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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Mediation Practice Needs A Business Name
Posted by Anonymous on
10/17/2010 at 1:24 PM ET
I need a name for my mediation and transition planning business. My competitors all combine words such as resolution, solution, mediation... and in the end, none seem to stand out. I do not want to use my name as it is not common enough to spell. I don't mind using "group" or "center" in the name but i'm not married to that. I want something easy to spell, remember and simple. For example, Apple Mediation Group. Apple is simple, however, I'd love that word to be somewhat symbolic with the mediation process. I will be focusing on divorce mediation if that helps.
Thanks so much!
10/17/2010 at 2:00 PM
Balance Mediation Group
Even Steven Mediation Group
Harmony Mediation Group
Fairway Mediation Group
10/17/2010 at 2:13 PM
We are just finishing up a marketing project for a divorce mediator, so we're very aware of the issues you're facing. Do you have a business or marketing plan? Since you don't already have a name, you might want to consider putting things in proper order, starting with the business and marketing plans.
If you're open to using outside expertise on this, we could probably do it more easily and quickly than most, since we've been immersed in this space for a few months now.
If you want to talk, let me know via email (in my profile). Where are you located?
10/17/2010 at 3:42 PM
Who is your target market? Where are they located? Why specifically would they hire YOU (and not a competitor of yours')? Are you looking for individuals or companies to hire you?
These questions (and more) are the basis of creating a business/marketing plan. And these are the questions that would be helpful to know before coming up with names that might work for your prospective clients.
10/17/2010 at 5:54 PM
My target market is couples 35-55 in a metropolitan, affluent area. I work with clients who are looking for a low-cost alternative to using an attorney/litigation for their divorce process (clients are encouraged to consult with individual attorneys during the process but only need to spend 1-3 hours time). Another reason clients utilize mediation is to maintain full control of the decisions they need to make concerning their assets and children. Last, couples who successfully resolve issues through mediation tend to have a better co-parenting relationship than those who litigate which consequently benefits their children. I have a finance background which clients like because money is a major concern. I also have been trained as a divorce mediator and have had great success mediating couples through issues concerning divorce matters.
10/18/2010 at 7:15 AM
Word such as"Apple" have no relevance to "divorce." What you want the business name to do is tell people the service(s) you offer...not some abstract word that lacks all relevance. Here's one for ya...
Divorce Mediation Specialists
Just look at it. It's a name that does and says it all. Does it lack "glamour?" Probably. Does it to the job that needs doing? Certainly. Good luck...
10/18/2010 at 9:11 AM
No Strangers To Divorce
A Modest Divorce
10/18/2010 at 12:14 PM
Phil: I see your point on using a word such as Apple... my question is there are so many variables of the name with words such as mediation, group, center, specialists, resolution and solution. Every biz here just seems to rearrange the words as not to copy someone else. Is that what you are suggesting i do as well? I was just thinking even if I put a word and that icon (I'll use Apple again as an example... I'm not thinking of using it.) Apple Divorce Mediation Specialists. Then people might remember it better seeing the apple on the card and the word. I have no idea as I'm FAR from a marketing specialist! That's why I'm on this site. (LOVE this site!!)
Steve: had mentioned Fairway which is interesting to me.
We also do transition planning to help the individual make the necessary changes due to the separation. (budgeting, career planning, co-parenting plans, etc.) But the mediation piece is more lucrative.
Thanks so much... this is absolutely helping me a lot. I love what everyone has to say! Thanks Jay and mgoodman, too.
10/18/2010 at 12:30 PM
I'm thinking of some sort of symbol or icon that represents positive change, balance and/or transition and add that to
X Divorce Specialist
Then perhaps the tagline saying something about:
Mediation and Transition Planning
This forum is really helping me sort out my thoughts.
10/18/2010 at 7:32 PM
Inconvenient Truths Mediation
Core Solutions & Resolutions Planning
10/19/2010 at 8:12 PM
You still haven't answered Jay's question about why someone might hire you instead of another divorce mediator.
It's really important to have a compelling positioning platform -- the thing that makes you different from, and better than, your competition for satisfying the unique needs of your target audience.
If you try to do it with puffery, you'll come across as not having a legitimate/real point of difference. You need to find the market niche where you have a compelling advantage and use that.
And once we have that unique positioning statement, the name will probably suggest itself. Or you can call yourself [Cityname] Divorce Mediation, and then include your positioning benefit in the tagline.
10/19/2010 at 8:34 PM
I'm reasonably priced. I am a trained mediator who is skilled at effectively mediating all of the important issues in less sessions. I also have a strong background in finance. Thus is appealing to clients as money is always a major concern. Last, I'm a parent and have experienced first hand the divorce process.
10/19/2010 at 8:44 PM
Those are all features, medii-8. What's the unique benefit for your prospective clients?
Instead of telling us about YOU, tell us about the pressing need your target audience has that you are uniquely able to satisfy.
I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm trying to lead you to a meaningful positioning platform that will help us come up with a name that will work for you.
10/19/2010 at 9:33 PM
Re: “Fairway” as brand name, or its extended “Fairway Mediation Group”.
I do agree that for small businesses it is generally better to use a name that is either descriptive or at minimum has a tone that will convey a brand’s benefits. The word “fair” reflects a primary benefit of mediation services. Therefore, it’s better than “American” or “Empire” or any such name that could be used by most anyone in most any market segment.
Descriptive names provide instant clarity and some benefits in online search (however, a good slogan and tagging content with “key word phrases” can also produce great results online) And descriptive brand names run the risk of just blending into the competitive landscape, or being difficult to defend as trademarks.
On balance though, it is probably best to be on the safe side, choose a name (and a slogan) that says who you are. For every Nike, Google, Yahoo successful case study, there are hundreds of creative original brand names that never really took off.
Best of luck.
10/19/2010 at 9:39 PM
FWIW, Fairway Divorce Solutions is an existing franchise operation:
10/19/2010 at 10:16 PM
Thanks to Michael for an example that confirms we're heading in the right direction. Although my point isn't to use a name with the word "fair" in it. The point is to find a word that ... "at minimum has a tone that will convey a brand’s benefits".
Turning to the thesaurus, maybe ...
PS - As Michael and others frequently point out, it is always best to have a creative brief or at least know the answers to the questions in a briefing process.
10/19/2010 at 10:18 PM
Not familiar enough with the concept. Mediation & Divorce in the same sentence seems odd to me. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in that position so for me you'd need a great tagline to convince me to pay attention.
Olive Branch Mediation?
10/19/2010 at 11:30 PM
Michael has provided you with a great suggestion ... "Olive Branch Mediation" provides perfect imagery and graphic design opportunity.
10/20/2010 at 2:47 AM
Yes, Olive Branch Mediation is a great name.
You could also start up a separate, sister-practice for when things don't work out with the olive-branch treatment: - "The Pits Divorces"!
10/20/2010 at 8:08 AM
The problem with "olive branch" is that it suggests peace and harmony, which isn't exactly what your target audience is seeking. In some many cases they're hostile and have little interest in peace and harmony. What they want is an affordable way to divorce. For those folks, "olive branch" is not the right symbol.
I would think that scales of justice would be a better symbol, if it's symbols we're after.
I'm not pushing scales of justice. I'm simply offering a perspective that says "olive branch" isn't exactly what you want as a metaphor for what you do, or for the most important benefit your target audience seeks.
Have you interviewed a few of your clients to see what words they use when explaining why they chose mediation (instead of litigation), and why they selected you as their mediator (instead of another mediator)? That might be a good place to start.
10/20/2010 at 4:09 PM
Couples who choose mediation are doing so primarily to retain control of the outcome (rather than have it decided by a judge or battled out through attorneys) and to divorce amicably, mainly for the sake of the children. Yes, couples argue but they work it out in mediation by compromising and try to understand the other's point of view. Saving money is a secondary reason couples mediate as opposed to hiring attorneys. With this said, I think Olive Branch is a cool idea.
I also offer transition planning for someone facing separation or divorce and needs help with budgeting, career planning and other personal areas that become disrupted.
10/20/2010 at 4:43 PM
Your explanation helps. In an earlier post your first point was that you "... work with clients who are looking for a low-cost alternative to using an attorney/litigation for their divorce process." That's why I picked up on it.
As a secondary point, you said, "Another reason clients utilize mediation is to maintain full control of the decisions they need to make ..."
Now I hear you saying it's the other way around, and that puts a different perspective on the main benefit you offer.
I think it's really, really important that you be clear (in your own thinking and with us, if we're going to help you sort this out). Articulating your unique positioning benefit is at the core of marketing, and that's what should be driving the naming process.
P.S. Cool idea or not, "olive branch" has no relation whatsoever to maintaining control of the divorce process or outcome. Let's get the strategy right before we trip over ourselves with metaphors. (Oops! I did it!)
10/20/2010 at 7:42 PM
I see your point. I would say there are two major reasons people head to mediation. One being a low-cost alternative for divorce and the other reason being to retain control and seek compromise. I think both are equally compelling with money perhaps being a big draw with the current economic state.
It's an emotional process and considered to be one of the hardest events to go through. It's a valuable resource to have someone guide you through the process and help generate ideas for each unique situation that works for everyone involved.
10/20/2010 at 9:52 PM
If those are really equal motivators, then you should go with the one that does NOT refer to price. The price will speak for itself.
But if price IS the main driver, even if it's just 52/48, then that should be the primary positioning benefit -- especially in this case, where the cost of a divorce is so much greater when you have two lawyers and lots of litigation, rather than a single mediator and high motivation to reach a compromise agreement.
For your business, you are better served having a single positioning benefit than trying to communicate two different benefits. Multiple benefits will just confuse your target audience and they'll miss both of them.
That's why it is so important to be sure you have the right one and why smart marketers conduct market research among the target audience to tease these kinds of things out.
Saying they're equal is a kind of cop-out. It means YOU see them both as equally important, but that you [probably] don't know exactly how your target audience sees them. It's very rare for two different benefits to split 50/50 in importance in legitimate quantitative research.
And if they really ARE equally important to your target audience, pick the one that doesn't refer to price, because the price will be there and speak for itself in the end.
10/21/2010 at 4:25 AM
Very interesting discussion thread and great advice from mgoodman.
It's not quite mediation, but I've done some work recently for solicitors specializing in family law. Positioning work for tag lines revealed that key motivators/benefits for clients included protection (to make sure I get a fair deal, and also from the hurt/anxiety I am feeling), maintaining positive relations with children (and family friends), and being represented by someone tough enough to give you an 'unfair' advantage and ensure you 'win' what is important to you (an element of good-cop/bad-cop - we may want to project 'fair' and 'equality', but deep down we all look out for #1).
One firm I know uses a bulldog as their mascot (very successfully) representing a love-able family pet that is loyal and tough enough to protect you (target male skew).
Some ad taglines I've used include things like "Family Matters", "Big on Family", and "protect those you love the most" (with images of happy adult, interacting with kid/s in front of nice home). They may not be business names, but the underlying positionings/motivators/benefits may help get your creative juices flowing.
Do you feel people look for the same things from mediation?
I imagine they want the same underlying benefits.
A unique and memorable benefits related name will provide you the ability to use different taglines depending on the situation and life-cycle. To begin with, you could use a functional service driven tag highlighting 'mediation'.
Finally, the biggest problem with name generation is subjectivity. You can go round and round and never be completely happy with any names. One technique I use when generating names for clients is to create a scoring grid outlining what you want the name to achieve. One of these can be how much you like the name, the rest will be more objective.
Wow... seems I had more to say than I first thought ;) Hope it helps the process.
10/21/2010 at 12:03 PM
I believe most people want to move on, not dwell on the other party but themselves and their future -hence my earlier Fork In The Road suggestion.
This does not compromise who gets what % but acknowledges that each has a direction or path to follow. They are parting ways.
10/22/2010 at 12:10 AM
What about using the word headway?
10/22/2010 at 3:30 AM
I don't get it. What is "headway" supposed to communicate?
Let's start with what you're trying to communicate and THEN find words, phrases and metaphors that accomplish that communication objective.
Otherwise we'll be force-fitting every word in the dictionary into an ill-defined set of criteria, and we'll never know if we're on the right track.
What words do your target audience use when they describe/explain the benefit they're seeking?
10/22/2010 at 12:15 PM
According to your descriptions, here are my quick name ideas:
1) Divorce Authority
2) Divorce Umpire Group
3) Divorce Go-Between Team
And for a tagline, if needed, something like this:
- As easy as ABC
My personal favorite is:
...as easy as ABC
P.S. So many ideas on the topic! Hope you find one for you.
10/22/2010 at 1:00 PM
mgoodman, you make me smile when i read your responses. so you're saying you don't like headway? ha ha.
ok... i called a few former clients and asked. Interesting... cost was the first thing they said but when i asked if it was the most important they said no.
"It gave me an opportunity to provide communication and closure on a major life-changing, emotional event."
10/22/2010 at 1:39 PM
I think if your business name is mostly for the benefit of prospective clients, you probably need to focus primarily on the fact that mediation is so much less expensive than a traditional litigated divorce.
That was the first benefit your clients mentioned, and it was the first thing you mentioned right up-front. That's probably a telling point.
I'm not suggesting you don't have other benefits that ultimately prove more important, only that they are not as likely to be most meaningful to a new client, or to a prospect who sees your name for the first time and decides to follow-up with you (or not).
So keep in mind the REASON you are selecting a name and what the criteria are for picking the name you'll use as your primary business identity.
10/22/2010 at 1:54 PM
Yes... if mediation was MORE expensive than using a traditional attorney for the entire process, people probably wouldn't do it. I think money savings draws prospective clients in the door.
A less expensive alternative for couples facing divorce offering communication, control and closure.
(not sure about the word "offering")
Momentum Mediation & Transition Planning. That just popped into my head. No, it has nothing to do with the statement above.
10/22/2010 at 4:17 PM
Now I think you're getting close.
One of the things we thought about in our other project is that if a couple uses mediation instead of lawyers and litigation, they can save enough to buy each party a new car!
That's a lot of motivation, I would think.
10/22/2010 at 4:29 PM
So how about a name like [CityName] Mediation & Transition Center? Then add your tagline, or one close to it.
[CityName] Mediation & Transition Center
An affordable alternative for couples facing divorce
[CityName] Divorce Mediation Center
An affordable alternative ... with improved communication, control and closure
a little long, but the right direction
10/22/2010 at 4:39 PM
I like that... I didn't want to pigeon hole myself into a specific area/city in case I wanted to go virtual, move or expand.
With that said I could use "California Mediation and Transition Center". I googled and the only one using a version of that is Northern California Mediation Center. Do those sound too similar?
Or take out California and replace with ???????
10/22/2010 at 6:39 PM
Where are you in California? You can use a county name, or a general reference/landmark (e.g., Pacific Coast, Big Sur, Half Moon Bay, Valley, Canyon, Yosemite, Wilshire, etc.).
My inclination would be to pick the best name for now and worry about whether/how to change it if/when you move to Alaska (or wherever). It's unlikely that this kind of hands-on service will ever go virtual in a big way, and personal service businesses like yours don't usually expand using the same name. (What makes your business work is YOU, not some software or system/product. How many hours can you work in a week?)
That's my reaction anyway.
10/22/2010 at 7:52 PM
I am in Marin. Bay Area is another idea. I prefer to work with clients in Marin but eventually might move to San Francisco (20 minutes away) so I don't think I want to exclude that area.
10/25/2010 at 8:32 AM
Thank you to everyone!!!!
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