What’s in a name?

Have you ever done a Google search on your name to see if you are famous or who else has your same name? If not, you really should try it.

Likewise, have you ever done a search on your school name to see what all shows up there? If not, you absolutely owe it to yourself and your school to try it. Trade name management has become a much more common topic of conversation over the last year with more and more schools restricting the use of their names. Across the Web, advertisers are reviewing the usage of their trade names in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising done by their agencies and affiliate partners. The January/February issue of Revenue Magazine (www.revenuetoday.com) referenced a study that shows the percentage of companies restricting the use of trademarks or branded terms increased from 21 percent to 39 percent from January to August of 2005.

What is striking to me is how, one side or the other, people seem to be on the debate of this topic. Any time I have been to a conference and heard people speak about it, they seem to be completely set in their ways that either you should or should not allow anyone to use your trade name in PPC advertising. There never seems to be any room for discussion or compromise. It seems like there should be room to evaluate the benefits to the company. Different schools have different levels of brand awareness and brand equity and varying campaign goals. An effective strategy seems to be to take these factors into consideration instead of using a one-size-fits-all model. That is my thought, at least. I would love to hear what other people think and how high you rank on Google.

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