What’s in a Name?

 

We were on our second hour, and maybe 10th circle walking around Portland, when we finally came up with our perfect domain name . . . .

My partner and I were getting ready to launch a new business, but we still needed a name.  I dreaded this moment because I did not typically place much stock in the importance of “brand,” “story,” or even “messaging.”  Back then, I tended to be quite literal.  I had the mindset that if you say what you do and do what you say, it was enough.  My partner, however, took this part of the business very seriously, so each time we embarked on a new idea, I would go through this painstaking exercise of choosing a name, domain, tag line, mission, and vision — all those core pieces that really define who a company is and what it stands for.

As I said, I used to dread the time-consuming process.  It did not seem important enough to the bottom line to warrant the amount of time and effort to build a cohesive message.  Then, I realized I was wrong.

While having a literal message (e.g., we build websites) is not going to make a business fail, it also does not inspire.  It doesn’t make a statement and it doesn’t create unity.  With the right message, you can build excitement in your own team, with your vendors, with your partners, and with your clients.  It becomes aspirational.  Everyone likes a good story, and building a true narrative for the business can help create a unifying energy.

The name “IronPlane” was born from my love of fine woodworking.  A finely tuned hand plane can produce a shaving as thin as 8 microns (check out the video above to see what I am talking about).

It is efficient, effective, and produces an amazing result.  It does one thing, and one thing very well.

Our tag line “Fine Crafting eCommerce Solutions” gets to the heart of how we view the projects we build and support.

Kuba, our chief of operations in EAMA, CEO of Snowdog, and now a 4 time Magento Master (wow!), named his company for his love of huskies and how they must work as a team to accomplish amazing feats.

Together, this narrative makes it clear, for all those who work with us, what we stand for and how we intend to deliver on what we say.

I’ve found I now look forward to this annual exercise of reviewing our story.  And, of course, if you ever want to talk about iron hand planes — let me know!