How much does your company name matter?

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Hi chaps, here's a million dollar question: how much does a company name matter? In terms of branding, getting recognition and building a following.

Why am I asking: I'm 100% a hobbyist, but considering the hours and effort I put toward writing prototypes, I would love to eventually release a free game on the Google Play store. If that somehow happens to get some traction, I would love to carry the brand and be able to promote future work I publish.

Now, my dilemma: the company name I have had in mind for many years is gone. Someone bought the .com for a brand of body building supplement.. I'm now close to having a project I think I could publish in the coming months.

What would you do? Re-think the name and find something unique, a la Butterflap Shogunigans, or stick with the name and go "xxxxxxxx-games.com"? If so, I am a bit worried about branding - sharing the same name with a company in a very different space!!

Any ideas welcome. Appreciate it's not really much of a concern until I actually have a game ready, just thinking ahead!

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Posts: 11
Location: London, UK

Coming at it from the perspective of someone who does not develop games but appreciates them greatly, I don't think you should sweat your company name too much. As long as it's something decently recognizable, you'll be fine - what really matters is the games that you release. Release good games, and people will remember you.

I don't think I'd ever remember Margarinewhiskey Skibannagrahams if their games weren't so good/unique.

That's just me tho - maybe someone involved has more of an in-depth answer regarding branding and naming.

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Posts: 11

A few thoughts, in no particular order:

You can't become successful on accident. So if you don't plan on aggressively pursuing a game launch, you shouldn't worry about this at all. If you're just going to put a game out for free, it's guaranteed that will do very little for you and your potential future company. If the process makes you decide you do want to pursue it as a business, you can start worrying about what to do at that point, and there's a decent chance you'll be better off starting a new, carefully thought-out brand anyway.

Branding is an aspect of business strategy. Depending on the strategy you decide to take, your branding will be more or less important, and will need to be designed in different ways. For example, will your branding be intended to be identifiable to players, media, both, or neither? Do you have a plan to capture past success for future games? So don't brand first, decide what you want to do first!

Also, domain names are super cheap. So if there is a name you like you should go ahead and buy a relevant domain. Check the SEO of that name (what comes up in a Google Search?) and remember: if you say it out loud to someone, they should be able to remember it, type it (spelled correctly), and have it be on the first page of results. That means avoid being cute with spelling (e.g. "Awxome Stoodio" would require that you always have to tell people how to spell that part of your company name, and they'll definitely forget anyway).

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Posts: 1668
Location: Dallas, TX USA

Thanks both for your opinion! Loads to think about on the back of your answers!

@bscotchAdam - How about domain names for your games? I see you registered crashlands.net (I guess .com was registered already).

Point taken on PR. Although I have no experience on that front, I do intend to put a trailer together / press pack and shoot things left, right and centre, although to who I am not sure! I follow a few youtubers doing indie games videos so this could be a place to start. Vlambeer have a PHP page to help putting press packs together, which I'll look into in due course (although I'm not sure how much value a press pack vs a nicely shapped email offers).

Branding is a good point - my biggest aim here really is to have something showing under the same name on the Play store / Steam if I go down that route. If I ever release a 2nd game I would like it to come under the same umbrella.

Mitronite Games was my original idea and would work either way I guess, but maybe a bit obscure... And until that sport supplement of the same name came up, it was on top of the google search! I'll try and think of something that reflect better what I do, i.e. pixel art games!

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Posts: 11
Location: London, UK

About PR I think the last video here: https://www.bscotch.net/education-talks/ could be of some use. Check the others too, everything is useful.
Basically, Sam just spammed press people a lot until they replied?

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Posts: 1797
Location: Bordeaux, France

Emailing is essential at this stage, but you need somewhere to send people to get a summary of (1) your game and (2) your studio. The presskit() made by Vlambeer is basically a template for putting that info together.

The key to PR/Marketing is to make it as easy as possible for people to find what you want them to find, give them compelling reasons to go find it, and give them compelling reasons to read/click/buy/follow/whatever. If they have to open up 10 links sent in your email in order to find everything they need, well they probably won't!

As for game vs studio website: either can work, depending on branding and SEO. If your studio develops a strong brand in its own right, that's a good place to catch people. If you can afford it, having additional domains that just point to the central information point can be a solid move, and is a great defensive tactic (e.g. if you don't want to use crashlands.net, but also don't want someone else to buy it, squat on it).

We bought crashlands.net to go with bscotch.net (which we had to buy because .com was taken), and because at that time our main website was a mess, was using the full butterscotch-shenanigans.com domain (which is impossible to tell someone and have them spell correctly), and didn't have nice clean URLs there (e.g. butterscotch-shenanigans.com/games/). Being able to send people to crashlands.net was easy and memorable. We now also have a much cleaner location on our main site (www.bscotch.net/game/crashlands/) but crashlands.net is already running, and is still a hell of a lot easier to point people to!

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Posts: 1668
Location: Dallas, TX USA

Thanks @bscotchAdam for all the advice - I went ahead with step 1 & have registered domain names for both studio name + game project! First step of many...

I created a tumblr account already where I plan to put anything flashy/graphical and try to create some following. I am using wordpress for the site and will work on the SEO asap.

The site I'll use to post on my progress and hurdles, I remember really enjoying the BScotch blogs (freemium, piracy articles etc) when I first discovered you guys, hope I can post something of that quality in the future!

Any advice on social media? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? I think you guys are only really active on twitter, but since you already have a fan base it doesn't really matter I guess!

I seldom use facebook and have no idea how twitter works btw, all of this feels like throwing myself into the unknown!

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Posts: 11
Location: London, UK

Hi BScotches! Just wanted to put a big thank you out there for the last few podcasts.

The PR section of Ep84 was just awesome. Also my game project is a barebone Hack & Slash, topic which has been covered in great detail over the last few podcasts. Loved the Diablo analysis, thumbs up to @skaugust for his question on the last podcast!!!

My progress so far: website + dev blog are live. I have done some reading on social media, and planning to start reaching out and build some hype around my project - indie dev reddit, #screenshotsaturday on twitter etc!

@bscotchAdam: would it be ok to share my website + dev blog URL on the Bscotch forum? I'd love to get some feedback from the BS community!

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Posts: 11
Location: London, UK

Sure, you can add it to this thread and/or edit your initial post with the link.

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Posts: 1668
Location: Dallas, TX USA

Alrighty, here's the monster:

http://hodgepodge-games.com/

Hodge Podge means a jumble of things, as well as a soup recipe in which stuff is thrown together in a pot to stew. That's pretty much how I work my way with Game Maker (and also how I cook!) so I found the name appropriate!

I have a fair bit of content in there already, covering my current project, art I've been working on etc.

Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks BScotchers!

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Posts: 11
Location: London, UK

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