Writing a blog always feels, at best a little self indulgent and at worst self obsessed. One of the first things people often ask about the business is ‘Why Cards or Die?’ so I thought I would write something down. And, while I wrangle with my anxiety and self doubt, feel free to read this, ponder or disregard it!
The naming of a business is a big deal. This is the first thing people see or hear of you. What was that trite 80s Head and Shoulders strapline? “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. All the great bloggers and gurus find inspirational quotations from 80s commercials – as well as solutions to dandruff issues. In choosing a name we must consider what impression we are making: does it communicate what we do? what we are about?
I chose Cards or Die primarily because I love a pun. I’m a big fan of a Stalybridge beauty salon called “Tanz’In’Ere”, a Leeds pet shop called “Tyrannosaurus Pets” and the newest addition to Horsforth High Street – a wine shop called “Once Upon a Vine”. I appreciate (now) that there is more to naming a business than choosing a great pun. I hope that a pun communicates something lighthearted and fun. My business is all about connecting people, bringing them together to have fun.
The particular pun I chose was characteristically dark; listening to The Smiths on repeat for years leaves its mark. My two standard responses to “Why do you wear so much black?” are (a) It matches my soul or (b) because black is how I feel on the inside. In 15 years of teaching only one teenager ever got the reference. She replied “Cool, you like The Smiths” and presumably made a mental note never to ask me anything ever again.
And I suppose therein lies another facet of my character. My dry, dark sense of humour doesn’t always translate and I often don’t care – as long as I’m amusing myself that’s all that counts. Except when naming a business, then other people’s responses are paramount.
It was only retrospectively that I learnt that hardly anyone knows that the word dice is plural while die is singular. I had assumed this was common knowledge. It is not. In fact one kind soul took it upon himself to explain to me that I had named the business ‘wrong’. Oh, what it must be like to have that level of confidence!
I like the name and I’m keeping it. Partly because once you make that commitment and start building a brand that people are familiar with it’s best to stick with it. Unless of course you realise that the car you named a Mitsubishi Pajero means wanker or Ford Pinto means small penis. In that case you should definitely go for a rename! Another reason I am so invested in the name is that I commissioned a song by Jonathan Mann (I always intend to do loads of stuff on youtube and it will be great as a theme for videos at some point – anxiety allowing).
Another reason I really like Cards or Die is because I’ve enjoyed designing the logo and the realisation that it’s easy to adapt to suit different seasons or events means I am having a lot of fun with it.
I feel like even if you miss the pun at least you know I’m passionate about games! But in a kind of “do what I say not what I did” fashion, I would advise you to always research thoroughly. In a similar vein here are some questions I should have mulled over when naming the business:
- what do I want to say?
- what do I want people to know?
- what is the core ethos of my business?
- is the name memorable?
- is the name ambiguous in any way?
- what impression does it create of me/ my brand?
Address these questions and you are well on your way to developing a brand. All you have to do is come up with a punny name!