Small businesses and nonprofits need all the free PR they can get.

Fortunately, any size business can have a powerful brand name, and powerful brand names attract the media. That’s because reporters are only human. Their brains work like everyone else’s, and they’ll notice and remember a name that’s distinctive, emotionally compelling and relevant to a meaningful brand promise.

And like everyone else, reporters are more likely to talk about a powerful brand name than a weak one.

Recently, the Star Tribune published a story on local nonprofits that have rebranded. Although the article mentioned a number of organizations, the name that led the story was Think Small, named by Pollywog.

Minnesota do-gooders, not exactly known for their creative pizazz, are spiffing up their public images — and shedding some well-known nonprofit names in the process.

Resources for Child Caring, a 40-year-old St. Paul nonprofit, told its supporters last month that “the RCC brand didn’t feel bold or innovative to many important stakeholders.” It will now be known as “Think Small.”

Think Small?

“There are a few people scratching their heads,” chuckled Barb Yates, executive director of the newly named nonprofit. “But mostly what I hear is positive. People are talking about it and I don’t know if they talked about our other name.”

The story’s print edition featured a chart of nonprofits that had rebranded. Two of the ten brands–Think Small and Headway–were Pollywog-created.

nonprofitnaming_chart-startrib2-19-2012

And here’s the best thing yet. Reporters, who naturally seek to clarify and illuminate, may feel the need to “explain” evocative names. In doing so, they’ll link the brand name to the brand promise.

tailsmag

This Tails Magazine reporter understood that Kindest Cut referred not only to saving animal lives, but also to the kindness of a reduced rate offered to low-income pet-owners. That message was elevated and summarized in a headline tying directly to the brand name.

So when you’re creating a brand name or rebranding your business or organization, remember that reporters are all about the story. A powerful brand name–one that’s unusual, has emotional trigger and alludes to a relevant benefit–is not only more likely to be noticed and remembered by reporters, it also gives them an easy hook.