The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

What’s in a Name?

On March 20th, 2017, posted in: Industry, Uncategorized by

boot tracksI don’t know what I was expecting when I walked into Chuck’s Boots, but as I entered, I stopped inside the door for a second and had to gather myself. My face must have had that sort of look that a young farm boy might have when he first travels to New York City. Those corn fields all the way to the horizon at home, suddenly replaced by concrete stacked to the clouds, will have a halting effect.

You know what Chuck’s Boots has? BOOTS! Lots of them. As far as the eye could see, boots on the left, boots on the right, and straight back from the door to what appeared a block or so away, there were boots. Do you need boots? Might I suggest Chuck’s?

I was impressed on many fronts, but it dawned on me as I made my way around this monument to boots, their name might be the best thing they have going for them. Nothing fancy, nothing ostentatious, and nothing to make you guess as to what your expectations should be. We’re Chuck’s Boots — we sell freakin’ boots!

Don’t get fancy with the name. In a world overwhelmed with clutter and messaging, why would anyone fool you with their name? If, as a business owner, I only have a split second to get your attention and focus, I don’t want to confuse you with something that requires your discernment or deductive reasoning. I want to be in your face. BOOM!

I was recently reading that in the world of behavioral economics, consumers like to buy out of habit more than conscious thought. This requires us to be easy, fast and convenient. Competitive advantage comes from cumulative advantage. Businesses have to accumulate impressions to the point of habit.

Products are bought to do a job. If you’re looking for a job that requires boots, then Chuck’s Boots lets you know, without much thought, why they exist. They are there to help you get the boots you need to do the job. Pretty simple and genius. It’s the name.

If automatic is what the brain likes, then how does a business create a habit? The value proposition, in addition to being habit-forming, must seek to be instinctive and comfortable. Familiarity comes to mind and is the operative word. Making your name simple and habit-forming is a good starting point.

That said, what is a credit union? The name itself isn’t easy, fast, or convenient. “Credit union” doesn’t say what job we do for the consumer. “Credit” and “union” are not words that are instinctive or comfortable.  Neither is “credit union” simple or habit-forming.

When one says “credit union,” does familiarity come to mind? St. Louis Community comes to mind, but as part of our name, Credit Union leaves us in a lurch. We have work to do.

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