Weekend Reading series on Fridays for the last few weeks, you've noticed that we've been discussing the importance of personal branding for entrepreneurs. But branding is not only an important facet for individuals; for startups, branding is an essential step toward building a successful business. Mint founder Aaron Patzer, who speaks Tuesday at the Future of Web Apps Conference in Miami, Florida, recently discussed with CNET's Caroline McCarthy how he believes Mint's branding helped it become a breakout success.If you've been following our
Patzer says the company's original name, "Money Intelligence" was transformed into "Mint," which just so happens to be a dictionary word already associated with money. But this is no clever coincidence is no small matter, Patzer says having a recognizable, easy to spell name is important these days when trying to make a company name stick in people's minds.
"Choose something with meaning, even if it's expensive and difficult to acquire, rather based on domain name availability, because otherwise, you're going to kill word-of-mouth," Patzer says.
Patzer and Mint went through this very process themselves, first purchasing mymint.com at roughly $3,000 before inking a deal with the owner of mint.com for the use of the seemingly valuable domain name in return for equity in Mint's funding. It turned out to be such a good investment for the original owner that he contributed to future rounds of funding before the company was eventually bought by Intuit last year for $170 million.
"It was a three-month negotiation," said Patzer. "It was one of the most difficult negotiations of my life...that's how important branding is to me."
Certainly, as we've discussed previously, branding reaches far beyond just the name of your service, but Patzer makes an interesting argument for picking an actual dictionary word. It may be difficult to grab a domain name for a common word, but as Patzer explained, securing your brand online is worth the effort and the money. Of course, the best name in the world can't make up for a poor product, but in the grand scheme of things, names can make a significant impact on success.