and in business, who really knows what the future holds?
“‘JoeWorks’ perfectly fits the services we provide today, and as we grow, it will still work no matter how much we branch out,” Rex continues. “It’s kind of a wink to those who started with us and our job placement services, but it’s not so obtuse that people wouldn’t understand what we do and how the name fits.”
So, with JoeWorks firmly in place as the new corporate umbrella brand for Rex’s Joe family of companies, what advice does the founder have for others looking to find the perfect brand name?
“Call Alexandra!” Rex exclaims. “After all was said and done, we ended up finding the perfect name through our work with Eat My Words. Working with Alexandra is so stimulating and thought provoking. Being able to bounce ideas off of someone who thinks so outside the box was the perfect strategy to make a big decision like brand naming feel strategic, simple, and easy.”
And that’s not all you’ll be hearing from Rex. Stay tuned as he and JoeWorks continue to solidify its brand and service offerings, and keep picking up The Snack Magazine to see the latest in what’s going on in the brain of Rex Lawrence.
Rex Lawrence, Founder and President of Joe Produce, was born & raised in Salinas, CA. His 28 years in the produce industry includes positions in senior sales, marketing & management for some of the industry’s leaders. Rex and his team truly understand that finding the perfect “fit” is about more than matching a skill set with specific job requirements.