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A name worth repeating

You need to give yourself a name or category that is memorable and repeatable. 

People can't talk about you if they can't remember your name. People can't talk about you if you do the same thing as everyone else.  (That's branding/positioning lesson #1).

Here's a classic from the Derek Sivers, sent in by Laura Roeder:

Two words, to describe your music, can change your career.

David Feder and his band Salagua-Azul always wanted to get into big music festivals. They had been performing for years, and doing OK, but the agents that book music festivals would never give them a chance.

At a show, a drunk fan said, in between songs, “You know what? You guys are HILLBILLY FLAMENCO!” The crowd laughed, and so did the band. They joked about it again on stage that night, and again on the drive home.

The next day they started to notice that they all STILL remembered those two words, “hillbilly flamenco”. It was funny, but described their music well. The crowd liked it. They decided to use it more often.

They started telling the audience, each time they played, “If you are wondering what kind of music this is, this is hillbilly flamenco!” And the end of the show, they’d ask the audience, “And when you tell your friends what kind of music you heard tonight, what kind of music is it?” The crowd would say, “HILLBILLY FLAMENCO!”

And believe it or not… it worked! People started telling their friends about this band, because it was so easy (and fun) to describe.

And then, one day, they were talking to one of those booking agents who books festivals, and told him, “This music is perfect for your festivals. This is hillbilly flamenco!” The booking agent laughed and said, “Ok – I’ve GOT to hear this!”

Now David Feder and his band are playing the festivals they always dreamed of. He told me his career took a definite turn the day they started using those two words to describe their music.

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Here's what David Feder sounds like:

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  1. Jeff Stern January 6, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Great post! The band name is terrible for American audiences to try to remember, and listening to the music it’s obvious to me that as a band they’d probably not come up with that description of themselves.
    That’s why there’s a couple of unwritten lessons demonstrated here as well:
    – listen to what your customers say about you, and adopt their mantra (e.g. southwest is a cattle call, but cheap)
    – don’t get stuck in what you “can’t” change (company name) but think about what you can change (tagline, descriptors, etc)

  2. Laura Roeder January 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Thanks for the shout-out Andy! I read your book recently so when I saw that post I immediately thought of you saying that the WOM must be easy to repeat and pass on. I had never really been clear on that point before, I knew WOM had to be memorable but did not think about how it’s just as important that it be easy to articulate.

  3. Cristhian Mestre January 8, 2009 at 2:12 am #

    Very interesting and funny. Hey Andy, I follow your blog. Amazing job and great source of inspiration! It’s interesting that just before you posted this topic, I changed my blog and domain name from (impossible to remember) to
    How important is a worthy name.

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