Naming things is hard. Part 1. Choosing a name for your brand

My favourite bread in London comes from the E5 Bakehouse, in E8. They also run the E5 Roasthouse, in E14.

Soho House New York is not in New Yorks SoHo. Soho House Berlin is also not in Soho because there is no Soho in Berlin. Soho House London is in Soho though.

When opening another Soho House in London it was sensibly named after its East London location and called Shoreditch House. A little while later, they opened a Pizza restaurant downstairs and called it Pizza East. It was so successful that they opened another one in Portabello, and so Pizza East, West was born.

In West London, the Westfield Vue cinema is near Shepherds Bush, but the West London Shepherds Bush Vue is not in Westfield. Also, don’t get confused with the West End Vue or the East London Westfield Vue.

While these slightly messy and inconsistent E5 and Soho House examples make my eyes roll a bit, the Vue cinemas vs. Westfield vs. cardinal directions issue causes me genuine confusion whenever I use them. More than once I have arrived at the wrong Vue, and more than once I have tried searching for showtimes online, only to be so confused by the locations that I’ve searched for an Odeon instead.

Lesson 1. Brand names with geographical or cardinal directions are a bad idea. If ever you change location or grow, they become obsolete, a little naff looking for their inaccuracy, or at worse, confusing and potentially detrimental to your customers.

Brand names matter.

Lesson 2. E5, Soho House and Westfield (and Vue) all seem to be doing very well. They’re all growing, and to varying extents, quite desirable brands to be associated with or to have in your area.

Maybe brand names don’t matter.

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