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Old February 27th, 2004, 10:20 PM   #1
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Business name

Here is an interesting one...

I was talking to a friend of mine that does marketing, and he suggested that I change the name of my company from Pyroglyph Films to something using my name, like Couper Productions. The resoning behind this is that supposedly it will build a stronger brand identity in the long run. I know many photographers out there do this. Does anyone have any thoughts or feedback on this?
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Old February 27th, 2004, 10:31 PM   #2
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I've never done this because I think I have probably the most boring and ubiquitous name on the planet. But Couper Productions has a ring to it.

I've always liked inventive names though, and Pyroglyph sounds pretty bad@ss if you don't mind me saying.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 10:59 PM   #3
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Company names are so tough. Kind of depends on what types of people you're trying to reach--whether you want to be "bad@ss" (that's a compliment, right?) or more conventional. Then there's what pleases you most...

Personally, I really like your first and last names together: Dylan Couper Productions. You'd have the ladies taking a second look for sure. :)
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Old February 27th, 2004, 11:29 PM   #4
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Re: Business name

<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : Here is an interesting one...

I was talking to a friend of mine that does marketing, and he suggested that I change the name of my company from Pyroglyph Films to something using my name, like Couper Productions. The resoning behind this is that supposedly it will build a stronger brand identity in the long run. I know many photographers out there do this. Does anyone have any thoughts or feedback on this? -->>>

I don't think Kodak or Apple or IBM or Xerox would agree with your friend's belief unless you are getting jobs by word of mouth. Then you name might do better. But it depends.

Then changing your company name can be expensive. If it is set up properly and you have literature and other pre-marked paper, you will have to replace it. And the telephone directory will be incorrect as will a lot of other bits.

If you are just starting out, no problem. But I kinda like the present name. It just doesn't tell the reader what you do. But neither does a personal name with Productions after it either.
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Old February 28th, 2004, 05:25 AM   #5
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Pyroglygh sounds really cool too, but I think he is saying people feel safer if they have a real name to track down... "Just in case".
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 06:18 AM   #6
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I always thought that self named companies sounded kind of small. Pyroglygh Films could be a huge wide ranging media production company or just you and an assistant. It has room to grow into. A self named company is going to sound like some guy that bought a camera and a computer.

I guess that it depends on who your audience is. Someone who needs their wedding shot might feel more comfortable with a smaller more personable production company, whereas corporate clients might be looking for a more polished, professional vendor.
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 06:43 AM   #7
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For many years as a still photog I was self named and frankly it never kept me from getting any kind of work. Weddings, portraits, sports,news, fashion, product...Then in 83 when I got into video I stayed with it until about '90 when I decided to split my company. I was self named for the corporate work side and had another name for the weddings. Now I'm slowly combining and going back to self named for everything. After discussions with my board of advisors, my lawyer, accountant,wife, children, grandchildren (frankly the smartest of the bunch at 5 years and 8 months) and finally my dog (also extrememly smart-if I could just teach her to edit) I have just decided that for me and my business it was the best thing to do. Easier for paperwork,easier for taxes, easier for everything and at this time I'm trying to make things easier. It's easier to drop the name of the wedding company than my own and since my wife calls me by my name (finally after 35 years) I'd hate to drop it and confuse her :-O
I've never had a problem with perceptions of large or small because of name, at least not to my knowledge but if there have been jobs lost because I sounded small, so be it.
The creative arts have provided a wonderful living for me and my family for 32 years, I've been allowed to be my own boss for those years and I've had the priviledge of doing things that I generally love to do, so if any one passed on me because my name didn't sound big, all I can say is RASPBERRIES TO THEM!!!!!!!
Don (I tried to make my name bigger but couldn't) ;-)
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 09:26 AM   #8
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The first thing you need to decide is what you want your comapny to look like in 10 years.

Do you want it to be a small, one man shop where people know they will work with you directly and you'll provide that one on one connection? Then naming the business after yourself is probably a good idea.


Or, is your plan to build the business so that someday it's larger than you personally with many employes? Then maybe another, not as personal to you, name would be appropriate.
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 09:44 AM   #9
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i think most photographers use their name in their business name since most are indeed independant and do not belong to any "productions" company. I think "Couper Photography" sound very classy and professional. Its got a nice ring to it. I was recently talking to my friend about the name of our pretend film production company (who doesn't have one?) and we went from Traversalini Films (a mixture of both our last names) to Motus Pictures (motus= motion/ movement in latin). I think in the long run, the latter sounds more professional and more practical in case we do decide to make it a business. Best of luck to you!

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Old March 2nd, 2004, 12:42 PM   #10
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Dylan,

For what it's worth, Pyroglyph Films never stuck in my head and I've looked at your website several times.

Couper Productions stuck in my head right away, and it's still rolling around in there.
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 12:18 AM   #11
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Well, for photographers, I think the main reason they use their own names, is because part of the price is their name. It's like Picaso... you aren't paying for his paintings, you are paying for his name. Or designer clothing...

I know for a Family photo, we had done about five years ago, that's where we spent the money. Our photographer has been in the business for over 45 years, he has won numerous national awards. We paid 6,000 dollars for a picture that I can have printed at my photolab for about 500.

What are you really paying for? Your paying for that little 2 inch signature on the bottom corner of the picture. It's like a designer name, a status symbol, a warranty. It makes feel good to know that you have, what many people would agree, a prime piece of work.

Ken Whitmire, is the photographer. Like I said he has won many national awards. He has trained many high level photographers in the NorthWest. His son is a premiere concert photographer.

He is great, but he is also a great salesman. That is how he has become successful. There are many people out there that know how to do a good job. But not many that know how to turn their name into a money machine.

Using your name helps establish yourself. You get people to trust you, you aren't hiding behind something. Once you gain some street credit, your name becomes known, and people look for it. At that point changing the name of your business would be sucide. Instead of changing your name to some generic cold name you keep your name, and up the price. Look at Valentino, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger....

Now, you probably do just as good of a job at building your company with a distant name, but, it will probably take more work to gain initial trust. As, people love to associate a face with a name. Also, a big selling point, when you meet with Clients, you can say, "Hello, I'm Dylan Couper, of Couper ______." People think, "WOW! The owner is talking to little ol' me, I feel special"

One thing that I've noticed with Ken's work, is it is repetitive. He sticks to what gets him the sale. He has definate poses and locations he likes to use all around the Northwest. Our photo was taken 300 miles away from his studio, I've since seen nearly a dozen more of his photos in the EXACT location... and I don't follow every piece of his work. This might sound boring, but business-wise it is great. People associate your quality with your past work, if you make their project look like your past work. They instantly know it's quality. There will always be a few people that come to you and want something new and different, this is when you experiment. If it turns out great, copy it also, and make it part of your routine, if it fails, burn it. :)

Now, you say that you don't want to be a one man show in the future. You know, Ken did this too. That's partially why I'm using him as an example. His studio migrated from "Whitmire" to "Whitmire and Associates." Now after he finds and trains photographers, he has them work for him, untill they decide that they can branch off. He charges the same for their work, as his. He is able to make good money, just because his name is on it.

So in short, it all comes down to establishing a "brand" name. Make it not just known, but known for quailty, or present quality with your name.

I'd suggest something with a different spin on it, if you change your company name. I know I see So and So PRODUCTIONS everywhere, I see Peanut and Butter Films, EVERYWHERE! A name that comes to mind right away for you, would be "Couper Cinematography" to me, it instantly sounds classy. It sounds prestigious. If I was looking at a list of names.
Like:
Sam's Production
Nate's Video Service
Couper Cinematography
Jack's Video Production
Julies Minute Movie

Couper Cinematography would be my first choice.

When it comes down to it, you aren't selling to your peers, you are selling to the public. If there is one thing I've learned in my short life, it is THE PUBLIC IS STUPID! You have to appeal to their basic senses, needs, desires. People desire the best. Bigger is better, to the public. That goes for words too. If you can turn a 7 word sentance into a short story, you're off to a good start. ;)

Sorry for the long, wandering post but I feel it will help you out.
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 09:19 AM   #12
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Michael and Jon have it right. You need to put a lot of thought into the name. Photography is frequently a personal endeavour used for weddings, graduations, etc. So hiring a 'personal' company with someone's own name on it is very, uh, personal. That's why using your name would be more appropriate.

The other thing to think about is how forgettable is the name. I won't remember Polygrph (see, I already forgot) after I post this. How will I remember it weeks later when I tell my friends? Even spelling your last name has a little bump to it since it's with a 'u' but if I looked for Cooper (not Couper) in the yellow pages, I'd probably find it but maybe not the white pages.

You might even consider making it Cooper with the 'u'.

If you call it 'Cinematography' or 'Productions' you won't be on anyone's list for weddings. They only hire 'Photographers'. Doesn't matter if you do that. You don't call yourself a photography company so, therefore, you're not.

There used to be a "Polygram Studios" in Hollywood. I don't know if they're still around.
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 02:09 PM   #13
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Well, you guys have given me a lot to hink about, thats for sure!

I don't think I'll be doing any professional photography in the long run. Video/film is my thing. I understand why photographers name their business after themselves, but I rarely see any video production companies named after people.

I'll give it some more though.
My current consideration is to split my video production comany up into Couper Productions for video production and Pyroglyph Films for indie film production. I don't think the PF name states nearly as much brand identity as CP does. ALthough it is one bad assed name. :)
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 02:52 PM   #14
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As I said earlier I'm reconsolidating everything back under a one name unbrella Don Bloom Video Services. It's what I had before and never gave it up, my corporate work all ran under that and my wedding work under a different name. Not any more.
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 03:44 PM   #15
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But for me the inde production stuff isn't really a business (yet, until I make it big :) Best case scenario, I move to feature film production and stick with PF. If that doesn't play out (hey I'm realistic) then I fall back to working the video production, with the CP name brand. In the long run, it's going to be one or the other, not both.
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