Punctuation: A Dose of Our Own Medicine

Rebrands are sufficiently terrifying on their own, but they are particularly terrifying when:

  • Each member of your audience does a dozen of them a year and will certainly have an opinion on yours.
  • You're trying to get ahead of the deliverability challenges when an email is sent to tens of thousands of recipients every week.

So I explained earlier that last week was the final email you'd receive from that domain, and hundreds of you were kind enough to send a note to the new email address to convince Google that we were not frauds. Thank you so much, and if you find it in your fine hearts to hit "reply" to this one, too, that's the last we'll ask of you in that regard, but it does indeed help with deliverability.

Some History

I founded and ran a marketing firm (Utílis Corp) for about six years, starting in 1988, and then launched this consulting practice in March, 1994. The first website was served with FileMaker Pro, and it was hosted from our living room in Nashville on a T-1 line. The rack had an email server, a DNS server, and a web server. Here's what the home page of that site looked like.

Early Punctuation Home Page

This advisory firm was first called ReCourses, Inc., and it was a really stupid error on my part. I could have registered virtually any domain name I wanted, but I got cute with a Latin derivative that I was really proud of. And then, to make it worse, all the Google Alerts were just spelling errors for "resources" so I was inundated with garbage. ReCourses is still our legal name, but that's it.

Six years ago, in 2017, I was finally tired enough of the name that I just gave up and admitted that the consulting practice was really just me anyway. I had the davidcbaker.com domain, so it was an easy transition. By the way, the use of my middle initial is not because I'm full of myself but to help with SEO, which it does.

Why Now

Well, a few years ago, Jonathan, our oldest son, was ready to cut his time back at the brewery and distillery he co-founded (Atlanta x2, Birmingham, Nashville, Charlotte, and Knoxville on the way) more than a decade earlier and suddenly he had some time...and I really needed his help. He has a background in consulting and research and marketing and really knows his stuff. The advisory work was near overwhelming, and I needed someone to take over the M/A practice...as well as lead special projects, like our events, some new IP we are developing, and this rebrand. So he joined part-time and then for the last two years has been full-time.

So I was just one-half of this operation, and it sent the wrong message to have it named after me. We are both full-time and going strong.

Why This Name

I have a perspective on how this should be done, having named dozens of our client firms and writing a lot about it. In my view, good names should:

  • Normally not be the person's name.
  • Have a matching domain. The TLD doesn't have to just be a .com, but it should be a traditional one.
  • Not be subject to alternate pronunciations.
  • Be short.
  • Age well. In other words, it shouldn't have "media" if you don't do that anymore.
  • Ideally be an empty vessel...that can be filled with other meaning.

After tiresome searching, we were surprised to find that Punctuation.com was available (for only $10,000), and we loved the double entendres everywhere in the name. We hired one of our clients to design the mark, and off we went. It took about six months to build the website and connect everything up, and here we are. The colors are borrowed from the original agency's logo, decades ago, and some early iterations are below:

Early Variations

Should You Change Your Name?

It probably doesn't matter that much, but if you have a regrettable one, either change it soon or don't ever change it. We like what the process forces, and how it signals growth and change. We love the name, we love the new site, and we hope you do, too.

What This Means for Us/You

Not much changes, except that it's a lot easier to navigate...and figure out what we actually do. Imagine that! You might want to look first at how we've pictured all the services we offer in this chart, captured below.

Compare Services

If you have any feedback on the site or any questions we can answer about a possible engagement, please hit "reply" and let us know. And thanks for continuing to read these weekly emails.

Punctuation marks are used to clarify meaning and mark transition. Our goal is to clarify the smart ways to run your business so that it serves you well, pays you well, and moves the needle for clients. It's a privilege to do this work.

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