When launching Odor Hero in the Spring of 2017, little did I know I would be looking for a new name just three short years later. I thought the name made a powerful statement. After all, who doesn’t want to be a hero?
Around the six month mark of selling the odor eliminator, I was getting a fair amount of repeat customers coming back and wanting more. Some via the website and some in person. Many were local customers in and around nearby cities and towns where I live. What I wasn’t prepared for and didn’t see coming was that nearly 40% of the returning customers couldn’t remember the name of the product. “Hey Scott, I need to get some more of your odor… uhh, stuff”. “Hey can I get another bottle of your odor eater… spray”? “Hi, I need a couple more of those odor be gone bottles”. I wish I was joking. This went on and on for months. I admit, at first I was taken aback and less than thrilled. Irritated might even be a more accurate description. How could so many forget the name?
Every successful business owner who makes it will tell you this: “You have to grow, mature and rise to the level your customers and business needs you to be at. If you don’t, it usually doesn’t end well”. Business owners aren’t perfect. I am certainly guilty of that but one thing I am very proactive to is change. If I need to change, I’ll do it. If I need to change something in my business to better serve my customers, I’ll do it and in this case it was becoming quite clear I needed to change the name of the product. Plus, there was more.
Fast forward to the fall of 2018, I was working with my attorney on a new product label for the carpet shampoo. While the label turned out to be ok, near the end of our conversation, he asked me if I knew what trademark infringement was. I could tell by the tone in his voice what he was getting at. My throat dropped to my stomach. Without sharing all of the details from the rest of that conversation, I ended up consulting with two additional attorneys on the possibility of trademark infringement. Several months later and a lot of dollars invested, my worst reality had come true. Odor Hero was, in fact, infringing on another business. Not only was I sick to my stomach, I was angry. I thought I had done my homework on this matter early on. Clearly I hadn’t.
I gathered a few of my creative friends together and back to the drawing board we went. The product needed a new name that was strong, descriptive, bold and memorable. I remember thinking, if anyone can help me in this area, it would be these creative types. I knew it was a tough order to fill when so many other name brands out there already have a 7,10 and even 15 year head start on me. Several months went by and we were stumped. It was a long, tedious process to say the least.
Months later, one early Thursday morning I got a text from one of the team members. “I’ve got it” he said. Why not odorless? I told him I had already been down that path several times and there were a handful of reasons why it couldn’t be used. He said, “No, you’re not spelling it correctly. Why not spell it OHdorless? The O and the H could stand for Odor Hero (few people would actually understand the deeper meaning of this but it makes perfect sense to you as the owner) and it is descriptive. Plus, I bet the .com is available” he said. Which turned out to be correct, it was! Another critical piece if you’re going to have an online store or website.
Several hours later and some extensive processing, I realized we had a winner. OHdorless would be the new name of the product and Odor Hero would remain the name of the LLC. Perfect!
Shortly thereafter, I had the attorney verify to make sure there was no trademark infringement going on. To which, there was none. The new name grew on me like a new addition to the family and within a few months, we were working to create new labels, an all new look, better packaging and a bolder feel. The entire brand was changing and I loved it. In several test cases I, wanted to see how the new brand might be accepted by the marketplace and the response was overwhelmingly good. It turned out, the new name was the right choice. Houston, I think we have a winner!
Today, there are seven SKU#’s in the OHdorless line up. (seven products) We dropped a couple and added a couple. The brand is solid, bold and attractive to look at. It looks great sitting on a bathroom counter or on a shelf in a retail store awaiting purchase. Not so plain and far less of a commercial feel. Finally, we have an amazing product with the correct labeling and accurate packaging. Tie them all together and you have the ingredients for a national brand that will likely go international. That’s something to be proud of and I am thankful to have a strong team of creatives and wonderful customers around me.