Why You Should Keep Your Name

Welcome to the Perception IS Reality blog. I promise you this will be a fun read each week. Will it always be comfortable? No. Will it always make you think—you bet. My goal is to help you realize that your brand of “offerings/services/name etc.” are not determined by you, but are indeed determined by your prospects and customers. So here we go…

I was asked the other day in a phone interview this question: “Should printers change their names to reflect that they can do more things than print?” In other words, should you change your name to include something like “media, communications, marketing etc?” Here was my answer. It was not overly long. Ready? It was one word…”No!” You see, it makes no difference. You can change your name to whatever you want, and if you are not providing great content, value and consistent solutions to your customers, then the name dilemma is simply irrelevant.

For example, let’s say you are a printer named Johnson Press (made this one up) and you offer great ideas that help your customers grow. If this is true, I promise you that they could care less, as could I or anyone else, what your name is. Let’s contrast that with your being a long-term printing company and you change your name to Johnson Communications.

What are you gaining beyond your goal to “disassociate” yourself with the words print or press. What’s in a name? A lot. It is your brand, your Differentiating Sales Factor and your DNA. It is a big world out there, and today’s competition for printers is not just the guys down the street. It is different industries, online options and related industries to printing that now offer print services.

So, who does a buyer trust? That is what makes all the difference to today’s most successful printing companies. They are out there. They are really busy. They are growing. They take time to plan. So, what’s in a name? Whatever value you consistently bring day in and day out to your prospects and customers. Value does not mean dropping off donuts. That’s lazy person sales, and a topic for another blog. So, what is your take? Agree or disagree? Does a printer’s changing its name make a difference in the market? Why or why not? The best answer gets a free signed copy of my “Everyone Is in Sales” book. Good luck.

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies. The firm consults with the front end of privately held printing and related organizations across North America. The areas of focus are: sales growth, brand positioning, organizational strategy, and integrated marketing (with an emphasis on social media). Sauers speaks at many national events and writes feature articles in global publications. He is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and entrepreneurship. Sauers is also the author of the best-selling book "Everyone is in Sales" and the newest book "Would You Buy from You?" Please visit: SauersConsulting.com.
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  • PrintReadyMKTG


    I will be responding in more detail through my social media channels but wanted to give you a response here. You are 100% wrong!!! I’ve owned an operated a printing business since 1998. But really over the last 3 years I’ve operated a marketing communications business centered around print, direct mail and Internet visibility. I used to have "Press" in my name and people in larger accounts often did not take me seriously. I’ve even had occasions where I’ve lost business because of the perceived limitations of my business. If your going to be a "3 bid printer", shut it down now because you’re going down! To make money and flourish in this industry you need to solve client problems, that’s right create solutions clients want to buy. When you start to do that, you will see that price is not a priority. Terms like "press" and printer are out of date and outmoded. These names will make it harder for you to pick up new larger high value clients and keep the ones you currently have. Evolve or die!

    Jim Intihar

  • Kelly Mallozzi

    Hey Ryan
    Glad to see you blogging here! I love your take on this and totally agree! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • RyanSauers

    Jim, thanks for your feedback. I am always open to anyone disagreeing with my opinion. We live in America. However, is your information based on… your opinion or data. After many years of doctoral research, I can share that I like to deal with facts and experience. Also, research backs up that is quite infrequent that someone is "100% wrong" as I cover in my book. In addition, the words "MSP" or "integrated marketing solutions" type companies are greatly overused these days based on buyer feedback. Quite frankly, much of these companies all sound the same. I spend time in a lot of industries and this is a common refrain. If you want to be taken seriously– as a company–in any industry… it has nothing to do with your name but is indeed about your DNA! Thanks and Keep Pushing Forward. Thanks. RTS

  • Andrew Field

    Taken to its logical conclusion, the advice to disassociate your company name from print to MSP or similar would end up at "Help Clients Achieve Their Objectives, Inc." Nobody needs marketing anymore than they need print. What they need is what print/marketing gains them: customers, sales, contributions, etc. Is there a bright future for companies that do "just print?" Nope. Every successful printing company I know has expanded into additional products/services.

  • Dave Gross

    Regardless of the name of the company (unless it’s something stupid like "Craptacular Graphics), it’s what you do for your clients that makes the difference in the marketplace. When I’m talking to a client or prospect, the name of the company is secondary. The examples of our solutions and how we’ve helped clients identify, and solve, problems means a LOT more than the name (even if the name is Bonehead Litho).

  • Martin Pugh

    Great to see you blogging here!
    Good topic, and there is a lot to consider before changing a company name or re-branding. Not a cookie cutter answer for everyone.

  • RyanSauers

    Andrew, thanks for the comment. I concur. The successful company of today– in any industry– thinks in a marketing oriented manner. This means they "truly" think through things from the vantage point of the customer. Our world moves quite rapidly and print has changed just as every other industry– so it is not a matter of if we need to change… it is a matter of what we need to change. Thanks for taking time to post, Andrew. All my best, Ryan

  • Brent Clarke

    Hey Ryan, part of your comments I agree with. The part about your existing clients not caring about your name once you provide service to them, but I would tend to agree with most of the comments by PrintReadyMKTG. The issue I feel here is not so much with existing clients but with prospects. People jump to conclusions in a split second so having a company name that does not reflect your offering can certainly be a negative handicap. In my recent 8 years leading sales at Print-Quotes Software, I know we get disqualified regularly as a complete MIS package at least once a month because of our name. Our name did reflect our company 12 years ago (specializing in quoting) but does not reflect our current MIS and ERP capabilities we offer today. Even with existing clients, these clients and their employees are not stagnant. Faces change and having to sell someone new to the play "out" of their first (incorrect) impression, can be a costly proposition. Just my thoughts and experience.

  • Tom Gimer

    Interesting post and comments. We’re dealing with this issue right now as we prepare for the expiration of our 25 year franchise agreement (this is a Kwik Kopy Printing franchise). I don’t think there is an answer that fits everyone. There are pros and cons to each side.

    Our reputation in the community is probably our biggest asset. Searches for our exact name or website name usually ranks among the top 5 drivers of traffic to our website. We also get leads from the corporate site. Making a name change would affect this.

    However, we provide so many more services than our name would suggest. People are always surprised when they come in to see the long list of what we do. The next year will be an interesting one for us for sure.

    Thanks for your post. It has got me thinking again about this important issue.