Thought Leader Life with Alexandra Watkins (@eatmywords) #032

In this episode of Thought Leader Life, Michael and I hang out with #ThoughtLeader Alexandra Watkins, a recognized expert on business names and the owner and CEO of the company Eat My Words, which I absolutely adore. I would describe Alexandra as someone who really knows what marketing is and who isn’t ashamed or shy in sharing her opinion. She defines a #ThoughtLeader as someone who is an authority in their area, not just an authority in their minds. Thought leaders also have to be really well-respected and followed by competitors and peers as well as their customers or advocates. For Alexandra, a #ThoughtLeader has to have an original thought that they express without fear, even if it is contrary to popular opinion.

In the interview, Alexandra defines a good brand name by expounding on her company’s tagline: “A name should make you smile, instead of scratch your head.” People like names that they understand and easily get, because it makes them feel smart. A good name is something that does not baffle or confuse or challenge people in a way that makes them feel stupid. Alexandra explains the SMILE and SCRATCH test that is available on her company’s website, which is a simple evaluation check to determine if you have a good brand name. She describes the test to be anything but complicated; it is not a scientific process, just basic common sense. SMILE is an acronym for the five qualities of a good brand name, namely: Suggestive, Meaningful, Imagery, Legs, and Emotional connection. On the opposite end, SCRATCH stands for the qualities of a brand name that is going to cause problems, and Alexandra says if your company name has even just one of these qualities, you should already consider changing it. She also points out that in today’s world; it is no longer difficult to change names, because you can use social media and the Internet to spread the word. Alexandra’s best advice is that when you are already struggling with the current name you have, start thinking about changing it.

For #ThoughtLeaders, Alexandra’s advice is not to use your own name for your brand because that will not say anything about you specifically, and you don’t want to dilute your brand if you have namesakes. One example is a @HappyAbout, which is much easier to remember than @Mitchell_Levy.

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Here are some “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the Aha Moments from Thought Leader Life books available in the Aha Amplifier and watch the interview below!

#ThoughtLeaders think their way isn’t the only way, and share the great thoughts of others, not just their own. @eatmywords

Annoying names are the ones that frustrate the customer. @eatmywords

Why should you make your name challenging for people? Just because it’s creative doesn’t always mean it’s good! @eatmywords

Using a personal name for your brand name is not necessarily a good choice. @michaelprocopio

Follow Alexandra on Twitter at @eatmywords. Tune into Thought Leader Life every Saturday for more thought-leader goodness!