On a recent episode of The Profit (@TheProfitCNBC) Markus Lemonis (@MarcusLemonis) forced a company name on the founder without consultation or consideration to her ethnic heritage. This is considered a huge “No, No” by the Brandings Business Naming Team (@Brandings_)!
Let’s back the story up a little bit. Recently on an episode of The Profit, entitled My Big Fat Greek Gyro (Episode 217) a show we generally love we must say, Markus Lemonis helped a struggling Greek Restaurant find their feet and become profitable. One of the biggest problems the company was facing was that they were using a name that they couldn’t.
Now, the naming team at Brandings.com has seen this many times before, a company grows and expands just to realize that they can’t use their name due to trademark infringement. It happens all the time.
What happens next both bothered and surprised us.
Mr. Lemonis has his team of professionals develop a new name for the Greek restaurant without consulting the founder of the company or any other stakeholders in the business. If they had they would have found out that the founder not only hated the business name, she found insulting to her Greek heritage.
Mr. Lemonis, who is Greek himself and his development team created the new business name “The Simple Greek.” When the founder express her opinions Mr. Lemonis simply replied “trust the process, it’s a great name” and “I’m Greek and I don’t find it offensive.”
We understand that Mr. Lemonis is not only Greek himself and is now the largest shareholder in the company but the fact that he pushed his new name on the founder without input and then forced a business name on her, which she found offensive to her heritage is outrages!
We were speechless. The flurry of phone calls between our team members after we all saw that, we may single handedly raised the stock in AT&T.
Unless something happened off camera which we weren’t privy to, we would NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER (we think we’ve made the point) force an owner or founder to stick with a business name they weren’t happy with, let alone one that they found offensive to their nationality identity.
With that said, Brandings agrees with her; “The Simple Greek,” is offensive. You’re almost saying that Greeks are simple and that couldn’t be further from the truth (they invented Democracy, the Screw, Bronze casting and even the Watermill if I’m not mistaken!).
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How could he possible expect her to walk through the door each day with her head held high, below a sign she finds offensive? It’s demoralizing and does not instill trust nor a desire to work all of which will be picked up by the customers.
At Brandings.com, we believe “the process” for great name development comes from intense collaboration and input from key internal and external stakeholders. Great business names emanate from a firm’s strategic mission, goals and objectives. It should capture the “soul” and unique personality of the firm.
It’s should not be didactically thrust upon a firm, and certainly not forced on an entrepreneur that finds it offensive. That’s not a “process,” that’s totalitarian arrogance. So a big thumbs down on that one Mr. Lemonis (but we can’t wait for the new season!).