Recently, I went to Tanzania, and like many African countries, tourism is one of the few sources of income for this struggling population. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will find a cluster of friendly faces with bags of trinkets following you around. It’s not that I’m not in the market place for a trinket or two when I travel; it’s just hard, in a sea of vendors all selling the same thing, to figure out who to buy the items from. And yet, one man made it fairly easy for me to decide.
I met him when our van pulled into the parking lot at the gate of the park we were visiting. I was there for an adventure: We were heading on a six-day trek through the mountains. The park itself was off limits to any street vendors, but the parking lot was fair game. As soon as we had we filed out of our van to begin to coordinate our gear, the onslaught began. Out of the woods, dozens of vendors poured into the parking lot, each saying and selling pretty much the same thing. One man stood out from the rest, though.
He held back a bit, and knowing that no one was going to buy a thing before we began our adventure, he approached us from a different angle. He knew none of us wanted to add any weight to our gear before we even started, so he barked out, “You buy nothing right now!” It certainly caught my attention, and then he taught us all his name… multiple times.
“When you come back, you find me here. My name is Mr. Price, and I be right here waiting.” He probably caught a small smile from me, because he marched right up to me and asked, “What’s my name?”
I said, “You’re Mr. Price.”
“And who is going to be right here when you are done, with just what you need?”
“You, Mr. Price,” I repeated like a good student.
With that, we shook hands, and away I went on my trek. I walked for six days, and in those six days, I thought about a lot of things. One of the things I thought about was Mr. Price. For some reason, I just couldn’t get that name out of my head. Was it because it was unique? Was it because it was original? Was it because he had me repeat it a few times? In fact, I think it was all of the above.
When I returned from my trek, the sea of vendors once again appeared from nowhere. Each vendor was waving the same handful of trinkets, but I was looking beyond them. I was looking for Mr. Price. He might not have remembered me, but I sure remembered him. Once I found him, I certainly bought a few items from him.
What’s in a name? A whole lot more than you might think. A book without a catchy title can be lost on the bookshelves like so many self-help books, or it can sell over 25 million people copies like, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” A catchy name can fall on deaf ears and lead you into obscurity, or it can give you a head start over your competition.
The message is clear; the name and subsequent branding you attach to your business, your book, or your products, can very well be the most important decision you ever make. And like Mr. Price, that name and branding can lead you out of obscurity and bring business right to your door.