TMBA 401: What's In A Name?

TMBA401: What’s In A Name? post image

Podcast 49:52| Download | Stitcher | iTunes | Comment

Today’s episode revolves around a question that Dan and Ian are struggling with right now: What is the best way to go about re-naming this show? But the principles apply to anyone creating a brand or product.

After all, you only get one chance to grab people’s attention. Choosing the right name can unlock the door to great success – but branding your business in the wrong way can be disastrous.

Today’s guest knows how to tackle this challenge better than most.

Alexandra Watkins is the founder of a company called Eat My Words, which specializes in naming brands and products. She is also the author of a book on the subject called “Hello, My Name is Awesome”.

This interview originally started out as a discussion about Alexandra’s book, but it ended up taking a serious (and often quite humorous) turn about halfway through, when Alexandra went to great lengths to help Dan and Ian find a new name for this podcast.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why Alexandra decided to write a book about branding. (3:53)
  • How to put your brand through the “Smile and Scratch Test”. (14:10)
  • The first steps to choosing a good name for your brand. (29:30)
  • How Alexandra puts her methods to work through a live “namestorming” session about our brand. (40:26)
  • Some of Alexandra’s names that she is most proud of. (44:02)

Mentioned in the episode:

This week’s sponsor:

This week’s episode is brought to you by DCBKK. DCBKK is an immersive 5-day conference on October 18-22, 2017 hosted by the DC (Dynamite Circle) and presented by TropicalMBA creators Dan and Ian. The annual DCBKK conference is held in a 5 star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand for 250 established entrepreneurs running mid 5-figure to 8-figure businesses.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST. Cheers, Dan & Ian

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Published on 08.10.17
  • Awesome episode! Loved hearing the live brainstorming and some of the rationale behind why a name is good or bad.

    At some point in the future, I’d love to hear another interview with Alexandra more in-depth about how to change a brand/product name – the process of introducing it and re-educating your audience/market etc.

    For example, if I were to change one of my product names, I’d have to go back and correct/adjust several hundred blog posts, videos, and podcasts where I promote it under the old name, and it feels like a huge chore. Plus there’d be confusion with people thinking it’s actually a whole new product. I’d be interested to know if there are ways to make the process of introducing a new name easier.

  • Anders

    It’s funny how a brand/name/image will always be there no matter what branding campaign you do. Just make an image search for “dan andrews coconut” and there he is – Dan sucking on his coconut as first result :-)

  • While listening to the first part of this ep, I was thinking of the re-branding that Zen Payroll did to become Gusto. This is an in-depth case study that covers a lot of the strategy that goes into a re-brand like that:

  • Super timely — just helped name a venture, named a new venture for myself, and working on naming another company right now.

  • Avo

    I love the controversy of “Tropical” and “MBA”, isn´t that the whole point and life ideology for this movement?

  • Avo

    Sounds like you guys sweared a lot….

  • This is a brilliant show. Alexandra really knows her stuff. It was so interesting as she facilitated TMBA’s name search. I’d better get the book now

  • The Dynamite Journey…?

  • Chris Mitchell

    As someone who is not a member of the DC, it strikes me that rebranding the podcast to the Dynamite Circle podcast would mutually reinforce the two things rather than having separate brands. Although I notice there is a separate thing called the Dynamite Circle podcast already… is that for members only? Also, random observation: I was always confused by the decision to drop the “Lifestyle Business Podcast” label in favour of TropicalMBA because Lifestyle Business Podcast seemed a much better, if less poetic, description of what every topic of the podcast was about. I know you don’t want to be restricted to “just” lifestyle businesses but I’d guess that’s where the majority of your audience are at, either doing it or aspiring to it. For me, as a non-American, the term MBA doesn’t really conjure up any kind of meaning – it’s almost as bad as a made up word. But whatever – you can call it whatever you want and I’ll still be listening to every episode :)

  • Sounds like you have crossed the proverbial Rubicon with the name changing decision. I like Tropical MBA as a name as it ties in well with your genesis story of learning about the online business world, in the tropics. As you said though, for new people it maybe confusing.

    Keeping MBA in the title is a good link to the past as Adsense Flippers->Empire Flippers have shown, but they still flip as a business so it was a natural choice.

    Ultimately it is down to a name that you like, even if it means ditching the lot. And here’s a thought – Google was originally BackRub, which I think we can all agree was a good decision to rename.

  • Kiri Masters

    ^^ THIS

  • Paul Bleisch

    Agree with this. “MBA” feels like the wonky bit of the name to me. But I guess I am an insider (though not a DCer).

  • haha I’m happy to be a lifelong lover of Coconuts! :D

  • haha, would have been good to have some JC consulting sessions for this one. A bunch of things jumped out at me after speaking with Alexandra, but two that come to mind are: 1) it’s not that big of a deal 2) Keeping MBA simplifies things quite a bit.

  • interesting point Chris, about the LBP I do think that was a mistake in retrospect, I can’t remember exactly why we did that but I”m tempted to say I felt it stranger to post blog posts at LBP than podcasts at TMBA, so we went with the name that didn’t have “podcast” in it!

    Ultimately our new name might be just so so, so it’s good to know you’ll keep listening! :D

    Regarding a DC podcast, if/when we do that it’ll be for the DC community.

  • good to know as I hadn’t heard too much of that opinion until today’s show.

  • you’re in the running!

  • think you’ll dig it

  • I like that bit of it too!

  • yeah now that I think about it it’s sorta like perma-timely for internet entrepreneurs :D

  • niiiice

  • yeah me too! two quick thoughts 1) I wonder if that would really be necessary 2) seems like an easy thing to hire out as a project. But good point, the book didn’t touch much on these topics.

  • Paul Bleisch

    I wanted to clarify “wonky bit”. :)

    To me MBA evokes concepts of accreditation or acceptance from some “in group”. I was drawn to the LBP because it espoused an alternate path. I have no desire for an MBA but I continue to get tons of value out of TMBA.

    Incidentally, I have little desire to travel extensively but I have still gotten tons of value out of much of the travel and digital nomad topics as well.

    So neither Tropical nor MBA speak to why I listen/follow/etc… but it hasn’t hindered the value I (personally) get out of it.

    I generally love change though so I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

  • Pat D

    The Ranchette Radio Hour seems to have a nice ring to it…..kidding! Really enjoyed this episode. I agree with Paul that ‘MBA’ reminds me of the traditional/corporate path versus entrepreneurship and a new way of thinking, unless you still juxtapose it with something like ‘Tropical’ or the way Seth Godin does with ‘alternative MBA’ etc.

  • Gregory Yance

    Love the show… And give yourself credit for having the confidence to make the change! I have a few ideas for you. Can I message you?

  • thanks Greg, I think we’ve zeroed in on a target but you’re welcome to throw some into the hat Dan at tropical mba dot com

  • oh i like that!!! (RRH). hahaha

  • also agree re: MBA

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