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Is a Tag Line Absolutely Necessary Along With Your Company Name?

In looking through Entrepreneur Magazine's most recent Franchise 500 issue, I noticed - and cut out - a number of ads for franchises that struck me as exceptionally well named. So clear and meaningful were these company names that they instantly conveyed exactly what the company did in an appealing way.

If you saw the company name flash by on a van or embroidered on an employee jacket, you'd understand the business and maybe even want to chase down the van or person and learn more. From that standpoint alone, imagine the immense advantage such a well-named company has over competitors named, say, Rayne and McFlynn or Standard Specialists.

Normally a tag line - the little phrase that follows a company name on business cards, stationery and web site headers - helps to clarify what line of business the firm is in and how it differs from competitors, as well as to lend a dash of pizzazz. In most cases, a business name and tag line belong together like salt and ___, or like cup and ___. (I'll bet you couldn't help filling in those blanks with "pepper" and "saucer.")

Yet here are five companies whose advertisements caught my eye as being able to get by without a tag line. I give them high points. See whether or not you agree.

1)Relax the Back

This store sells ergonomic products that help prevent back problems, support the back and neck, and relieve pain. Although the ad had a tag line, "The best of everything for your back," neither that nor the silhouette-style logo of a reclining figure were needed to understand what this retail store sells.

2)Anytime Fitness

Again, you don't need any brainwork to guess that this company provides you with a place to work out any time of the day or night. As a member, you gain access to the club with a keycard valid 24/7. There wasn't a tag line on the ad, and the stick figure breaking into a run beside the company name added energy but wasn't needed for comprehension.

3)American Leak Detection

Here too there is no mistaking what this company does. The tag line, "The Original Leak Specialists," doesn't really add anything helpful.

4)Computer Troubleshooters

Another self-explanatory company name. The tag line "Technology Solved" adds some psychological satisfaction to the presentation, letting us know that they don't merely try to solve computer problems, they succeed.

5)Home Instead Senior Care

My favorite of the bunch. I'm not sure anyone needs the answer to the question "instead of what?" I didn't see a tag line for this company, either in the ad or on the web site.

So many factors go into choosing a company name that I'm not proposing all companies seek names like the five above. History, the type of business, the competitive landscape, domain availability and other circumstances figure into whether or not such names make sense and are attainable.

Still, when the stars align, a perfect name can get the message across on its own. That's good to know!

Marcia Yudkin is Head Stork of Named At Last, a company that brainstorms creative business names, product names and tag lines for clients. For a systematic process of coming up with an appealing and effective name or tag line, download a free copy of "19 Steps to the Perfect Company Name, Product Name or Tag Line" at www.namedatlast.com/19steps.htm

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