How do you know you have the right name?
“When we first started our cake business it was called Mrs Peboryon’s Cake Emporium. Catchy? Hmm… not so much. At the time it seemed like a good idea. We’d started out selling muffins and cookies through local shops and sometimes from our front doorstep. We were going for a bit of a 50’s vintage home-baker vibe and it seemed to fit with that.”
But was it the right name? How do you know? How do you even start choosing a business name?! Fear not – Phil and Christine Jensen, directors of The Cake Professionals, are here to share their advice on how to name your cake business... and it all starts with personality.
The importance of personality
When it comes to cake, your business name, logo, font, words about the business and even the style of pictures you take – these elements come together to give an overall impression of your business personality.
Your business could be sassy, wholesome, traditional, wild, alternative, specialist, artsy, minimalist or downright dull (that last one is not usually a winner!). The personality you decide to project communicates what kind of business you’re running and what you’re selling.
It really helps if there’s a chunk of your own personality in the brand. It’s so much easier to have the business be an extension of yourself than pretend to be someone you’re not every day!
Make sure your name fits your brand
Get input from people outside your business. Rebranding is fairly common in the first couple of years. It makes sense that as you get more focused on what you’re about – old labels need to be updated for relevant ones.
Whether we liked the name or not wasn’t the point. If ‘Mrs. Peboryon’s Cake Emporium’ didn’t represent the product we were selling and the customers didn’t connect with it we had a problem! So how do you work out your brand?
Working out your brand
Here are three great questions to help you start working out what your brand is:
- Who is your customer?
- What are you selling?
- Who are your competitors?
1. Who is your customer?
Before you think about a name for your business, a logo, font type, recognisable colours or motifs, you need to work out who you’re for.
Don’t be put off by the jargon. Think of brand identity like personality. We take our cues of what someone is like from what they wear, how they speak, their attitude to life, work, reliability, beauty, and the fun they have. It’s the same with a business. All those ‘personality’ details build up a picture of what customers can expect from a business and, very importantly, if they’d like to get to know it.
The idea is to develop a detailed picture of your typical customer. That in turn helps you to shape how you present your business to them. You can have more than one typical customer but what's important is that each one is a distinct type of person.
Here are some questions to think through:
- What’s their name? How old are they?
- Where do they live? What kind of house?
- Who influences them the most?
- Where do they shop? What do they eat?
- What do they read, watch and play?
- What's important to them about the products they buy? Cost, quality, sustainability, craftsmanship, flavour, specialist dietary needs…
You can go on and on with these!
“We found many of the custom cake clients we were wanting to sell to were called Charlotte, so we adopted that name for one of our customer types!”
It might seem a strange exercise, but give it a go. It’s so helpful when working out the look, feel and values of a brand. Decisions become much easier when we can ask ourselves, “Would Charlotte want that?” or “Would Charlotte understand that?”
2. What are you selling?
Well, uhhh… cake? Yes okay, we know we’re selling cake and baked goodies, but what are the characteristics of what you sell?
- What's the time investment? Is it a multi-hour custom product or is it a quicker high-volume product or somewhere in-between?
- What's the price? Are your cakes at the lower end or higher end of the market? Do you have different products at different prices?
- Are there unique features that make your cakes a little different? Perhaps the bake is a big emphasis for you or maybe you have a particular style, or you specialise in special dietary requirements?
- What style of cakes are you making?
- What's your customer service like? Do you give your customers a high degree of personal interaction or is it less hands-on?
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3. Who are your competitors?
With a little research on the internet it’s easy to develop a good feel for what other fabulous cake makers are out there and how they’re selling themselves. The aim here is NOT to copy. Why would you?! The point is to understand how your ideas are going to sit next to each other and how you can each be distinctive. There’s room for everyone and absolutely no need to get territorial. Life's too short for that nonsense. Also, getting to know your cake neighbours is a really smart life and business move. You’ll need them one day and they’ll definitely need you.
Once there’s a clear idea of what it is you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, and who your competition is, THEN it’s time to decide on all those lovely branding details… including the name.
A brand that reflects your personality, your product and your customers
After talking with our coaches, we ended up re-branding and stripping our name right back to Peboryon. Here’s why:
- Product – it reflected our foodie emphasis (Peboryon means baker in Cornish)
- Customers – Charlotte’s life was full of Swarovski, Armani and hygge weekends in the country. She was used to an unusual name that added style and intrigue.
- Competitors – the name was starkly different from most other cake businesses and was therefore memorable.
The pros of an unusual name
One huge benefit of choosing such an unusual name was that websites, social media and email addresses were wide open for the taking! A huge consideration when working in a virtual marketplace, which is only getting more important post-2020. Had we chosen ‘Christine’s Cakes’ or ‘Cornish Cakes’ we would have been disappointed as those handles and addresses were all long gone.
The cons of an unusual name
Our choice of name mostly worked well with our customer base, but there have been drawbacks. Our custom cake business name is hard for some to spell or even pronounce and it doesn’t have ‘cake’ in the title. Saying that, this often leads to longer conversations in social settings, which can mean we get to have more meaningful connections over our passions and location.
No name is ever going to be perfect, but choosing it is a brilliant step forwards in the building of your cake business.
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