What’s in a Name? What is KNUXX?

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KNUXX.  How is it pronounced?  What does it mean?  Why did you pick a name like KNUXX?  These are all questions that have been posed to me since starting this paper several months ago.  I have answers for all of them and even answers for questions that have yet to be asked.  There are a lot factors that go into choosing a name – especially a name for a business.  This past month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what goes into a name – what goes into a brand.

KNUXX is a made-up word.  It’s a play off of the word “knuckles” and so it is pronounced “nucks” – the ‘K’ is silent.  In combat sports the knuckles are one of the most used tools in a fighter’s arsenal.  That’s part of what went into choosing the name of my company – that’s the more obvious part.

Given my background in marketing and business I didn’t want to choose a name that was too common or was too weak.  I wanted something that would stick in people’s minds, was easily recognized and was five or six letters long.  I didn’t want a name that would bind me to any particular geography or would be too limiting in scope.  It had to be a name we could trademark (which I’m doing now).  And, most importantly, it had to be available as a “.com” domain.  KNUXX was born from these requirements.

KNUXX had to be scalable.  A company called “Denver Karate Magazine” wouldn’t have a chance in theNew Mexicomarket or any other market for that matter.  There isn’t a way to successfully grow a company if you have to completely change the brand for each market– don’t get me wrong, not every company has to be designed for worldwide domination.  Some companies are designed to be local and remain local.  My idea just started bigger.  You can localize a brand and make something like “KNUXX of New Mexico” as long as the main brand is still maintained.

There is a lot that goes into building a brand.  Ask Google – I remember laughing when I first heard their name.  But now you can’t hear their name without literally feeling something deep down – a connection with the brand (good or bad).  Similarly with Nike, RedBull, Tapout or UFC.  Those names mean something.  Brand building is THE biggest job of business owners.

Sometimes however you have to protect the brand instead of building it.  There are some decisions that must be made just to protect your name.  Decisions on growth, strategic plans and who to hire (and who to fire) are key to protecting a brand.  If someone is damaging your brand you have to make decisions based on the big picture and you have to make choices that won’t damage your brand further.  Brand protection is sometimes harder to do than brand building because it infers that you have built a brand to a point that it can be damaged – it’s pretty scary when you realize that – there’s an element of vulnerability.

The fighters we profile this month each have well known names – names they have had to build and live up to.  Rocky Ramirez was named after all the Rockys of the 50s; Marciano, Granzano, Castlaine.  But they have each protected something much greater than their name.  They have represented theUnited States(the best “brand” out there) by serving in the military.  They have worked hard to build their personal brands as fighters while protecting and defending people like me who want to start a company and wax philosophic about naming my company.  I thank them for their service and their willingness to spend a bit of time in the KNUXX spotlight.