The following is an edited transcript of my video, Creative Trademarks Are Alive and Well on Main Streets in America.
One summer tradition that my family and I really enjoy is a great road trip to explore someplace new, especially smaller towns up and down the East Coast, where I’ve lived for my whole life. I’ve seen many of the small towns and college towns, but I’m always looking to explore new ones. Last summer, we had a great opportunity to go visit friends on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for a day and we went to Falmouth, Massachusetts. I was invigorated and amazed by the wonderful small businesses on the three or four blocks of the Main Street in Falmouth. There were at least 10 creative, wonderful brand names.
Of course, I made the family stop and let me take pictures of them. In fact, I sent them off to go down to the beach ahead of me so I could keep taking pictures and walking around the small town. If you listen to some of the chatter online and other places, some people argue that we’re running out of trademarks or that it’s really hard to find a creative, bold, outstanding brand name. There’s no doubt that it’s not easy to come up with a creative name, but we are not running out of trademarks.
In Falmouth, for example, there was a clothing and home boutique called Soft As A Grape. I’m not even sure what that phrase means, but I’ve certainly never heard of another business using that phrase and it caught my attention. There was a local shop with beach and fishing apparel called Keep It Reel, R-E-E-L, playing off of fishing and being on the ocean, and their logo was a spinning reel from a fishing rod.
Green Eyed Daisy. I know that there’s a wonderful song called Green Eyed Daisy from the ’70s, and here was a whimsical beach shop called Green Eyed Daisy, a bold, unique, distinctive name. If somebody says, “Where’d you get this?” “I got it at the Green Eyed Daisy.” There’s no mistaking where you got it – it’s easy to look up. It’s easy to find. There was a bookstore called Eight Cousins Books. I didn’t get a chance to go inside and learn more about it, but I immediately wanted to know more. Why did they choose the eight cousins? I assume it has something to do with a family business. Who knows where the name Eight Cousins came from, but it certainly is distinctive and caught my attention.
There two names that stood out even more than all the rest. One of them was Board Stiff for a surf and skate shop: a play on words, and a creative, playful, wonderful name. There was a restaurant called The Gilded Oyster: the name tells you it’s a seafood and oyster place, but because they use the word gilded, which is not common, it conveys a message that I assume this is not a casual place. It makes it sound unique and stand apart from all the other seafood places, many of which had common beach town restaurant names.
Another restaurant name that stood out as creative and playful was Pickle Jar Kitchen,, that just sounded like a fun place. Their logo had a jar with a pickle and a pickled carrot in it. The Salty Florist – This really got me wondering, ‘salty’ because you’re right on the ocean, the salty beach water – or ‘salty’ like, is the owner or proprietor of the shop a character who was a little rough around the edges and salty? I’m certainly imagining that both meanings could apply as a double entendre; I think it’s a great name.
All of these names, creative, standout, distinctive, make people want to learn more about the business, go in, check them out and are memorable. When you’re building a brand, you want to be memorable. To be memorable, you want to be bold. If you’re bold and you’re creative, you have a lot better chance of protecting that brand name.