What’s in a name?

Published on

October 11, 2022

Written by

Alison Humphries


New recruitment business owners often make this mistake – in fact, more often than not.

Maybe they don’t consider it important. Or maybe it gives them a nice, warm feeling when they show it to their friends and family. 

But it’s the number one wasted marketing opportunity. 

What is it?

They name their new business after themselves!

What is wrong with that you may ask?  

Some of our most venerable search firms and global recruitment organisations are named after their founders – Michael Page, Robert Half, Robert Walters, Norman Broadbent, and the list goes on. 

However, these businesses were established back in the previous century and at the time they wanted, even needed, to sound like the firms of professional advisors that they aspired to be. 

These long-established firms flourished and now trade on their wide-reaching brand recognition and geographic coverage that was established in the last century. 

Whereas businesses founded today have to establish themselves in the digital world!

They need to understand search engine optimisation, market fragmentation and how to communicate a brand in milliseconds. So maybe your name is not the optimum choice.

Your business name doesn’t have to “do what it says on the tin” like mine, Recruitment Leadership, but it will make it easier to get the attention of your target audience.

Once you have invested thousands on a website, marketing collateral, and e-mail campaigns, it becomes hard to step away from your name.

Because by then, your name, has some brand recognition. 

So please don’t write to me if you are running a profitable business you have already named after yourself.

I speak from experience of bad naming choices.

Back in the noughties, I set up my consulting business. 

There was a fashion at the time for the “Latinization” of company names. It was an attempt to rebrand and liberate companies from outdated and limiting concepts. 

One of the most memorable was The Post Office Group including Post Office, Royal Mail, and Parcelforce, which became Consignia. You can read a fascinating article about what a disaster that was here. 

Like a lemming, I called my business Amelius Consulting (from the Latin amelior: to improve or strengthen). Clever, huh?

Except that no one ever thought to search for that. 

No one knew enough Latin to recognise the verb. 

And most people thought my name was Amelia – some even called me that. 

So boy, was I glad (after a spell on a significant change project with a client) to have a chance to rebrand.

I am absolutely not saying that your business will fail if you name it after yourself

But remember that this ties you down for the future, your partnership may disintegrate, and no matter how much your current clients may respect you, you are just not famous enough to rely on your company name to take you to a broader market.

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