Are you starting a new business? Well, you’ll need a name then won’t you!

Starting a new business and think you’ve come up with the perfect name? How do you know it’s available to use and won’t cause you headaches in the future? Recently, one of my clients came to me for help with this and we worked through my five top tips:

1) Check the Companies Register:

The Companies Office provides a free online search facility where you can check if your potential business name is already registered.

2) Do a Google Search:

A simple Google search can help you see if there are any other businesses with a similar name operating in New Zealand (or is an established brand in international markets). This can help you avoid confusion with customers and potential legal issues.

3) Search the IPONZ Database:

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) provides a free database search where you can check if your potential business name has been registered as a trademark. This will help you avoid infringing on any existing trademark rights. They also have copyright, trade secret and patent information. www.iponz.govt.nz

4) Check for domain name availability:

In today’s digital age, having a website is essential for any business. It’s important to make sure the domain name (also known as your website address or URL) you want is available. Also, consider the length of your URL. Will it be difficult or confusing to spell out to potential clients on the phone? Will it be too long to fit easily on a business card? You can check domain names at the Domain Name Commission NZ (dnc.org.nz) or registrar websites like GoDaddy.com or Freeparking.co.nz

5) Finally, check the name or URL for unintended meanings:

When deciding on a domain name, it’s important to also check the URL for unintended meanings. For example, “woodskill.co.nz” can also be read as “woods-kill.co.nz“. It’s also worth testing out your name with trusted people or potential clients to make sure it doesn’t have any unintended connotations. The urbandictionary.com is a good place to double-check and avoid potential embarrassment in the future.

 

Remember, choosing the right business name is important for your branding and marketing efforts, as well as legal compliance. By following these tips, you can ensure that your potential business name is available and ready to use. Good luck with your business venture!

(Image by rawpixel.com)

 

 

Silhouette of person looking out to sea from a clifftop at dawn

EXPLORE: my ‘word of the year’ for 2022.

The concept of having a ‘word of the year’ is something I’ve played with for many years. Sometimes I’ve picked one and promptly forgotten all about it, but more recently I’ve been more intentional. For example:

 

2020 was ACCEPT…

which turned out to be prophectic. Covid-19 smashed the international plans I had and gave most small businesses a thorough shake-up. Working to accept the ongoing uncertainty definitely helped.

2021 was YES…

which led me to accept the opportunity to tramp the South Island section of ‘Te Araroa – the long pathway’, which I set out on in December.

Woman hiking through grasslands with backpack and walking poles

This segued seamlessly into 2022 being EXPLORE…

The first two months of 2022 were spent continuing to explore Aotearoa’s beautiful back country and completing my 75 day Te Araroa journey.

A footpath through beech trees covered in lichen with an orange triangle on one of the trees

 

“Exploration is curiosity put into action.” DON WALSH

 

Milestone year

2022 is also a milestone year for Pogo. This month I’m celebrating 15 years in business.
I’m very proud of reaching this point and appreciate the flexibility working for myself has afforded me and my family. I also have a wonderful support network of friends and fellow businesses that has brought opportunities and helped me grow and develop over the years (such as co-authoring a book). Chrysalis for Women has been a big part of that support.

But, I have missed the “creative soup” of working with other designers. With less demands on my time on the homefront, it’s been a perfect time to get out and explore what other creatives are up to in Wellington.

 

black poster frame on a white wall with black words on orange that say I like it what is it?

Exploring creative events in Wellington

Here are some of the events I’ve discovered in Wellington. I started with a free Creative HQ evening talk, which in turn has led to other events, meeting more people and finding out about other workshops, ideas and resources. It has required investing some time and a willingness to accept the potential awkwardness of a roomful of strangers. So far it’s been well worth the effort.

 

I’m excited to see where else these events will lead me how they will help shape Pogo.

The words ask more questions as a framed picture on a wall

If you’ve got a project coming up that needs some design input, I recommend you ask yourself these simple questions before talking to a designer. Not only will it save time (because you’ll have a lot of the preparation covered) it should also save money spent on design. The designer will have the information they need to get on with the job and not waste time chasing things up.

  • Do specific fonts or colours need to be used as per your organisation’s branding? Do you have a copy of the brand guidelines and high resolution versions of your logo?
  • Are there any particular images/photos you’d like to use? Are they good quality and is there any photo credit or attribution required?
  • Will the copy supplied to the designer be a final version signed off by the appropriate authority and proof-read (in-house or professionally)? Or will there be changes once it has been laid out?
  • Are other organisations involved and do their logos need to be included in the design? Do you have access to high resolution versions of their logo?
  • Will the final product be digital or physically printed and who is organising the printing?

Scattered polaroid photographs on a dark background

From my experience images, especially photos, are the one thing that often hamstring a project. You may be required to show particular things or particular people. If the only photos you have of these things are poor quality then this will limit design options. It’s much better to provide your designer with a realistic idea about the images they’ll have to work with upfront. Then they can come up with a design solution that accommodates the images and is not ruined by them. If you need New Zealand specific images check out my blog about stock images.

If you’d like some more tips about getting the best out of your designer check out this interview I did with Angela at Halo Communications.

We’re all human, and it seems emotion and unconscious thought is what really drives decision making, and by extension our spending choices. Colour is an emotional cue and has a major effect on buying behaviour.

How does colour influence emotion and by extension your customers and sales? I look at:

  • Psychology of colour
  • Unconscious decision making
  • Colour in branding

Colour psychology is a good place to start.

Wikipedia describes colour psychology as the study of hues (colours) on human behaviour. While the influence of colour on individuals can be subjective and may be affected by culture, gender and age, some aspects are considered more universal.

You’re probably already familiar with some broad categories of colour psychology.

Colour wheel graphic on a white backgroundWarm colours, including red orange and yellow, evoke emotions ranging from feelings of sunny warmth and comfort to more passionate feelings of anger and aggression.

While cool colours, like blue, purple and green could be described as calm, secure and tranquil but can also feel cold and sad.

Colour can affect mood and therefore change shopping habits.

Colour is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions.

“Selecting the right colours to use has an enormous impact on product sales.” (J Suresh Kumar). One high street example of this is the prevalence of red and yellow in the logos of popular fast food chains. Also known as the ketchup and mustard theory; that red and yellow are a combination of colours that encourage us to eat.

Think about the advertising panels and logos of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut. Their logo colours would suggest they all strongly subscribe to the ketchup and mustard theory.

Close up of hands holding a hotdog with ketchup and mustard

Hotdog Photo by Peter Secan on Unsplash

“Yellow is a symbol of happiness, excitement, and cheer and red is an attention seeker causing triggers of appetite and hunger. Red makes us feel warm, loved and comfortable which is necessary for a good long meal. Yellow grabs our attention from a long distance and it also increases the speed of our metabolism.

Experts believe that the combination of these two colours create the perfect combination of emotions and feelings to make people feel hungry and spend more time while having a meal.”

Unconscious decision making

Probably 95% of all cognition, all the thinking that drives our decisions and behaviours, occurs unconsciously—and that includes consumer decisions. That’s not to say that the 5% we’re privy to is unimportant—just that marketers overemphasize its importance, because it’s so visible and easy to access. (Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman)

If humans aren’t as logical as they think they are, and colour can suggest certain emotions it makes sense that colour can be a powerful marketing weapon. While showing rational features and services remain important tapping into an emotional response can get results.

“As the old saying goes – sell the sizzle, not the steak.


Colour in branding

“When brands effectively reach customers on an emotional level, this deeper relationship builds the foundation of brand awareness and can even change shopper habits.” Branding is about making connections to your ideal customers and building a relationship that will affect their buying decisions. Creating a resonance between what you offer and what your customer wants or needs.

Colour is a key part of branding, and colour psychology can be a great help. You need only need to look at how popular blue is for Fortune 500 companies logos. But, let this be tempered by your particular ideal client. Their cultural or social background may change what resonates for them.

 

Fortune 500 business logos arranged by colour

www.canva.com/learn/color-psychology-the-logo-color-tricks-used-by-top-companies

Pink may be associated with women’s products in general but it could easily be a turn-off for the specific women you want to appeal to.
How we present our businesses or products should resonate with our ideal customers and a good branding exercise will think about colour alongside:

  • What you do (products, services, features)
  • Your background/story
  • Your competition/market
  • Your key messages (Benefits to your client, values)
  • Personality, words and voice
  • Typography and Imagery

If you’d like more information about colour and branding please get in touch.

 

References:

  1. www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824
  2. The Psychology of Colour Influences Consumers’ Buying Behaviour – A Diagnostic Study. J Suresh Kumar, Ushus-Journal of Business Management
  3. www.marketingmind.in/know-fast-food-logos-red-yellow
  4. www.inc.com quoting Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman
    https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/the-subconscious-mind-of-the-consumer-and-how-to-reach-it
  5. https://insightsinmarketing.com/resources/infographics/how-does-color-affect-consumer-behavior/)

Today’s challenges are making us all take a look at our businesses and what we need to be doing differently. It’s shining a spotlight on our weaknesses and maybe giving us the motivation to take action on changes that have been on the to do list for a while.

Which is why I said ‘Yes’ recently to the opportunity to take part in a new webinar series set up by Mary Crampton from Magnify Consulting.

They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and Mary responded to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her business by setting up ‘Sales War Chest’ in a matter of days.

‘Sales War Chest’ provides the sales growth resources you wish you had to grow revenue in uncertain times. Mary has created a webinar series that is focused on the relationship between innovation and sales growth.

Webinar Series

The first webinar of the series, and the one I was involved with, was called Intellectual Property, Your Brand and Sales – Your foundation for New Innovation (15 April 2020).

It was a chance for me to drive home that a strong brand gives us a good foundation on which to pivot and change. Which direction we take depends on the business sector we’re in and how dramatically our branding needs to shift.

The others contributing to this first webinar were Chris Sheehan, Zone Law and  Mary Crampton, Magnify Consulting.

My presentation and all the webinars can be viewed here

Change is ahead for all of us in 2020. As we head into Level 3 of lockdown this week, we will be getting a glimpse of how businesses are responding to the difficulties and opportunities ahead. Good luck!