I was listening to a podcast interview where Bobby Bones spoke with Trevor Rosen of the country band Old Dominion.
There was a lot of good discussion, but one of the best parts was the discussion of band names. Their own name, Old Dominion, seems cool now, but when they were starting out they wondered if there would be legal issues. They wondered if it would sound odd to people.
Then Trevor mentioned that when Florida Georgia Line first came on the scene that he thought their band name was ridiculous as did many other people.
And then I started thinking about other bands like AC/DC and Guns ‘N Roses and on and on and on…
Many of these names are bad. Many are confusing. With AC/DC, for example, if you really think about the name you wonder if their an electronic band of some kind. Do you use a slash in the name? Is the slash forward or backwards? Or should it be a lightening bolt?
I would call myself a more than casual fan of Guns ‘N Roses and I have no clue where the apostrophe goes with the N in the middle of the name.
In that interview, Trevor mentioned the fact that he and the others came to realize that the name really wasn’t important. The important realization was that people would come to associate the name with the music the band made and the way they presented themselves and how they acted.
Now when people see or hear the name, Old Dominion, they think of specific songs. They think of feelings they have when they hear those songs. All kinds of things.
The same is true with Florida Georgia Line and AC/DC and Guns ‘N Roses.
It works like that in business too. Google is a ridiculous name for a company. It sounds like something that happens on a Nickelodeon game show or something like that.
But we don’t think it’s ridiculous now. We think about our interactions with searching for information. We think about the actions of the company and how it affects our lives.
I’ll never forget what a consultant said when I was working on a team that was creating a new business. We were struggling with the name of the new company and the consultant said to just pick something unoffensive and move on. The name wasn’t important. What the company did would be important and the name would come to be a symbol of those actions.
And he is absolutely right.
Back to Old Dominion.
One name they actually considered was Tire Fire. It seems ridiculous now, but I honestly think that things wouldn’t be much different if they would have used that name. They would have made the same songs. People would have still had the same feelings when listening to those songs.
Life probably would be the same if Tire Fire existed in country music.
Bad business names don’t exist. Only bad businesses.