Over a period of 12 years, we have successfully executed some 14 naming projects for this pioneering and highly successful company. In 2007, founders Mario Weiss and Johann Meyer-Christian came to us to create a name for their flagship product: an online therapeutic tool to treat depression. In our initial briefing the client was dubious about the wisdom of putting “depression” in the name. After all, who wants to be reminded that they are suffering from something so, well, depressing. We explored many different creative territories, including more upbeat concepts such as freedom, ascent and release. Tonality was also important: these are highly complex scientific programs, and the initial clients would be doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Another consideration was that the client insisted the name be available as an unmodified .com.
After creating many hundreds of possible names and screening them for both URL and trademark availability, we presented a wide-ranging list of candidates. As often happens, the client realized that a well-executed name with directly relevant suggested meaning is more powerful than a completely abstract name that relies chiefly on the power of sound symbolism. Their choice was Deprexis, and this remains the cornerstone of this highly successful company’s constantly expanding range of offerings.
In 2021 we were approached by Erika Ekiel of Storyboardist.com to help create a new name for Cookie.ai, a start-up with a unique AI-based approach to online security. Erika was impressed by our credentials and our down-to-earth approach, which she felt would be a good fit for the marketing neophytes at Cookie.ai. We were introduced to the client and immediately established an excellent working rapport with executives Tarun Thakur and Maohua Lu, and with their Chief Strategist Rich Dandliker. Time was of the essence to get the new name in place, so we quickly produced a scope of work, which was readily agreed upon, and started creative work. Over the next few weeks we guided them through the naming process, presenting the team with names exploring many different directions and territories – all of them having been subject to initial screening to avoid trademark issues down the road. As the field narrowed, it became clear the team wanted an unmodified .com to go with their name. This resulted in homing in on more abstract, evocative names. The outcome was a remarkably straightforward, eminently pronounceable name: Veza. As well as being full of motion and energy, the name has an interesting backstory: it means “to reveal” in Swahili, making it directly relevant to one of the client’s major communication objectives. The .com was for sale and was promptly purchased for the company, with us acting as intermediaries to bring the negotiation to a swift and successful conclusion. To hear directly from the client about this project, take a look at Rich Dandliker’s video referral on our home page.
In 2022, Clive was approached by Paul Parkin, founder of Salt Branding, whom Clive had worked with many times over more than 15 years, and who was now SVP of Brand at online opticians Zenni Optical. Paul needed a partner to help reposition the company and rework their brand architecture, as well as to come up with a series of brand names and descriptors. Initially we broke the work down into five separate areas: some were new product ranges, others were unique features. Over a period of several months, we developed rational approaches to each of these challenges, and created ranges of naming solutions to correspond with the newly developed architecture. These ranged from purely descriptive phrases to standalone proprietary names. Finally, the company decided to embark on a company-wide renaming of their whole product range in order to align it more closely with the Zenni masterbrand. The result was the creation of a “name bank” of well over 1,000 names featuring the letter Z, all of them ready to be applied to new and existing products as the company’s range evolves and expands.
In early 2008, Eric Taussig of Taussig Dennis Group approached us to help them name their start-up providing offshore administrative services, as well as two descriptive names for their initial service offerings.
The company name had to embrace not only the planned first round of service offerings, but also future offerings whose scope would potentially be very broad. The name needed to sound professional, effective and reliable, as well as high-end and aspirational.
Communication objectives included ideas such as empowerment, assurance and enhancement. Essentially, semantic meaning was not a crucial aspect of the name; more important were tonal quality and linguistic “feel”. We guided the client through several iterations of names, some with more transparent meaning than others. The result was a consensus that a relatively abstract name was right for this company.
Prialto was selected for its uplifting tonality and its ease of pronunciation and intuitive spelling by speakers of many languages. The name was also available as a .com, which the client considered to be a highly valuable asset.
The company has been delighted by the name’s performance. Eric reports overwhelmingly positive responses by both clients and funders, and the company has thrived since its inception, despite being launched at a time of considerable economic turbulence.
As is the case with many clients, the Forum for Youth Investment came to us having exhausted its in-house naming process.
The problem they faced was to come up with a name and URL for a website that would act as a conduit for information, action, and contributions to nonprofits working on behalf of America’s young people. It therefore had to be appropriate for a diverse group of organizations whose focus was on young people aged from 0 to 20. This precluded the use of many of the most obvious terms relating to the website’s target (kids, children, youth, young people), since none was sufficiently inclusive. Yet the name still had to be easily understandable, and cover the broad range of purposes (information, advocacy, fundraising, etc.) that the website would serve. Added to this was the need to reach a consensus among the dozen or so members of the steering committee representing the sponsor group. The final challenge was the inevitable difficulty of finding an available URL using real English words in an already crowded area. The felicitous result, embraced by all the players involved, was SparkAction.org. Not only does this name embrace all the activities the website covers, it also serves as a call to action and an inspiration to those who are or might want to become involved.
A second phase of the project involved developing a tagline/slogan to accompany the name and make its purpose explicit. We Make Names' stirring solution was “For children. For youth. For change”. Again, this was enthusiastically adopted by all the parties involved and makes a prominent and effective contribution to the website and the organization’s positioning.
Avoid these common (but crucial) mistakes in getting to a name and you’ll reap the rewards.
Thank you for subscribing!
Have a great day!