Creating Your Brand, What’s in a Name?

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Cathy Tripiciano
 Founder, Maple Seed Creative

A common question freelancers ponder is “What should I call my business?” The pressure can feel immediate. “I need to get a website, create my social accounts and make it official on the paperwork. I need a name!” Don’t make the mistake I first did with giving in to the pressure and coming up with a name. If you have a great name that is easily spelled and pronounced maybe it’s as simple as using your name. Well, my last name is not easy to spell. Tripiciano is often confused for a grove of orange trees. I could have used my maiden name of Stevens but I wanted a company name. It all began when my client needed to list me on an award submission, I needed a company name. We brainstormed during a quick phone call and came up with a name. Within a half an hour I had a website, email address and soon after a lingering doubt. The next day I went to the county court house and made it official. I had a business. I was still acting as a freelancer but I was a business in name. I didn’t like the name. My dislike grew over time. Finally I decided I wanted a new name. But what about my emails? Turns out a quick email to my contacts saying I had a new email was not as awful as I thought it would be. People change companies and firms all of the time so no one batted an eye. Once I had a name my brand took shape and I was able to grow. Ahh, a seed metaphor! Not quite. Having a name that means something to you will also help you find what is meaningful in what you do. It will allow you to find focus and your brand voice.

So, how and why did I come up with Maple Seed Creative? I recently told a friend and peer my story and she suggested I share it. Considering that she is a professional writer and editor I decided to take her advice. 

I decided to go with Maple Seed Creative because it meant something to me. That’s it. That is the advice I see over and over again. Choose a name that means something to you. Something that will also reflect what you do. 

When I was a child my Grandfather planted a maple tree in our front yard. He died when I was 8 years old. After he died I would climb as far as I could so I could talk to him. I thought the higher I went the closer I’d be to heaven. Our “conversations” were private and sacred to me. I’d take my books and read in that tree for hours. When I’d “run away from home” I’d pack a bag and go to “my” tree. The tree was at the end of our driveway and close to the road. The type of country road that cars sped down. The type of country road that twists and turns under a canopy of trees. My mother could see me from the window, it was still the days when kids could play outside out of view and were considered safe in their own yards. When I was 12 there was a summer storm. The maple tree was struck by lightning and it split in half. One half charred yet still standing and the other lay across our driveway. I could no longer sit in the tree and read. My mother cried. I cried. I realize now as an adult at a deeper level that the maple tree represented my grandfather to both of us. That summer was an end of innocence. A girl my age, with my same hair color and cut, a girl who looked a lot like me was taken from a similar nearby country road as she road her bike. It was terrible. I was confused and yet innocent to what had happened. I remember my mother remarking about how I would spend hours outside, many in that tree by the road. She always said the lightning was my grandfather protecting me. As a mother myself now I can only imagine the thoughts of worry that went through her mind. How as she was in the house it could have been so easy for me to have been taken from that tree at the end of the driveway while she considered me safe. Loss of innocence and maybe even what we now call mommy guilt. The tree grew strong again and still stands. 

When my grandfather died we started finding maple seeds in places that defied explanation. Out of season it didn’t matter. If it was a major life event we found a seed. My first day running a camera as an intern at at television station, there was a maple seed laying on my camera pedestal. We always said it was him. In 2016 my mom left us unexpectedly.  Now we find maple seeds constantly from her. When I cleaned out my freezer to prep for my first Thanksgiving without her, I talked to “her”  in my kitchen. I then opened the freezer door and there in the middle of the freshly cleaned out freezer was a maple seed. Instead of a it being something that was only acknowledged by my mom and myself it has now expanded to my entire family. As The Beatles sang “When I find myself in times of trouble” there is my maple seed. 

A maple seed represents something more to me than spring time and growth. It represents the unwavering support and encouragement that my mother gave to me and I believe still does.

There you have it, Maple Seed Creative. I took the advice I had read over and over again. Your company name should incorporate something personally meaningful and describe what you do. In my case, Content Creation and Creative Services. Need help focusing on your branding or creative direction? Send me an email and set up a consultation.

 

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