Sign In

What's In a Name?

Last updated 7 years ago

I love Starbucks. And it’s not for their coffee.

In fact, I don’t even drink coffee. Furthermore, I could get a coffee-based drink at McDonalds that I like for about $2 less. But I don’t. Why? Because at Starbucks, they engage me in conversation, smile and truly seem to appreciate my business. Plus, they know my name. Well, at one location at least. My mother is known by name at over 4 Starbucks locations. At McDonalds I’m lucky if they even look me in the eye.

So, what’s important in a name? In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote that a “person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Never underestimate the astounding amount of importance people place on their own name. One of the simplest, most obvious and most important ways of gaining goodwill is by remembering a person’s name. The ability to remember a person’s name not only works in building friendships but in building professional relationships. It sets an individual apart from everyone else, makes her feel important and makes him feel that you care.

Even when I am low on funds, I will go to Starbucks. I value personalized service by people who take the time to learn who I am. To me, it’s worth the additional $2. For awhile now, I’ve been contemplating switching to a different gym to get a decreased monthly membership fee but I’d have no problem paying extra at a gym whose employees learned my name.

As a professional or business owner how can you take advantage of this simple yet extremely effective piece of advice? Apply it to everyone you meet, especially customers. We all want to feel valued and appreciated. Think of how great you feel when you walk into a restaurant, coffee shop or store and are greeted by name. Make it habit to ask everyone their name and then find a way to remember it.

Dale Carnegie also wrote, “people are so proud of their names that they will strive to perpetuate them at any cost.” How many libraries, museums and universities do you know that have buildings and collections named after people? Most libraries, museums and universities name buildings and collections after their biggest financial donors. Why? Because these people want to ensure that their names do not perish from the memory of the race.

Next time you meet someone remember how you feel when someone remembers your name and the lengths people will go to to ensure theirs is remembered. Make sure you ask theirs and remember it. Recalling a person’s name is by far the simplest and cheapest way to build brand loyalty.

How do you feel when someone, especially an employee at a business, recalls your name? Are you more likely to give your loyalty to professionals who know your name?

(Read more about creating customer loyalty)


  • Loading comments... Spinner

Mashable Award Badge

  • Hours:

  • 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday
  • 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Tuesday
  • 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Thursday
  • 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Friday


  • Recent Posts
    • Loading posts... Spinner
  • View All
  • Recent Comments
    • Loading comments... Spinner
  • Related Links
  • Popular Tags
    • Loading tags... Spinner