Why is a name so important? To answer that, ThinkLazy

In this post, I’m going to talk about a name. Not any name. More important than the name you give your pet, more important than the name you give to your first-born child. I’m going to talk about naming your business. More specifically how I came to name our business over a year ago – and how I got it wrong.

It turns out that names are important.

Imagine we’re talking, and I tell you: “I’m lazy’. Yes, that’s right. “I’m lazy”. How do you feel? A little bit negative? Amused maybe? Does it make you curious? Try to remember how you feel over the next 5 minutes while you keep reading.

When I started the business, I knew we were going to help clients with innovation, and I wanted a cool name that highlighted what we did. So I thought about what that name would be.

Two years ago the buzzword was “digital transformation” which means fundamentally transforming a business by leveraging digital technologies. That was part of what we do. Another trend was “agile” – breaking large projects into smaller pieces and delivering value – the most important stuff – quickly. That was also certainly part of what we do.

So, quite pleased with myself, I settled on the name “digile”, a portmanteau of the words digital and agile. I got a website and printed business cards, and started winning clients.

It took a fresh pair of eyes to realise that the name might not be working. The fresh eyes came from Maria – my first full-time hire. Maria has something I’ll call “refreshing honesty”.

She said, “I’d love to work with you, but I hate the name Digile”.

It turns out that I hadn’t listened to my own advice to clients when I came up with the name.

And what is my advice?

Simply, to innovate you have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes: understand their needs and solve them. I hadn’t done this for our business.

So what is wrong with the name Digile?

Well, first of all, clients don’t know how to spell it or pronounce it. Some say “Digghilly”; others just asked us how it was pronounced. Secondly, it doesn’t talk about client’s needs, it talks about our process. Thirdly, it is extremely unmemorable.

And finally, it sounds corporate – we work with corporates, but what we bring is an entrepreneurial, or startup, way of thinking.

So, we needed a name that is easy to spell and pronounce, resonates with clients, is memorable and reflects our style. It shouldn’t be hard. I had done it before with my previous business, naked bus – that was easy to pronounce, was memorable, said what it did, and was cheeky. So surely we could do it again.

So Maria and I started talking about how we could come up with a better name. We talked to friends and we talked to clients. Our discussions went something like this. We would talk about our “why” – helping our clients innovate by understanding their customer needs. Then I would come up with a name. Maria would say no. Then I would try to justify the name. Maria would veto it.

It turns out that a brand name is like a joke – if you need to explain it, it’s probably not very good. One time I came up with the name “empirical camel”. I was very excited by it. Maria said no. But, I said, I had a great reason for it – the joke goes that a camel is a horse designed by committee – i.e. not very good at anything. But an empirical camel would be designed based on evidence – and everything we do is evidence-based. So we would call ourselves “empirical camel”.

Maria just rolled her eyes.

Veto”.

Time was slipping by, and we knew we needed to come up with something better than digile. So we went back to first principles. We went back to our why – what we were trying to achieve. And as we did that we started to tell ourselves this story:

Imagine yourself as a customer: you’re using a product and you get frustrated because it doesn’t work the way you expect. What is frustrating you? Or you see a newcomer with a brilliant solution to a problem that you didn’t know you had. Why did existing businesses not see the problem?

The answer to both questions is that those businesses did not understand your needs.

The reason you are using the product is to make your life easier, and if it doesn’t make your life easier it doesn’t meet your needs. Businesses that don’t solve your problems have lost the connection between their vision and your needs.

So, how does that apply to you as a business? Your customers don’t want to read manuals or change the way they work to fit your product. You might say think they are lazy, but, let’s face it, your customers have better things to do than figuring out how to use your product.

Businesses understand that we are in an uncertain world and they want to use technology to be “cutting edge” or “innovative”. But unless they start with customer needs, they won’t solve the right problems.

That is why we are here. We recognise that solving customers’ painpoints is the source of huge competitive advantage. We help businesses to identify their why and their customers’ needs.

We then help them build technology to solve the right problems.

Exploiting technology to solve customer problems: that is innovation.

As we understood this story, it became clear to us:

To solve your customers’ problems you have to think like a customer – you have to think lazy.

So, our name became obvious – think lazy.

So, think back to your first response when I said: “I’m lazy”.

If your response to “think lazy” is curiosity – if you want to know a bit more, it’s done its job.

We are ThinkLazy.

Contact us now, to find out how we can help you – hello@thinklazy.io

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Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Phone: 021 142 5850
Email: hello@thinklazy.io

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