The Power of Business Naming for Consultants: A Client Story
Today, I'd like to introduce you to Mary Ann Sibley and how finding the right name for her business ignited the spark she needed to grow and share her talents with others!
In branding for consultants or coaches - sometimes, using your own name as a business name can be holding you back.
I met Mary Ann at my first co-hosted branding seminar - Small Business Gut Check. She and her best buddy for life, Michele, were so kind to help us run check-in for the very first date of the workshop. Meeting Mary Ann, I couldn't help but be struck by her presence and gusto for life. She has passion and she wants to know about yours too!
Before we worked together, Mary Ann was like most consultants. The name of her practice was "E.M.A. Consulting" and she was trying to grow via word-of-mouth. Here's how she put it,
"I was so stuck I wasn’t even at the place where I knew I needed to think through what I needed to do to get unstuck. I knew there would be something and it would come magically knocking at my front door. You were the knock on the front door, Annie!"
Here's one reason to name your business something special: the opportunity to highlight your mission and the heart behind what you do.
While I could have branded Mary Ann's business without changing the name from "E.M.A. Consulting," if we did that - we'd be missing a big opportunity. Mary Ann is dynamic, her mission is powerful, and it wasn't being done justice by a basic consulting practice name. So the first thing we did together was go through my Naming Research and Recommendation Process.
The first step was getting her story via my client questionnaire and discussion at the very beginning. For the basics, Mary Ann is a consultant to church leaders on volunteer engagement and leadership. In our branding process, I learned so much about Mary Ann and what she does to help transform church communities and their leaders. One thing that kept coming up was her firm belief that if you show church volunteers that they matter - that they are valued and are important to the mission - they will become and stay engaged. Purpose is what sets people on fire and can power the larger community around them.
Through this process and my research, we ultimately arrived at a name and tagline that fully embrace her story and invite others into it:
Matterspark: Let's Ignite What Matters Most.
This is Mary Ann, it's her ideal clients, and it's an invitation. Let's make what matters happen - and Mary Ann will be your guide to get there.
From her name, logo and tagline - we expanded her brand story through design and writing. We created everything from her business cards, to her "About" story, to a photoshoot with Faith Teasley, and finally to her full website. Everything is powered by that spark and that personality Mary Ann has to empower people.
Could she have shared this story with a name like E.M.A. Consulting? Sure. But would it have been as compelling or referrable?
There's so much possibility when you have a name, a brand and marketing materials that clearly and powerfully communicate your mission.
While it's evident that having this new name and materials make it easier to grow a business, it may be less obvious what it can do to empower you as a business owner. Mary Ann shares what the branding process ultimately helped her do --
"The work Annie did was beautiful, the words were beautiful – but I really think it was the underlying bringing out of the story – bringing it to life – that was the most valuable. Through the process, I became more confident and affirmed that this (my business) is what I’m supposed to be doing.
Greatest Story gave me the words to articulate “what is it you do?” or “Why is it you’re doing this?” In the project, we talked about it so much that it’s now a part of my language, so it’s like “Oh, this is what I do” – instead of apologizing for it!
I feel like it’s a fresh start. Now I feel like that I actually do have something really valuable to offer, and I’m excited about what’s next."
Learn more about Mary Ann and see Matterspark in action at www.matterspark.com.
Further reading on business naming and branding for consultants:
- 7 Tips for Naming Your Business (Entrepreneur)
- How to Name Your Small Business - Keep it Short and Sweet (USA Today)
- How to Promote Your Consulting Business (Inc)