When it comes to naming a newborn baby there are countless books written on the subject and entire websites devoted to the topic. New parents write endless lists of options and sometimes the debate continues right up to the end of the nine-month arrival.

But what about naming your business?

It can be almost as agonising a decision, and considering that the name you settle on has powerful consequences for the future success of your spa or salon it calls for a comparable level of effort and forethought.

If you’re a parent, you’ll know the joy and excitement of becoming a proud mum or dad and with that, the thrill of what you will name your child.

It’s an important decision. Your child will carry that name with them for life. It will be part of who they are wherever they go.

Naming your salon or spa carries the same importance in a sense; it’s your baby too.

The name you chose is a defining point. It tells people what you do, what you stand for and what they can expect when they do business with you.

The importance of your business name goes far beyond what’s printed on your business card. It’s a strategic business decision that will become a central part of your marketing strategy.

Get it right and it will be the most powerful way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. But get it wrong, and you’ll always have trouble standing out in the crowd.

If you’re tackling the task of naming — or re-naming — your spa or salon, avoid tearing your hair out by following these simple steps…

STEP ONE: Define your brand identity

Before labeling your brand with a name, you must first understand exactly what it stands for. You’ll be tempted to choose a name that broadcasts what you do — instead, think about what you are.

In other words, focus not on the services your business provides, but on how you want to make your clients feel and the image you want to portray.

For example, picture your favourite café in your mind.

Its main service is to provide coffee — hopefully good coffee. However, chances are you keep coming back for more than just the coffee.

Perhaps it’s the friendly service, the prime people-watching location, or the fashionable décor that completes the package.

The café is attractive not just because of its bare product, but because of how the complete experience makes you feel.

Translate that example to your spa or salon and that’s your brand identity.

The name of your business should capture the essence of that identity and express it to your clients in a way that adds to their experience of your brand.

For example, ‘Jessica’s Nails’ says little about the experience this brand offers. ‘Gossip Nail Salon’ on the other hand, conjures the image of a cool downtown salon.

STEP TWO: Consider your target market

To communicate your brand effectively with your clients, you must first understand who they are.

Choose your target market by considering the demographics of your surrounding area.

Is your neighbourhood full of young mums looking for a fun social outlet; retirees wanting a sympathetic ear; or busy professional women needing some rest and relaxation?

Just as each demographic has different expectations, they’ll also respond differently to different brands and brand messages.

The business name you choose should appeal directly to your target clientele and reinforce the experience that they want to have with your brand.

When targeting a professional, city crowd, opt for something edgy or even a little mysterious like ‘XI Spa’; however a suburban, family-focused demographic may respond to something more friendly and approachable like ‘Yummy Mummy Day Spa’.

STEP THREE: Get creative

Okay, so you’ve defined your brand identity and know your target market — now it’s time to get creative.

Brainstorming sessions with your friends, family and staff can be a powerful creative tool and may help you come up with ideas that you might not have thought of yourself.

Searching the web for other spas and salons beyond your territory — or for similar brands with the same target market in different industries — can also provide inspiration and help you list the kinds of words that best express your brand.

Try to use words that will stand out — and offer a point of difference from your competitors — but avoid intentional misspellings that will make it more difficult for your potential customers to find you in an internet search.

And don’t limit yourself to just one name. Once you’ve settled on a shortlist, check to see that none of the names have already been trademarked and make sure that a domain name is available for your final selection.

You may even want to run your shortlist past a test group of your prospective clients. The names they respond to might help you make your decision. After all, your business name is about attracting attention among your target demographic.

Please share this blog post with your colleagues and peers and let’s make this blog a rich source of information for all salon and spa owners.

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