How We Named Dive In Digital - The First Time's Awkward for Everyone


Welcome to The First Time’s Awkward for Everyone, a blog series where we’ll go through the steps we’ve taken to build our very first business and the awkward conversations we’ve had to help get us here. This week, we’re going over how we named Dive In Digital.

We’ve found that the internet is full of gurus and experts willing to share their story after it’s already a success. We love these people. We listen to their podcasts, are subscribed to their newsletters (speaking of, have you subscribed to ours?), and are fascinated by how they’ve gotten to where they are.  However, it’s pretty tough to find an in-real-time account of how a human (or a pair of humans, in our case) got from the original idea to an actual business without it feeling performative. We didn’t start a company to be trendy or cool, we started it to be self reliant and to fuel our lives. We’re not a success story.... Yet! But we’re confident we’re going to get there, and we want to share every step of the way with our clients and our community.

We’re going to take the time to write about the journey as it’s happening, in hopes that it will help someone reading this feel more confident about their own entrepreneurial journey and more prepared to have the necessary awkward conversations to get their business going.

How to Name Your Business

When we sat down to name our business (well, technically we were lying down on pads of paper on the floor of Shelby’s house, but details, details) it was intimidating. We’re both obsessed over branding, in fact, it’s a huge area we want to help other businesses with through Dive In Digital. So the name of our business was/is a BFD (big freaking deal). It needed to perfectly represent not only what we do, but also who we are as humans.

Step 1: Understanding what your business offers

Proof we used big sheets of paper and wrote down everything.

Proof we used big sheets of paper and wrote down everything.

Before we even allowed ourselves to talk about our business’ name (which we were incredibly anxious to do) we wanted to nail down exactly what we were offering. This probably seems super obvious, but so often it’s easier to jump to the fun parts (like brand colors and font types) than putting in the work to really massage out your company’s value proposition this early on and making sure your name aligns with that.

Here are some questions we asked ourselves:

  • Why did we want to do this?

  • Who did we want to do this for?

  • What are we experts in?

  • Why would we hire us?

  • What process would we take to help someone’s digital marketing efforts?

  • What would working with us feel like?

Step 2: Understanding what your business isn’t


From step one, we knew we were going out in the world as digital marketing consultants with a passion for storytelling. Digital marketing is executed through hundreds, if not thousands, of tools and has a place in every business across all industries. We didn’t come up with a revolutionary product or service with no competition. There are hundreds of digital marketers in the world, but there’s only one Shelby and one Rachel. We took the time to outline how we’re different than other digital marketers..

Here are some of the questions we asked ourselves:

  • What don’t we do?

  • What parts of digital marketing don’t play to our strengths?

  • Who don’t we work with?

  • What are we not?

  • What are biggest marketing pet peeves?

From this conversation, we confidently decided that the words: media, consulting, or agency didn’t belong in the name of our business.

These words felt stiff, inaccurate, and depicted a company that would grow in a way where our only option would be to hire hundreds of people to accomplish our client's goals. We’re not interested in building the biggest most profitable agency in the world, we’re interested in working with small to medium-sized business owners who we can get to know incredibly well and become equally invested in the mission of their business.

Step 3: What you want your name to represent


We knew that because we weren’t interested in growing a large agency, the name of our business had to have strong ties to who we are as humans. When we first met (i.e. when Rachel interviewed Shelby via Skype for an internship at Spoon University) we immediately connected on our mutual passion for the ocean and the creatures who live there (pro tip for our friends reading this and are currently looking for their dream job: talk about your personal interests during an interview, you never know what you might have in common). Rachel has been a mermaid girl from the very beginning and Shelby has always been fascinated with whales (coincidence since we both grew up in landlocked states and now also operate a business within one).

We decided water had to be incorporated and that our business’ name had to be rooted in our story, just like we would aim to do with our clients and their brand’s stories. It was finally time to brainstorm.

Tools you need for an effective brainstorm:

  • Every color marker possible

  • The biggest notepad you’ve ever seen

  • Snacks (primarily Oreos and anything with peanut butter)

  • Music (volume 10 or lower so you’re not too distracted)

  • We had some dogs as moral support, but it’s optional

We wrote down every word we could think of that involved water without literally naming our business Whales + Mermaids Inc. Immediately words like dive, depth, blue, and wave came to mind. After a while we had several sheets of paper that included these words and the words we weren’t.

At this time, Shelby happen to hop on the phone and Rachel had a little time to stare the words and let the wheels turn. The first phrase that came to her was “Just dive in.” This phrase immediately felt in alignment to what we wanted to ask from our clients — Say goodbye to your shame around not knowing how to navigate digital marketing and dive into this world, learn more, let us help you, go all in, so you can get the digital marketing presence, the social media following you not only want, but also deserve.

From here it gets a little woo woo, meaning we’re really showing you how Rachel’s brain works. The idea of our clients having “this want” felt really powerful and charged, so Rachel wrote down “Change your “I want this” to “I DID this.” She looked back at the brainstorm list to find the word that could change Dive In to DID and found Digital. She took her big piece of paper and jumped up and down in front of Shelby until she hung up the phone.

“I got it,” Rachel said, “Dive In Digital, change your “I want this on digital” to “I DID this.” All you have to do is Dive In.”

“Done,” Shelby.