This is a guest post by my amazing copywriter and dear friend, Kate Bonnycastle


Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Sorry Bill. It’s the 21st century. Business is complicated. It’s a global market. When it comes to selling your products and services – it’s about way more than smelling sweet.

Entrepreneurs are always trying to describe what they do – in 30 seconds, elevator pitches, bottom lining, and other shortcuts that successfully tell the story of why we do what we do for whom, and why it means so much to us.

So when it comes time to give your e-course, webinar, retreat, service, offer, program or package a name – that name needs to work very, very hard.

Especially when you’re providing services. Your unique offer doesn’t come in a wine bottle, a cookie tin, or a hardcover. There’s no packaging to hint at the particular type of magic and wonder you’re offering.

It takes a good, long think to come up with that spot-on name for your service offering. You want the name to do, essentially, three very important things: Convey your promise, reveal who you are, and appeal to whom you help.

Make a promise.

The name you choose needs to say more about your offer than just what it is. It needs to make a promise about what to expect, how the experience will feel, and the positive change that will occur. Jac McNeil and Krista Smith have invited me to offer up some naming tips at their October Action Academy Retreat – which is a name chock-full of promise itself. With the word ‘retreat’ you already know that it’s special, different, apart from your daily life. You may imagine luxurious surroundings (you’d be right), a deliciously quiet, natural environment (yup) and a cherished amount of time to focus on your business and yourself (hear hear!) ‘Academy’ conveys higher learning. The promise is that even the most seasoned entrepreneur will come away with valuable learning and real aha moments. And you also know that it’s not going to be a sit-back-and-listen lecture series. Have you met these women? It will be vibrant, energetic, and powerful. It will be active, interactive and rev you up for continued action. So much promise in those three words!

Reveal who you are.

The name also needs to fit you, your brand, how you work and why. If your business personality is smart, quick and feisty – like Krista Smith – you want to find names that fit. For example, Krista offers her clients a few different bursts of technology support. ‘Activation Experiences’ quickly identify, solve and remove the barrier that’s keeping a business back. Software School, BrandAlign and Income ID are three punchy titles that get to the point with the power and verve of their creator.

Appeal to your tribe.

Most of all, you want a name that turns people on – on a subconscious, emotional level. And oh, by ‘people’, I mean the RIGHT people. The people who are actually going to benefit, learn, grow from and love what you’re offering. That name needs to speak loudly to them. One of the things I love about Jac’s Brand Brilliance is that it’s like a dinnertime bell for strong entrepreneurs. Savvy business owners value brand strength. Masters of their craft want to go beyond great and reach brilliance. Plus, just the sound of ‘Brilliance’ has a twirl, a thrill, a shiny sparkle to it that rings out to women entrepreneurs.

That’s a lot of responsibility heaped onto a tiny title! Of course, you’ll get a chance to describe your services further on your website, social posts, blogs etc. But when you nail the name of an offer – when it conveys your promise, sounds just like you and rings with the truth of your right people – it’s a delectable hint of all the magic that’s in store.

Kate is a Nova Scotia-based copywriter who adds pop and personality to business writing of all kinds. She works with self-employed Coaches, Healers, Creatives and Game-changers who crave powerful copy, served up with love. Connect with her on Facebook  or Twitter!

Over to you

When it comes to naming your next offer, product or program what challenges are you facing? What questions do you have for Kate? Please leave a comment below–we’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Thanks for this post.Thoughtful and helpful. Here’s my situation for your comment: I took a course with someone on how to build a high ticket package. She suggested a title for my new package, which I kept and though people really like it and there is a big piece of me in it, there’s also a part that’s not, and that part is meant to tell people what’s on the tin. This is it: The Gentleness Formula: A Step By Step Method For Women to Lead Powerfully in the Workplace. The Gentleness bit is me for sure. The second part gives the structure, which is good, and then we chose the workplace because I have to start somewhere – so that was why that word workplace. And also, because I know workplaces so well, and thrived in there because of my eccentricity and boldness. I also know what it is like to give away one’s power to the organization. I don’t want that for others. In truth, I want to help women lead powerfully in the workplace and in their lives. The principles apply everywhere. But to add “their lives” might dilute it, and I want to build a solid practice and branch out from there. What do you think, Kate? Jac? Thanks!

    1. Hi Miriam! Kate’s definitely the expert on naming so I will defer to her for specifics. But, I *will* share my initial impression…when I think of you, I think eccentric, bold, magical, cheeky, fun (the profile picture of you with your tongue stuck out!) . This name/focus feels possibly a tad buttoned down for you. It is definitely clear and specific about who and what it is. It does work. However, when I think of you, I think electric, punchy, bold. I don’t necessarily think “step-by-step” instead I think alchemic, organic, raw, intuitive, powerful and feminine.

      Curious, what are your thoughts, Miriam? Do you see where I’m going with my comments?

      Ok–over to Kate! xo

      1. Boy oh boy Jac, did you ever get me right. All of those adjectives. I’m all of that and practical.

        You made me laugh with this – *a tad buttoned down for you*. You think? I hear you. Those workplaces feel like that, very buttoned down – and yet, oh my, I did some creative stuff in there in spite of it and I want women to be themselves and step into their bold power too.

        The eccentric, cheeky, magical stuff is in the program. I had to think about it step by step to create the parts for the transformation I want for women – to be powerful, authentic and unapologetic leaders of their lives and work – to stand in their authority in charge of their destiny and prospects, and to thrive in meaningful and prosperous careers. My focus evolved as I thought about how I have and we women have turned our lives over to the control, power and authority of others, and often we don’t see it until much later. I had to escape to get my freedom several times and I want that freedom for women. I want women to reclaim their power from people, organizations and systems and to lead from soul and values-based confidence, gentleness and their inherent feminine wisdom.

        We need the feminine to get the heart back into organizations and the world. And yes, I am a playful, cheeky, organic, gentle and fierce champion and advocate for people who want to come out of their closets and stand in their full, unique glory. Practical and applied magic. Whether in our work or in our lives, I want us to be the authors of our lives. A little passionate, yes?

        And I hear hear hear you. I am looking forward to the day when you and I get to play together. We must. Thanks for caring and loving so truthfully and fiercely. You’re so specially you. xo

        1. This program sounds rich and delicious and perfectly you. I’m so happy to hear that you have created it and are sharing it. It is definitely work that is needed and you are the exact right person to be at the helm. Your passion is contagious. I adore you so! xoxo

        2. Hello Miriam! Just going simply by your comments here, and Jac’s as well, the first thing that came to mind was: The Sorrynotsorry Formula: A Method For Women To Lead Powerfully. I know the sorrynotsorry is a trend right now, but maybe you could use something like that? Something that shows cheekiness and gets your point across -> power + gentleness. As for the ‘step by step’ and ‘in the workplace’ bits, I don’t think they’re necessary. I would read more about your program, just from your title, and be even more into it once I learned it was step by step and I think in the workplace is implied.

          I totally identify with the woman you want all of us to be. I was like that when I was working in the corporate world, but I would have definitely signed up for the encouragement and support, plus practical steps!

          1. Awesome!! Serene these are such great ideas! I love the #sorrynotsorry trend, myself.
            “Unapologetically Female” is another term I adore.

            Thanks for sharing. xoxo

      2. Hi Miriam! I love “eavesdropping” on your exchange with Jac. From what I hear/read you are chock full of personality and love. I wonder if it’s the word “formula” that’s tripping you up? It’s such a mathematical word. Maybe a “Gentleness Journey” is more your style? Step-by-step works well with a Journey metaphor. Or a “Gentleness Awakening” which is somehow ‘gentler’ than formula. You speak of destiny and femininity… play with synonyms in those word families and you may find that you don’t need to say anymore – the spirit of YOU will come through. Happy Playing!

  2. LOVE that you are having Kate on your blog!! And having her at the retreat you and Krista are running is what my son would call a triple good luck event- when three great things all align at the same time!

    I have a question. As a speaker and trainer, who is an expert in stress resilience, I have a series of talks and trainings that I offer. While the content is often very similar, the names need to change based on the audience. My audience ranges from non-profits, corporations and conference planners. So it’s wide and varied, as are the modalities. Some of my trainings are a train-the-trainer approach so staff can learn strategies to change their relationship with stress AND teach their clients, other times it is a wellness offering within an organization, or maybe a keynote at a conference and then there are the programs I offer corporations to help their teams’ creativity and collaboration. Add to it that sometimes it is a one time gig such as a keynote but other times I run an ongoing 6 part course.

    How do you navigate naming programs/talks under in such situations? That has been my greatest challenge thus far…

    Hugs to you both! I SO appreciate you and all that you are up to in this world!!!

    1. Hey Gorgeous! It would be a “quadruple good luck event” if you came to the retreat too!

      I love when entrepreneurs find a way to name their various offers using a “brand family” approach. What I mean is, each name has it’s own distinct personality but when you look at the group of offers you can see that they are all connected as a family. This means that each name feels related to the others but is crystal clear enough NOT to confuse your audience. Sometimes, it’s a family of metaphors (all nature metaphors or movement metaphors etc) or a certain punchy rhythm that you land on that works–see the examples Kate uses for Krista in the post above–there is a rhythm and an “activation” feeling to all of them. Hope that helps!

      Kate can add more! xo

      1. Right on, Jac! A single metaphor is a great way to tie things together. Or alliteration. Or, don’t worry too much about it if your audiences aren’t going to overlap. If you need a punchy powerhouse get it done name for a corporate client but something super forward-focussed and heart-centric to appeal to not-for-profits… go for it. Be true to yourself, but feel free to tweak your language so your various clients ‘get it’. And always, always be clear first and clever second. I’ve learned that sometime you just gotta call it like it is to help your clients get informed quickly. Hope this helps!

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