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Congratulations to PSI Services, global workforce assessment and management solutions provider, on a very successful 2018, with major content acquisitions as well as rollouts of several new products. Catchword is proud to have partnered with PSI to develop names for these new solutions as well as marketing messaging for the testing giant.

PSI has been delivering assessment programs to help people achieve for more than 70 years. The company decided to enliven its marque with new messaging and brandable product names.

Catchword worked closely with the PSI team to develop a company tagline as well as names for three new technology solutions:

  • True Talent: a cloud-based assessment platform, including more than 500 of the world’s top online assessments for hiring and development
  • Bridge: remote proctoring technology that seamlessly connects with any test delivery system and supports every phase of assessment
  • Dimensions: a comprehensive and customizable platform for test generation, delivery, and reporting

The new tagline needed to express the company’s core business while resonating with the company’s varied customers: students, job seekers, academic institutions, and employers. PSI ultimately chose two of the Catchword candidates: “Testing Excellence,” to be used as a traditional tagline with the company logo, and “Where People Meet Potential,” to be used as a marketing message.

The double meaning of “Testing Excellence” makes it clear that PSI both assesses qualifications and provides premium testing technology. “Where People Meet Potential,” which conveys both the company’s role as a place to encounter your future and its ability to help you reach your potential, is a great summary of the company and now headlines the site’s Home and About Us pages.

Catchword looks forward to further collaboration and wishes PSI all the best for 2019!

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A brand name is a very, very short story. It’s a powerful tool to connect with the people you want to reach, a mental and emotional handle, a kind of shorthand for your audience’s relationship with you.

But what makes a brand name great?

10 Essential Qualities of Great Brand Names

Javiva is fun and refreshing

1. Engaging & memorable. Great names spark the imaginationwith a magnetic story—think Tesla, Asana, and Häagen-Dazs—or through poetic devices like consonance, assonance, and alliteration, a la Javiva.

2. Distinctive, provocative, buzz-inspiring. It’s called branding, not blanding. Vudu stands out amidst other streaming services, and Pandora, Rent-A-Wreck, and Banana Republic have all spun negatives into intriguing brands.

3. Appropriate for your brand. Fitbit Product ImagesGreat names authentically express your brand message, positioning, and voice. Fitbit Zip, One, Flex, and Force telegraph energy and simplicity. Nature’s Promise is the perfect umbrella name for Ahold’s line of 500+ natural/organic products.

4. Flexible and enduring. Will the name remain relevant if the business model changes, the brand travels to international markets, or cultural trends shift? Amazon is expansive; Book World, limiting.

5. Culturally sensitive. Is the name free of serious negative meaning in major languages? If the name is shortened, could that suggest something offensive? Virgin is edgy but works for its target market. Bodega is culturally tone-deaf—and got burned for it.

Roku Express, Premiere, Ultra6. Available and protectable. Is the name in the clear for trademark? Is the domain name available or easily modified with an intuitive descriptor? Non-English names like Roku—meaning “six” in Japanese—can be easier to own and protect.

7. Concise. Less is usually more. Multi-word names get abbreviated into meaningless initialisms, and names often need to be shorter to fit on packaging. Nest, Nike, and VW Atlas all get straight to the point.

8. Easy to spell and pronounce. If people struggle to say your name—out loud or in their mind—they’ll have a harder time remembering it, looking for it, and typing it into a search engine. Popchips is fun and easy. Lumada is bright and intuitive.

9. Natural sounding. Names should be aurally pleasing and appropriate in the languages of your customers. A portmanteau like Verizon rolls off the tongue, Jamba Juice is delightfully alliterative, and Eska sounds highly refreshing.

10. Visually evocative. A great name evokes compelling imagery to enrich the story and enhance engagement. FireEye conjures up intense vigilance, while the five dots in Kijiji visually represent a group of people—perfect for a name that means “village” in Swahili.

To download the 10 Qualities of Great Brand Names, click here.

A brand name is a very, very short story.

It’s a powerful tool to connect with the people you want to reach, a kind of shorthand for your audience’s relationship with you.

But what makes a brand name great?

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Who could resist the fun of assembling a ship from Lepin’s “Star Wnrs” line, or the fashion power of a pair of “Abibas” athletic shoes?

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Well, these companies from China and other trademark-uninhibited nations are oh so flattering, especially when it comes to the world’s most popular brands.

There are knock offs in every sector. Bored Panda’s collection of ridiculous ersatz brands lists 85, from fashion and food to toys and tech. Buzzfeed has put together a list of 23, and World Wide Interweb another 50.

The popular ranking site Ranker even has a page for the Crappiest Knock Off Products of All Time. Currently in the top two spots are “Arm & Hatchet” baking soda and “Donkey Donuts” (guess that would be just “Donkey” now).

If only the new names really delivered on their brand mashups! I’d love an haute-couture smoothie from “Dolce & Banana” or an adorably wrinkled permanent marker that comes when I call it from (you guessed it) “Sharpei.” Maybe a can of “Rid Bull” is just the thing to keep our elected officials alert and truthful.

But I’m not sure I’m ready for “S&M’s” chocolate candies or “Johnnie Worker Red Labial”(!) scotch, even if it is “Olded in Scotland.”

 

We all know, of course, that when it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. So whether your brand new kicks are Nikes, Nkies, Kines, Hikes, Likes, or Mikes, hope you’re enjoying the season with the folks you love!

Who could resist the fun of assembling a ship from “Lepin”‘s “Star Wnrs” line, or the fashion power of a pair of “Abibas” athletic shoes?

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Catchword is proud to announce that for the second year in a row, Clutch – the leading provider of ratings and reviews for creative agencies – has ranked Catchword as #1 among Global Leaders in the naming industry.

“The caliber of Catchword’s clients, paired with its consistent high marks for all elements of naming and superior client relationships, have kept the company in the top 3 for naming companies from the start,” said Clutch Business Analyst Jenna Seter. “They can now boast that they’re the first naming company to rank at the top for two consecutive years!”

With 29 reviews from blue chip clients such as Corning, BlackBerry, and Plantronics, Catchword averaged a perfect 5 stars across the four categories of Quality, Schedule, Cost, and Willingness to Refer — landing the company in the top spot in a field of 615 naming-service providers.

Clutch evaluates each agency through questionnaires and in-depth phone interviews with vetted clients, along with an analysis of market presence and overall experience. The client and project details in these reviews provide valuable, specific insights for potential clients and are thus more useful than simple testimonials or star ratings alone. Clutch’s platform now dominates the creative agency review space.

“Naturally, the whole Catchword team is thrilled to take the top position again,” said Catchword principal Mark Skoultchi. “However, even more exciting is the incredibly positive and thoughtful feedback our clients have provided about their experience working with us and the quality of our work. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

We’re delighted to ring out our 20th anniversary year with this validation, and we look forward to continuing to do the work we love for our outstanding clients.

“The caliber of Catchword’s clients, paired with its consistent high marks for all elements of naming and superior client relationships, have kept the company in the top 3 for naming companies from the start,” said Clutch Business Analyst Jenna Seter.

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Hill City name review by Catchword

Hill City name review by CatchwordSan Francisco-based apparel giant Gap Inc. recently launched Hill City, a men’s luxury activewear brand. The new brand is essentially a men’s Athleta (another Gap-owned apparel maker, known for yoga pants, leggings,  sweaters, and other day-to-night activewear for women). Both companies serve consumers who are looking to own fewer and better clothes (and don’t mind paying a premium for them), and both are B corps, striving to integrate sustainability as well as innovation into their business plan.

So what do yoga pants for men look like? Before you avert your eyes, read on.

Hill City offers comfortable, fitness-focused apparel made from high-performance, responsibly sourced materials. Shorts, t-shirts, pants, jackets, underwear, sweatshirts, everything you might need from workout to work to weekend. The look is clean and minimal. The colors are mostly neutral.

Hill City aims to redefine the idea of “high-performance,” expanding it from serious athletes to every man passionate about living an active life, however that may be expressed. As loathe as I am to use the term, this is truly “athleisure” apparel.

Hill City name review by Catchword

photo from Hill City

Currently, Hill City is an online business with sample garments displayed at select Athleta stores. Eventually the company may have stand-alone stores like its sister brand. Given that Gap is considering shutting hundreds of its namesake stores, building a new online brand in the growing athleisure space is a smart move.

But you’re here for a name review.

According to their website, the name Hill City was “inspired by the hybrid nature of our San Francisco roots – the smooth transitions between city and outdoors, the fusion of form and function.”

The colloquial nature of the name suggests a youthful, spirited customer. San Francisco, with a blanket of Millennial energy and angst laid across seven tourist hills, is well-represented.

City connotes sophistication, rubbing against the outdoorsy Hill and the casual attire. Contrast creates interest and suggests story, in this case, the bridging of the gap (see what I did there?) between comfort and high-performance.

Both Hill and City are basic vocabulary, easily understood by an international audience. By choosing these generic words, however, the name sacrifices some memorability and immersiveness. (As we learned in Creative Writing 101, the specific is easier to remember, and more compelling, than the general.) This tendency to the bland is really the only flaw in the name.

Hill City name review by Catchword

photo from Hill City

Graphically, the two words of equal length offer a nice balance, and its length makes it an easy fit on packaging and signage. Plus, the slash that follows the name in the logo does some nice supporting work, suggesting the hills of San Francisco and, more broadly, ascent of body (exercise) and spirit (aspiration).

(By the way, the slash is explained on the site this way: “From above, San Francisco is an organized grid. On the ground, it is much more complex, with unexpected hills, turns, and twists. Our logo signifies the versatility of our brand — its ability to shape-shift and transition. The forward slash, or ‘flash,’ signals the pursuit of continuous improvement. As a brand built on community, our mark is open-ended, representing an invitation to collaborate and progress.” Um, OK.)

Although Hill City may find it an uphill climb to gain share from market leader Lululemon Athletica and compete with Target’s cheaper men’s athleisure wear as well as the emergence of other online brands (hello, Amazon), its name fits the brand like a $78 pair of sustainably produced, moisture wicking, quick-dry, odor-resistant, UV protection running tights.

Contrast creates interest and suggests story, in this case, the bridging of the gap (see what we did there?) between comfort and high-performance.

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