Friday, February 25, 2005

Business 101

I've never taken a business class, but I would imagine that if I did, one of the basic concepts would be "give your company a good, easy to remember name." Of course, this was lost on the powers that be at my company - let's call it Blue Ribbon Health Care. In and of itself, it isn't a bad name. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of blue ribbons, but let's just let that slide and say it's good. Then, a few years back, a doctor came and said, "if you add 'Specialists' to the end, then doctors will think that you're specialsts and use you more often."
There are some things I'd trust a doctor with. One is if my spleen was going to explode. Another was if I had some drugs that I invented that I wanted the FDA to approve. One of those things is not, however, marketing. You would have thought that the lesson of The Apprentice's doctor David would resonate a little more. The guy couldn't sell lemonade on the street, let alone a multimillion dollar company. Anyway, long story short, instead of listening to somebody - anybody - else, they listened to the doctor. Now I work for Blue Ribbon Health Care Specialists. I've actively been campaigning against that cursed word, in part because it's lame, but also because it's superfluous, inane, and it makes the name of the company harder to remember. So instead of going along with the flow of established and reputable (or formerly reputable, but certainly better at branding) companies like Hewlett-Packard (HP), Procter & Gamble (P&G), International Business Machines (IBM), and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and shortening our name or going by an acronym (let's face it, BRHCS is a terrible acronym), we did the opposite and made it more convoluted and harder to remember.
Recently we decided to branch out our company from just health care, to say, health care and insurance. As a result, more name was needed. In this case, I'd say it's pretty legit, and it got rid of the specialists, so that's all I care about. Therefore, we are going to be Blue Ribbon Health Care and Insurance. Still unwieldy, but I can live with it. Well, then some bright management types got to thinking: maybe it would be better if it was Blue Ribbon Health Care Specialists and Insurance! Or perhaps Blue Ribbon Health Care and Insurance Specialists! Or maybe even Blue Ribbon Health Care Specialists and Insurance Specialists!!! Fortunately, the documents are in to the government for the name change and Tax ID, so it won't happen, but I was on pins and needles for a while because it's just too much. We don't need a name that rivals the length of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
Remember. For consumers, simple and easy to remember=good! Convoluted and needing a guy with a photographic memory to remember=bad!

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