The Letter Q
What do all of the following startups have in common:
Quantum Circuits, Inc.
Okay, you guessed it, clever clogs — they all begin with the letter ‘Q’.
And I suppose, as you’re a reader of the TQD (don’t target our name for scorn, as we have the definite article ‘The’ before ‘Quantum’), you’ve sussed they’re all QC startups, too.
But don’t you think there’s something wrong?
Maybe not seriously wrong but wrong all the same?
Imagine going to a QC conference as a VC investor. Potential clients, ie. the startups, present themselves to you, hand you out their business cards, smile professionally, tell you who they are, what they do and how they do it.
After an hour or so of chit-chat, after conference drinks, you go back to the hotel, take your shoes off, switch on the TV and relax. You then take a shower. After you’ve dried yourself off you remember about the nice day you’ve had with a smile and all the valuable contacts in the QC industry you’ve made. That makes you go to your jacket pocket which full to the brim with business cards.
You take them out and peruse them one after another. They’re all professionally cut. But there’s one problem:
The ‘Qs’ are hurting you. There are too many of them. You can’t remember that Q from this Q. The Qs are everywhere.
Distinguishing is impossible.
But there are few in the pack, interesting ones, that not only catch your eye visually but also aurally — you remember the impressibly young CEO with a Ph.D. in quantum physics from MIT not because of those facts or his outrageous bravado but for what his startup was called:
Notwithstanding the boringly sounding ‘computing’ that finishes four of the companies’ names (all’s forgiven), they hit you like a soft rock. You won’t forget them in a hurry, that’s for certain.
Didn’t Shakespeare say:
What’s in a name?
Maybe it’s nothing.
Yet maybe everything.
Look at Apple, it’s a classic. Coca Cola, too. Even Pepsi, for that matter. Kangaroos. Nike. Adidas. The Boring Company — ‘far from’. Brandless. Starbucks. Lego. Virgin and Toyota.
Let’s get some style in QC, guys. Stop branding the obvious. Release the Qs from their jail.
What I’m saying is that the QC industry is in its early days, its branding too, so there will obviously be some mistakes in not only targeting but also how we want customers to see our companies. That doesn’t mean you have to hire an expensive brand man from Saatchi & Saatchi or even a marketing-savvy new recruit.
Just get the branding right at the very beginning because it could make all the difference in the end.
Adopt Q-less startup names with a bit of creativity!