GLENDALE, Ariz. — So, you’ve done your due diligence and decided to pull the trigger on opening a new mat. What store name is best for your particular market? It depends on your strategy.
In Part 1 of this column, I discussed the power of a picture, the various styles of Laundromat industry names, and began sharing naming strategies for branding your mat. Let me continue:
• Get Personal — Naming your mat with your own name, first or last, inspires confidence because people will think that you’re taking the business so personally that you’re putting your own name behind it. You’re personalizing your store, which does appeal to a lot of people.
So, Betsy’s Laundromat or Tom’s Quick Wash Laundry. But if your name is Stinky, not good … or is it?
• Completely Unrelated — Then there are the names that have nothing at all to do with the business. Believe it or not, this may be a good strategy to adopt.
When I was a teenager, I used to bring my new car to a family friend’s car wash named Happy Pumpkin Car Wash that included a big, smiling pumpkin on its sign. It was no different than any other car wash, except for the name and logo. I may not remember where I put my car keys yesterday but I still remember this car wash of my youth some 50 years later!
• Letters or Initials — I think the poorest naming choice is to use letters or initials that nobody but you will recognize or care about, such as R & Q Laundromat.
It’s hard enough for people to remember a name. Initials tend to get lost in people’s memories: “Was it R & Q, or Q & R?”
My feeling would be that the new owner didn’t give it much thought, which doesn’t inspire much confidence from me. If you want to choose a bank, would you choose R & Q Bank, or Bank of America?
• Nothing to Distinguish It — What about there being no company name? Many mats use nothing other than an industry name like “Laundromat.” Short and sweet, simple and effective … as long as everyone who passes the store understands the word.
If you must go this route, add a logo, or make sure your mat’s interior can easily be seen from the street. I would not do this nowadays because people want to look you up online, and how can they if there’s nothing more than “Laundromat”? How do they leave reviews?
• A Brand Name That Endures — If you think you will be opening more locations, you should consider a brand name that will endure in all your future locations. Therefore, using the name of a city or town may come back to bite you if you want to open in another town. Unless, of course, you plan on opening more only within your city.
I operated three mats within a 20-minute drive from each other. All three had the same name. We had about 5% of customers who would use all three at different times. Not much, but enough to make a difference that I probably would not have had otherwise.
Using the same name helped me out on a few occasions. When one mat would get closed down for whatever reason, we would just point the customers to our other locations. In those circumstances, the additional traffic was more like 10-25%.
In fact, I had interior signs that listed all three addresses, so people would be aware that there are more locations not too far away.
PROTECT YOUR LOGO
Simply operating with your logo offers some legal protection (if it is not already in use) because it’s a common-law right.
An old trick is to send the logo to yourself via registered mail to establish a starting date. This way, you will have definitive proof that your logo was the first one if someone copies it. It’s probably not necessary nowadays since your online presence establishes a starting date.
If you hope to grow into other states, you’ll need to register a trademark nationally. It would be wise to seek the advice of legal counsel where trademarks and copyright law is concerned.
Did you know there are business name search engines that could help you name your business? Just Google “Laundromat business name search engines” and I think you’ll be surprised at what you might find.
And don’t forget search engine optimization (SEO) when you choose that laundry name. Google “web friendly business name search engines.”
The name you choose will be with you and your laundry business for a long time. It’s important to give it some extra thought because the name can make a difference!
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].