What’s In A Name?

Apparently, that which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.


Once again I may be flying by the seat of my pants here but I’m convinced that what you NAME your product, service, company, child, whatever – could have a lot to do with it’s success. I think much has been said about this before, so I’m on to nothing new. Seth goes on about it. The Freakonomics boys explored it. But it struck me this last week when I read Henk’s post. Henk talks about the journey to naming his company, Skyrove, and I know he made a brilliant choice because you can see it on his face everytime he says ‘Skyrove’. He says it with pride and conviction and a little smirk in the corner of his mouth that tells me he knows exactly how damn cool it is.

In the last 9 months or so I’ve, together with different partners in different situations, come up with a number of brands. Amplitude. Cerebra. The 27 Dinners. Afrigator.

Actually, I wish I could take credit for Afrigator but I cannot. Justin was the brains behind that beauty (and it is a beauty) – and considering it was my job to come up with a sexy brand, he left me in the dust. When I think of some of the options I came up with I get nauseous. Now some of those brands listed above are strong and some are pretty weak (in my opinion).

So what’s in a name? I think a whole lot. In the midst of the dropped-vowels, web 2.0-ish naming trends of the last few years we’ve forgotten how powerful a really clever, pragmatic name can be. If you, like me, are in the habit of creating new things as often as you change your underwear (I don’t change my underwear all that often, you see), think harder about what you call it. Even if it’s a blog. If you don’t have the right name, don’t name it.

  • Hi Mike,

    I agree with you. And, it seems common sense that a practical name could have benefits.

    But, then, I stop and think about the exception to top all exceptions: Google.

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  • Nic

    Mike, I must agree with you. I think that naming anything from a child to a company or product is absolutely integral. In fact, that is the part that I have spent the most time deciding, changing, manipulating, altering and designing when I have started things off.

    Imagine naming a kid Sunshine Star Smith. Wow. Everything is in a name, in my opinion, everything.

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