Petra Marko about the reputed bankruptcy of ExtravaDansa

Maybe you have noticed that ExtravaDansa – the production house of dance and costumes – has somehow disappeared from the scene. And it is true. After 13 successful years on the market, time has come, to move from ExtravaDansa to another, higher level. Thanks to ExtravaDansa we have learned a whole lot about the market and needs of our clients. Fulfilling different needs of a big variety of clients had naturally lead to development of new segments. We are moving forward, taking ART, FASHION and ENTERTAINMENT services for event marketing and advertisement agencies to the next level.

I will not make the “haters” – happy :) – we did not go bankrupt. On the contrary. Despite a name that had ‘ dance ‘ in itself , we managed to develop 11 different divisions of our products and services. Production of dance shows is now only one division of our portfolio with other 10 divisions.

Simply put, the name ExtravaDansa was too simplistic to describe everything we do. Giving up a brand name we spend over a decade building, was emotionally were hard, but I felt that is the right time for a change.

The first challenge and struggles came with the creation of a good, new company name. At the beginning I was quite naïve and thought that I could come up with a new name all by myself. Mistake. I have created new name exactly 105 times. 105 times I got excited, bought a domain and started to work on our logo. When I was at the 103 name – about which I was pretty sure was the one – I have decided to bother Juraj Vaculík – THE man in advertising. With a little soul, I have texted him if he would find 10 minutes from his schedule for me. I wanted his honest reaction. 5 minutes in and my amazing name was shuttered.

At night it clicked! SmartArt perfectly describes all of the segments that we offer. It captures the essence of our work – using ART, FASHION and ENTERTAINMENT to create an experience for any kind of audience while communicating the emotion and message clients wants and needs to deliver to his target audience. Marketing through experience, marketing through ART, where business meets art – that is us. Smart Art is perfect!”

“Petra, Smart Art is a CONCEPT, how your company works, the philosophy of the whole company. It is not a BRAND. Look at our suggestions!”

And there it was – the lucky 105 – NEON HEADS. I already imagined it all. Statue busts in all kinds of crazy colors in our offices, dance halls, costume factories. A punk persona – John Neon – with a neon haircut, perfect persona for guerilla marketing to brand NEON HEADS. I can see it, feel it, we have it!

If you want to know what NeonHeads actually means, stay tuned for a new blog. This name may seem odd at first, but it captures the true essence of our new and fresh company. And even if it would not, it’s okay, because it is an unique name and that is one of the most important feature of strong brands.

10 tips when choosing a company’s name

The name of my first company – ExtravaDansa – was created in about half an hour, on the way to a statistic exam. I was 19 with no care in the world, living the life. I felt that ExtravaDansa captured what we were about to start- a production house of dance. Putting all dance style shows together within the same team of artists, high quality costumes, focus on model type of artists was truly something special back in the day.

However, the reality hit us real hard when we found out that 9 out of 10 people will make a mistake in the name – Extravagansa, Extravaganza, Extravadance – simply faux paux. When people don’t know how to spell the name of your company, you are off to a hard start.

Coming up with the name 4in1ARTISTS was a quite longer process. I have felt the need to create a name unique enough to capture the special and innovative product, that has started to naturally form in ExtravaDansa. This brand name sounds a bit odd and untraditional, and with its uniqueness makes us a fantastic SEO ranking. And thats a key to a good marketing strategy in the age of online marketing. From my experience, I can say that it is always better to choose a strange, but unique name, than to choose a generic one.

While creating the name DreamJobSupport,I have came across fantastic websites – and These websites allow you to check within seconds, whether the domain you wish to have is free. If you wish to expand to international markets, think of using .com domain – the ‘ must have ‘ for companies with an international focus. The app is simple, fast and one domain costs in average 9.90€ a year only!

Creating the name NeonHeads was like giving a birth. Long and painful process with a happy ending. And I would like to share with you some of the things, I have learned during this journey.

  • The TOP priority is to have a truly unique name. At the beginning I have worked with words like smart, emotions, art. And that, right there was a bad choice, because there are hundreds of thousands companies that are using the same words.
  • The name should be catchy and ease to pronounce. The 127th name when creating NeonHeads name was SmartArt – beautiful and catchy. Or that’s what I thought. But then I faced a problem – SmartArt had no uniqueness, which will eventually lead to a horrible SEO ranking.
  • If you decide to go global, you will face a lot of troubles and challenges. Remember that you have to check different markets, cultures and languages – if the name you choose will invoke good emotions across all markets you decide to expand to.
  • Now, if you’ve found THE NAME for your company, check whether domain with such a domain is free and not registered just yet. You can use for example, and many others reliable sites. If you want to be a global company, always choose .com domain, that gives you a bigger and more international exposure. Even if Europe is your main market, it is better to go for .com, than .eu.
  • Here you are – with your perfect name, registered domain. Next step is to imagine how are you going to market your company under this name. For me the the name NeonHeads have clicked perfectly, when I imagined big and stylish busts – all in neon colors in our offices, costume factories or dance hall. Right at that moment I visualized the whole new company – I have pictures of our business cards, letter – head papers, John Neon as a persona for our marketing guerilla (* marketing guerilla is a advertising strategy concept for small business to promote product or services in an unconventional and untraditional way with little budget)
  • The name should be easy to pronounce. OK, with NeonHeads we face little problem, when people sometimes pronounce it NeonHats – but nothing is perfect, right?
  • Check if there is possibility to register your name in the product areas of your company. If you want to go global, then check globally. I have registered it with a company – true professionals. Until now I have paid only 400€ and it is registered for the whole world. Don’t be afraid. It is a little bit longer process, but you will be protected from the very beginning of the application process, which they will not approve if somebody has already registered the same meaning. So you will know right away if you are unique or not.
  • If you know you will be expanding the portfolio of your services and products, choose a name that will not restrict you in any way and you can add it as brand to other activities. After several years, the name ExtravaDansa started to restrict me. I have developed another 11 different divisions of production in the area of ART, FASHION, and ENTERTAINMENT. Dance shows have become only a small company’s portfolio, that had dance in its ‘name. It has complicated things in the sales of other 10 divisions. Which is why, after 13 years, I have decided it was time for a new era, new and fresh brand. With this brand I was more careful and went with a name that is more flexible. I can highly recommend this strategy to you as well, as it is very hard and emotional to say good-bye to your brand.
  • Trust your gut!
  • Don’t put too much stress on a perfect name. Company’s name is important, but not as much as the quality of your work. Excellent work (sales, marketing, product itself should supplement each other and work in a symbiosis) will guarantee a success for your company, even with a name jiberish.ufo

 Break a leg.


What does NeonHeads stand for?

I bet that you can’t wrap your head around the name NeonHeads. What does it mean, what does it represent and why did I decide to name a new and innovative company with this seemly odd name?

Don’t you worry. I have explanation that will answer all of your questions and hopefully help all of you, aspiring entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who are facing the big decision on how to choose a name that will make your company stand out!

The name NeonHeads can seem bit odd at first. However, in reality it truly captures the essence of this company, with an absolutely unique portfolio of products and services.

NEON represents two ideas. First meaning is NEO, new. Product and service portfolio as we offer in NeonHeads is definitely innovative. We are the perfect example of something NEO, something new.

The second meaning behind NEON is the meaning of the word itself. Whether you understand it as a light, something bright, shinning or just as an eye-catchy and splashy highlighter. NEON perfectly describes all of our work and services.

We are the production house of EMOTIONS. Thanks to ART, FASHION and ENTERTAINMENT we are creating and supplying our clients with emotions in thousands different ways. Emotions, which are bright, different, colorful, unforgettable – just as the meaning of the word NEON.

HEADS are the essence of the whole concept – head as a vital ingredient, that is a fundament to every emotion created by us. SMART. NeonHeads is only producing a SMART ART. Always. We are here for the client. We understand you and listen to your needs carefully. NeonHeads is run by neon heads – truly smart, empathic and organized managers, who not only bring a fantastic and unforgettable experience to the audience but also help you – our client – make a profit. In NeonHeads one element always complements the other. A complete win-win.

NeonHeads – deeply focused marketing agency, that is a long-term, high quality and reliable partner and supplier for full service advertising and event agencies. Main focus of all campaigns is ART, FASHION and ENTERTAINMENT. NeonHeads is emotions for event.

So that is the story of NeonHeads name. Keep in mind that name is a very important and big step for every company and it can affect the direction of your business in the future. So before you decide to print your new name on all of the merchandise, think about these questions- how easy will it be for my potential customers to look me up in the online world, are there many companies that are using similar words, what happens to my SEO if I use common words, will people have troubles with remembering the name and writing it down? And will it be memorable? A name so strong that will give you a power to “fight on the market” and position yourself as a one of the top players.

Hong Kong – green city?

Hong Kong really surprised me. I expected a cold jungle of skyscrapers but Hong Kong is a city full of greenery! Luscious greenery grows between skyscrapers, streets are clean and everything works like clockwork. You won’t meet a lot of people on the streets because the walkways lead either under or over the city through various tunnels and bridges, surrounded by the most expensive fashion boutiques. Chanel, Chanel, Dior, Lanvin … yes, happily two Chanel stores side by side because…well, why wouldn’t you? Moving around Hong Kong is basically a walk through a shopping mall. One luxury mall follows another and you rarely see ‘value’ brands such as H&M or Zara.

The All Action Chinese

Hong Kong truly is not China. Under each “noodle” text you will find an English translation, meaning orientating yourself here is no problem. Almost every local answered me in decent English and all trains have bilingual annoucements. I expected a humble demeanor from the Chinese but I was surprised by their kindness, friendliness and capacity for action. Nobody said to me: “I will ask the boss.” Everybody took responsibility, acted quickly and professionally and were customer focused to the maximum. It is quite scary to see such an activity, drive, education and language skills. Because the question arises – what will happen with us lazy and spoiled westerners?

Homegrown beauties

Public transport operates like clockwork. Every minute a subway train (MTR) arrives and everybody boards in an organized manner, draws out their supersized smart phones and that’s it. They are all well groomed and friendly but polyester and catastrophic shoes still abound. I saw it all pretty easily; being a giraffe-like 180 centimeters, I had a clear view over everyone. Despite their short stature it surprised me that ladies have mostly very nice, long fingers and manicured nails. 95% of locals are slim and even the rest don’t struggle with bulging tummys and asses.

The Chinese know how to bleach and colour their thick, dark hair so their heads are a riot of colors. I even spotted green hair, worn long to the waist; super shiny and healthy. The biggest fashion craze right now seems to be large spectacle frames worn without lenses. They wore them purely as a fashion accessory, most commonly in a ‘John Lennon’ style.

Bamboo scaffolding

In a sharp contrast to the jungle of glass skyscrapers is the bamboo scaffolding, bound together by tape alone. No screws or metal. Just bamboo sticks wrapped around a skyscraper and job done.
Hong Kong has 7 million inhabitants and the main districts are Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Expats are concentrated in Soho on Hong Kong Island; New Territories are on the opposite side of the Pearl River neighboring directly with China.

Apartment for € 6,000

Renting an apartment in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon costs €5,000 to €6,000 per month. This is the largest living expense; other items such as food and transportation are not much more expensive than in Slovakia. However, if you expect a luxury apartment for this price, you will be disappointed. The apartments are very small; the rooms are often no bigger than 2 x 3 meters! Good old Petržalka! All, however, have spectacular views, spacious reception areas, security services and several large common areas. Each residential complex has the amenities of a small town; playgrounds, swimming pool, gym, lounge with massage chairs, even karaoke rooms, or piano rooms for private music lessons for kids living in the complex. Of course, the apartments themselves could barely fit a piano in!

You can find any restaurant possible here – Thai, Philippine, French, Japanese … Most popular seemed various types of noodles eaten with much munching and slurping. They generally use far less sugar in this part of the world. Even foreign confectionery manufacturers alter their recipes for the Asian market. What I was missing in the local diet was a choice of fruit. Growing fruit is probably not their number one priority or they just don’t like it that much.

I also found some serious handmade tailoring and domestic fashion designers. So for the next SuperStar or the Voice of CzechoSlovakia that my company, ExtravaDansa styles, you will be able to see some extraordinary pieces from the local makers.

Shark fin as an elixir

I also visited the local markets. Fish are usually sold with a still beating heart! If the heart is not beating, the fish will not be sold. Still alive, they will fillet the poor thing for you. You will also find turtles, snakes and frogs here. Your taste is your taste…
Even more fascinating was the market for Chinese medicines. You arrive there with you prescription and the ‘pharmacist’ will prepare your crab tails, dried shark fin and snake skin accordingly and off you go with your treatment! The seller will write down nicely how often and what to take and that’s it; as good as aspirin back at home.
Hong Kong was for me a really nice surprise. The culture is different, but the decency and willingness of people in many ways is superior to Europe.

The ferry takes you from Hong Kong Island to the mainland for Kowloon and New Territories. It goes back and forth every few minutes.

A delicious dinner for $40 – Hong Kong of course :)

Peking duck is a must :)


Pharmacy with medicines of a “bug type”. So, if you have a cough, your doctor will prescribe something like two cockroach feet for breakfast, a bite of a shark fin for lunch and before bedtime crushed millipede :). Well, who wouldn’t buy it! Healthy as a fish.

What you see in the picture is a jacket, sown with threads of gold and silver (not real of course). It looks excellently handmade. It was purchased and I believe that we will use it in the SuperStar this year (2015) for some crazy number.

Local trams

Polyester- beloved material. Charming design indeed.

Swimming pool on the hotel roof overlooks my colleague’s windows!!! Veronika – Director of ExtravaDansa Asia lives in the house you see in the picture :)

At the airport, a mass of people going crazy. I look around to find out what was happening and it was some Chinese superstars… Guys looked stylish, I must admit.


So here it is. I finally decided to create my page. Why? I have two main reasons for it.

1. For several years now different organizations (mostly universities), invite me to lecture about my business story. Amazing feedback from my audience inspired me so much that I accepted the offer from the Slovak Business Agency to become a mentor to new entrepreneurs. In Slovakia, we have so many smart people! I feel that such lectures and mentoring have meaning. Kids ask a lot, react, perceive, absorb information… It’s a great feeling helping them to kickstart. Through my blog I would like to share information from my current practice to a wider audience.

2. Journalists write facts about me sometimes and other times it’s just pure nonsense. I think it’s kind of cool to have my own platform, which will tell the truth and nothing but the truth (until someone hacks the page, of course :))

Truthfully, the main driver was actually statement number 1. Number 2 is more for fun :).


This page is for those who want to read it. Those who are likely to get irritated can simply switch it off, don’t get stressed by it, why for God’s sake would you?

I will write about my business experiences, travel, culture, opinions but also about my new home in Lisbon, together with my native Bratislava. Okay, let’s get started!

And another thing: I will gladly answer your questions. That’s what this platform is for; keep it the way that is most useful to you. If you are interested in something or you want to consult me on something (especially with regards business), email In my 13 years of business experience I went through a lot. I believe that I will be able to advise, to give an impartial, clear opinion.

I wish you all a lovely day,