Taylor Jacobson, Founder & CEO of Focusmate, talks for our Names With Stories series about the idea for Focusmate, their brand name, and the importance of having a strong team spirit.
What is the story behind Focusmate?
I first started working remotely in 2010, and I struggled immensely with procrastination. It was isolating and there was no structure or accountability. That struggle inspired me to study behavior change and productivity, later becoming an executive coach. During that time I had the inspiration to try this “crazy experiment”—my own ideal fantasy of how I wanted to be supported and held accountable by another person. I pitched my friend the idea: we’d get on a video call, share exactly what we were each going to work on, and then keep each other company while working. We’d update one another on our progress and then check-in at the end. That was basically the first Focusmate session! From there the idea to build a community and develop the product quickly grew.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Focusmate?
I started thinking about it right away, because I was excited but know how hard it is to find a good brand and domain. Focusmate wasn’t the first good name I thought of, but it was the first one where I could buy the domain name for a reasonable price and get the trademark.
How did you get the domain Focusmate.com for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?
We used a domain broker to reach out to the owner and felt like the price was a bargain, given the potential we envisioned for it. It seems pretty straightforward that if you can get a dot com for a good brand name you go for it!
How has owning Focusmate.com affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?
It’s hard to say, but people do seem to remember our name and like it, and feel intuitively like it works for our brand. We have a few other domain variants of Focusmate also.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them?
Our target customer is someone who works from home, which usually means they are isolated and don’t have much structure. We especially target people who struggle with procrastination. Our brand helps reach them because it captures the essence of what we do quickly: get focused, with the help of another person.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
The main way we ensure consistency is by having a clear, strong culture in our company. We never need to worry that someone will represent us in an inconsistent way because each person on our team really embodies the kind, supportive spirit of Focusmate.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Yes, Focusmate has definitely become relevant to a lot of new people, who are now working from home and feeling more isolated and less accountable than before.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
By creating an awesome, often life-changing experience for our users, we empower them to be our best marketers. They get excited to share their success with others because they genuinely want to help out people they know by sharing Focusmate with them.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
The most important thing is to find a truly painful problem and figure out a really great way to solve that problem. If you can do that consistently and if people will pay more to solve the problem than it costs you to deliver that solution, then you’re in business. But, people often skip this step and aren’t solving a painful enough problem or doing so effectively. Until you have that, branding is irrelevant in my opinion. But, branding is still critical. I think of a brand as the personality of your company. If people were interacting with a person, what kind of person would they be? How would they make people feel? What would others say about them? Your brand isn’t what you do, it’s how you do it. And your name can be part of that.
Where do you see your business in the future and how does your brand name fit into that vision?
Our plan and our hope is that we can continue to serve people around the world who want to follow through on the things that matter most to them. Our aspiration is to build something that has that kind of life-changing impact for millions of people. How does our brand fit in? When people hear the name Focusmate, we want them to feel a sense of possibility about their lives.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. How much does it cost you not having a strong brand? Get in touch, we are always happy to chat.
Find out more about Focusmate.