When entrepreneurs Corin and Brian Mullins changed the name of their gluten-free, vegan organic breakfast cereal from the more genteel Hapi Food cereal to the more attention-grabbing Holy Crap  cereal, sales started increasing.
Like so many great business ideas, the product had a simple beginning. Corin had developed the recipe as a way to address her husband’s food allergies and sensitivities. The result was a cereal that avoided the “cardboard” taste of so much other health food. The couple decided they had a winner.
The Birth of Holy Crap Cereal
The idea for the change in name came from a customer comment. While selling their product at a farmer’s market in British Columbia, one of their first customers remarked:
“Holy crap… this is amazing!”
At first, the two simply enjoyed a good laugh about the customer’s assessment. But Brian, who worked in marketing before launching Hapi Food, thought the phrase could also easily serve as a tongue-in-cheek name for a high-fiber cereal.
When he first suggested the name change, his wife was not immediately enthused. But some encouragement from fellow students in their business classes and positive results from a test run proved to the couple that the new name could lead to positive results.
After they made the change official, sales at their local farmer’s market increased tenfold within weeks — from selling ten bags of the cereal a day to more than a hundred. The only change they made was the name.
Since then, the company has served customers from all over the world, made appearances on TV shows, sold Holy Crap cereal at numerous special events, and even had a kiosk at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
In 2012, Holy Crap cereal launched itself to a whole new level of success. The Canadian Space Agency selected Holy Crap cereal as one of a dozen Canadian foods to make the trip to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
While developing a quality product is vital, an attention-grabbing name can also make a world of difference in the success of your product or service.
Changing a business name to something less conventional or even changing it at all has its risks, but there are clearly benefits too. Sure, customers could laugh at that unconventional name or even be turned off by it. But an attention grabbing name can also generate awareness and prevent your product or service from being ignored.
There’s certainly some wisdom to picking a product name customers can’t ignore. If more people hear about your brand, you have a better chance of turning those people into customers.
Holy Crap cereal’s sales results can certainly attest to that.