Why your name should NOT be front of the alphabet


This subject just will not go away, so we thought it appropriate to spell out why it is no longer good marketing advice to think that your name should start with a letter that is early in the alphabet. We know this is a natural tendency, because your teachers always called your names in alphabetical order, and because the printed phone book is in alphabetical order and the printed yellow pages are in alphabetical order.

But where will your prospects and customers find your name and your product or service names? If your answer to this question is that they still find you at midnight by pulling out the printed yellow pages, because you are an emergency locksmith or plumber, then that might be appropriate. And even then, you are assuming that they are not distracted by your neighbor’s big ad with the funny graphics and cool logo!

How biased is a Google or Yahoo search to the beginning of the alphabet? Search on Adam Jones and then search on Zeta Jones and time the searches and count your own time and keystrokes. There is no difference.

Search on a product category: Italian Shoes Dallas. Are the results returned in alphabetical order? Of course not. Even the keyword ads are not in alphabetical order. And online searches that do first prompt you for a starting letter of the alphabet are so difficult to use. Leave that for employee or other people phone directories and concentrate on a wider name search.

So what starting letters are best for your company name? It really doesn’t matter. Instead, you may want to see how you can get a more unique and memorable name. If you look in a big English dictionary, there are far fewer words starting with K, Q, X, Y, Z, than with most other letters. So historically there have been less names starting with these consonants. Which is great for uniqueness, not to mention that these are all sharper sounding consonants, greatly helping customer recall. In fact, namers call these the sticky consonants, and graphics designers always like their nice, sharp, shapes too.

Unfortunately, this means you may have to stretch your brain cells a little more, as there are not as many root words to work from! But that is good. Most words in the dictionary are taken anyway, unless you tweak them or combine them. Remember Xerox, Kinkos, Google, Verizon and Starbucks are not even in the dictionary, let alone up front.

PS If you really still want to be front of the alphabet, start your name with a number. Computers sort 1, 2, 3… ahead of A, B, C…..! :


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