Brand Identity: Naming Matchstick Marketing
I've loved the idea of "Matchstick" for a very long time. I remember exactly where I was, walking down the main drag of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, thinking about my eventual life as an entrepreneur. After a lot of life and the natural twists and turns of growing up, I found myself gearing up for the great adventure of starting my own business as a brand marketing consultant. I already had a name I loved, but as I would explain to any client I work with, it's important to back up, do the research, and build the bedrock for why my business has a particular nomenclature (alliteration was not enough of a reason).
It only took a moment with a sweetened americano from La Colombe and good playlist to keep me focused before the "why" started tumbling in.
The purpose statement of my business is this: to help brands stand out from the crowd and deliver on their promise to be different, meaningful and impactful. In a world overrun with noise and constant disruption, it's not enough to just hope your brand stands out. You need to deliver value time and time again, creating a trusted connection between you and your customer - whether they be a buyer, investor, volunteer, donator, or ambassador. The initial connection made with a customer is based on their understanding of the brand promise they are engaging. They expect something in return. To make money. To feel good. To look good. To learn. Whatever the expectation is, I can assure you that one is there. You need to first strike a match. And then you need to make it stick.
Part 1A, "Match": Working off the idea of standing out in a crowd of disruption and chaos, other ideas starting flooding in...
Lighting up a room
Starting a fire
Looking at the words and phrases holistically, it became apparent to me that it wasn't just about creating space, or adding light to darkness; it was about energy. Energy, by definition, is the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. You need energy to start, sustain and thrive.
This is when it started to get really fun. Alright Google, let's do this. Search "synonyms for energy."
vitality, vigor, life, liveliness, animation, vivacity, spirit, spiritedness, fire, passion, ardor, zeal, verve, enthusiasm, zest, vibrancy, spark, sparkle, effervescence, exuberance, buoyancy, perkiness, sprightliness.
That was it. My business was about creating sparks. It was about starting something, lighting up a room, finding direction in a place full of darkness, helping others live their passion - not just mine.
Part 1B, "Match": With the idea of energy now firmly behind my business, I also surfaced the idea of connecting businesses to the people that matter - the buyers. I've worked with many companies that have a wonderful product or idea, and because it is so wonderful, think that everyone will be a viable candidate to their message. If you have read my "About Me" bio on the website, you will know that as an anthropology major, I could not be farther from sharing this belief. People are not smooshed between the category "people." There are hundreds of millions of ways to divide, section and distill down subsets of buyers who are a part of the "people" category, but are very much different from one to the next. This concept matters, whether you are selling B2B or B2B or B2B2C or whatever arrangement of B's, C's and 2's you'd like to come up with.
With this belief, I felt strongly that part of my deliverables would be using my experience to help companies match to their buyers through ideal client profiles/personas, go to market strategies, and content creation. Bonus points that it worked its way into the name stage of "match."
Block 2, Stick: In the book "Made to Stick," my favorite set of author-brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, wrote this: "It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictable, chaotic environment. If we’re to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. Not simple in terms of 'dumbing down' or 'sound bites.' You don’t have to speak in monosyllables to be simple. What we mean by 'simple' is finding the core of the idea.” So often, entrepreneurs, leaders, parents, mentors, educators, and just about anyone else in a place of authority, make the common mistake of lecturing. They fire multiple pieces of information at you and hope that you see the brilliance of their big, beautiful idea just as much as they. Similar in a coach to player relationship, it is nearly impossible to incorporate 10 different adjustments to their golf swing well, versus one adjustment, then another, then another. In order to make a message stick, you need to deliver something clean, simple, and impactful.
Business X would help businesses stand out (1A), reach the right audience (1B), and create a message that resonates (2).
The last part of the decision was whether or not to include marketing or another word into the naming convention for the business. Marketing was a quick win with the alliteration and appeal of how it would be said out loud, but it was solidified further by the idea that "marketing" allowed the company to grow in a larger capacity. Branding or design was too narrow, and the removal of any word created space for questions ("what does Matchstick do?"). A big thanks to Jeff Haas from Seer Interactive for helping me think through how the semantics of the marketing industry would allow my services to either niche down or grow. I chose growth.
And there it was, Matchstick Marketing. It felt good. It felt right. And now it was supported by a story. My story.
Work with Matchstick Marketing to create your own story of why. We'll help you discover clarity and direction by establishing brand identity, messaging architecture and go to market strategies that drive brand recognition and adoption across your target audience. Logos don't resonate; stories, experiences and authenticity do. Build your brand to stand the test of time with powerful messaging and mindful strategies that represent who you are and why you matter.