How Comma Bistro Got Its Name
When I decided to start my own freelance writing and content strategy business, I knew I had to come up with a name that would help separate me from the pack. But I didn’t realize how tough it would be to find something interesting and original—that I actually liked. Every time I’d think of a possibility, I’d jump online only to discover someone else had already come up with the same idea—and had their website up and running in fine form.
I’ve been through corporate rebranding, and it’s not an easy task, even when you have a fantastic agency feeding you cool ideas for what to name your company. You think you’ll know the perfect name when you hear it, and your colleagues will love it, too. But in my experience, that’s rarely the case. Particularly when you have many people weighing in, every word brings with it positive and negative associations for the individuals giving their reactions. Some people hate the very thing others love. And after something sits with you for a few days, and you roll it around in your mind, its connotations will likely start to change for you as well. You may like it more. Or less. And that doesn’t even get into other important facets such as whether the domain, social media handles, and trademark are available. And then there’s the search to determine if an unusual word means something completely inappropriate in another country or language where you do business.
But I didn’t have an agency this time around; it was just me making the final decision. So I made endless lists of words and concepts about writing and marketing that might resonate with my audience. But I missed having input from others, so I brainstormed with a friend. I asked my husband. I got my kids to contribute some ideas. But nothing was quite right. Late one night I started thinking about writing and punctuation, and finally had an idea: Comma Bistro. I liked commas, and I liked bistros (more about why here). I did a quick Google search to see if it was already in use, and it looked pretty safe. Check. Amazingly, the web domain was also available, so I bought it on the spot. Check. The next day I ran it by a few people whose opinions I trusted. No check; I got a reactions like “Huh,” and “That’s different.” I got a little worried.
So I threw my two finalists by a friend, who also happens to be a branding guru. She didn’t tell me which one she liked or didn’t like. She said, “Let me turn this back around on you. What do YOU like?” Well, I liked Comma Bistro. She said, “Okay, then there you have it. This brand is as much about you as what you’re offering, and it has to reflect that. YOU have to love it and feel passionate about it to inspire your customers.” Sage advice. I hadn’t thought of my business as being such a personal expression of myself, but turns out it’s true.
Comma Bistro was born.