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INTA annual meeting

The International Trademark Association (INTA) annual meeting is next week in Seattle, and Catchword will be there for the first time!

INTA annual meeting

It’s INTA’s 140th Annual Meeting, May 19-23, with 10,600+ brand owners and IP professionals from 150 countries.

The team is super excited to discuss how Catchword can help trademark professionals and their clients develop brand names that are creative, strategic, AND ownable.

Come see Maria, Mark, and Leena at Booth 371, and drop off your business card for a chance to win

  • a Fitbit fitness tracker — we named the Blaze, Charge, Flex, Force, One, Surge, and Zip!

or

  • a domain name of your choice from 60 options in competitive sectors like tech and healthcare, including premium names like Geopolitan, Claridex, Everprise, Shoppolis, and Zetect

See you there!

International Trademark Association

#INTA2018

The International Trademark Association (INTA) annual meeting is next week in Seattle, and Catchword will be there for the first time!

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Catchword 20th anniversary

This week marks Catchword’s 20th anniversary. Woot! woot!

To celebrate, we’ve created a splashy anniversary page to tell the Catchword story, pay tribute to all the wonderful clients that have worked with us over the years (and kept our halogens on), and recall key milestones, favorite names, and other naming successes, such as

  • Serving 500+ clients on 1000+ projects
  • Naming 3 films, 7 phones, 19 beverages, and 43 tech startups and spinoffs
  • Creating 8 brands that start with Z
  • Ranking #1 on Clutch

From very early collaborations with companies such as Clorox and Dreyer’s to recent partnerships with Uber and Kellogg, we’ve had the honor to work with market leaders in virtually every business space, and to name some of the world’s most prominent brands. Our deepest thanks to our clients, partners, families, and a truly incredible staff (past and present) for 20 fantastic years!

– Maria Cypher, Mark Skoultchi, and the Catchword Team

Catchword 20th anniversary

This week marks Catchword’s 20th anniversary. Woot! woot! To celebrate, we’ve created a splashy anniversary page.

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Catchword 20 years of achievement

You can accumulate a lot of numbers over 20 years.

Catchword 20th anniversaryOur anniversary is fast approaching (Saturday!), so we’ve put together a numerical tour of the past two decades. Kind of impressive, if we do say so ourselves.

 

Catchword named top naming agency in the world 2017

Catchword by the numbers.

1: rank given among naming agencies on Clutch

2: officesDoogie Mascot Catchword

7: phones named

11: Catchword team pets – 5 dogs, 2 hamsters, 1 cat, 1 snake, 1 gecko, and 1 shrimp (!)

18: years in Oakland’s historic Tribune Tower Oakland Tribune Tower wikimedia

19: beverages named

20: years in business

35 to 8: ratio of products and companies we’ve named that start with A vs. Z

43: tech startups and spinoffs named

67: times quoted in the media

120+: years combined experience in naming and branding of the CW team

500+: clients

1000+: naming projects

2016: year Catchword recognized by London International Awards for excellence in verbal branding

1 and 1: projects about zombies and larva (yes, we did, though not at the same time)

Stay tuned for more anniversary hoopla later this week! Or check out fave names and fun facts from ’98 today on Twitter.

#Catchword20

Our anniversary is fast approaching (Saturday!), so we’ve put together a numerical tour of the past two decades. Kind of impressive, if we do say so ourselves.

More

Catchword #1 Naming Firm on ClutchIn its recently announced Leaders in Naming for 2018, Clutch—the leading provider of ratings and reviews for marketing, advertising, and design agencies—recognized Oakland-based Catchword as the #1 naming agency for the competitive Bay Area.

It Started Here

Naming as a creative agency specialty began in the Bay Area, so it’s no surprise that the playing field is crowded, with 15 agencies listed as leaders on Clutch, and dozens more who offer the service. “It’s no easy feat standing out from the rest when it comes to the naming industry,” said Clutch Business Analyst Jenna Seter. “Catchword’s #1 spot is well earned.”

The award is not Catchword’s first accolade. Just four months ago, the company was named #1 in the world by Clutch, and in 2016, it received a Silver in the debut of the Naming category in the prestigious London International Awards.

20 Years of Naming Expertise

“We are thrilled to be recognized in this way,” said Catchword executive creative director and co-founder Maria Cypher. “Particularly as we approach our 20th anniversary on May 5th.”

OaklandTribuneTower-creditMcKinney Photography

source: McKinney Photography

Headquartered in the historic Tribune Tower, Catchword was among the first creative agencies to specialize in brand naming. Over the past two decades, the firm has created names for major companies such as HP, Starbucks, Canon, Corning, and McDonald’s, and completed more than 1000 naming projects for 500+ clients. Some of the company’s more recognizable creations include Starbucks Refreshers, Popchips, Chobani Flip, Fitbit Zip, One, Flex, and Force, Intel Optane, video delivery service Vudu, productivity company Asana, and freelance platform Upwork.

When Catchword started in 1998, Cypher explained, specialized naming firms were few. Most companies created their brand names in-house or asked their advertising firm to develop a name. “We knew that we could do better—needed to do better—because worldwide business growth means more competition for trademark and for mindshare.”

The solution was to assemble a team of naming experts from differing backgrounds—marketing, linguistics, law, design, media—and evolve a proprietary process for developing creative, strategic, and legally protectable names.

“We love what we do, and love doing it here,” said longtime Bay Area resident Cypher, who lives in Oakland and received her MBA from Stanford. “Like our team, the Bay Area is creative and diverse, the logical place for our home,” she continued. “We are actually the oldest tenant in the Tribune Tower and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Catchword #1 naming firmHow Clutch Assesses Agencies
The Clutch team ranked Catchword number 1 for brand naming based on marketing presence, services offered, work quality, and client feedback. Clutch evaluates each agency through in-depth phone interviews with vetted clients, along with an analysis of overall experience and market presence.

In its recently announced Leaders in Naming for 2018, Clutch—the leading provider of ratings and reviews for marketing, advertising, and design agencies—recognized Oakland-based Catchword as the #1 naming agency for the competitive Bay Area.

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We’re all familiar with the non-English words used as brand names, like Kijiji, Bodega, Prego, or Uber. We’re probably more familiar with intentionally misspelled words used as brand names, like Tumblr or Lyft.

Non-English names (especially European and specifically French-derived) can signal elegance, and are often used in fashion. Misspelling can be a cue that the company is techy, or an upstart.

With Phlur, you get both.

From www.Phlur.com

A misspelling of fleur, the French word for flower, Phlur is hoping you will be willing to skip the trip to the department store and buy cologne online. Specifically, Phlur’ll sell you some samples on the cheap, and then give you a discount on full bottles once you find the scent you like.

We usually stick to reviewing newborn names. Phlur has been around for over a year, but saw renewed press recently due to a round of fundraising. Since the name was a bold choice, here we are.

Both non-English names and misspelled names are meant to be surprising; they ask the consumer to go on a little journey with the brand. They are meant to make you take a second look. When well executed, consumers like that. But the heart of the matter is this: can English-speaking consumers handle a non-English name that is ALSO misspelled?

Zappos is one pseudo-precedent. The name comes from zapato, the Spanish word for shoes. But Zappos has many of the hallmarks of a good name in its own right: it has a double letter, a memorable Z to kick it off, and it’s fun to say.

Phlur doesn’t have that. Phlur is awkward to read, and the pronunciation takes work to decipher. We just aren’t used to that letter combination; the only word I can think of that starts with “phl” is “phlegm.” (A quick jaunt through Webster’s also cues me in to phlebitis, which believe me, you don’t want to contract.)

The scent names they’ve created are all elegant, and the copy is cheeky but informative. The scent Hanami, for example, is descibed as “Effervescent and ethereal; a butterfly ice skating.” That’s all great, but the name Phlur just isn’t quite elegant enough, and doesn’t read as playful and cheeky enough to be the face of the otherwise well-branded brand.

Finding an available trademark and domain name is always difficult, and doing so with a misspelled non-English name would be, in theory, much easier than with most other naming directions. (The options are less limited because the territory is relatively uncharted.) Perhaps that was a motivator for the company’s choice of Phlur. Exploring this territory for a company name could be a good call but only if you can develop one that works well on all levels, including pronunciation by English speakers.

I’ll tell you one thing. Phlur definitely got its domain name for free.

Both non-English names and misspelled names are meant to be surprising; they ask the consumer to go on a little journey with the brand. They are meant to make you take a second look. When well executed, consumers like that. But the heart of the matter is this: can English-speaking consumers handle a non-English name that is ALSO misspelled?

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