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Dip name review from Catchword

Dip name review from CatchwordKroger is known for groceries, operating 2,800 retail stores under a variety of names. Food accounts for 94% of their total sales. Yet some of their stores, like Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace, offer non-grocery items as well, including apparel. Until now, these private labels haven’t been unified. But this week 300 of these stores will start carrying Kroger’s new exclusive clothing line, which they’ve named Dip.

Dip has a ton of meanings, most of which are a good fit for this brand. It brings to mind a tasty accessory, easy and casual, fun, festive. It proudly embraces Kroger’s status as a grocery giant. Kroger described Dip apparel as “simple, fresh and goes great with everything.”

With most of the pieces priced under $20, this is fashion you can “dip into” when you feel like it. Store signage further suggests the brand has a flavor for every palate: you can dip into style or action or cuddles or “awwww.” 

It’s immersive, brief but satisfying – a quick dip in the pool makes everyone feel better. And there’s more: price dip, skinny dipping, dip your partner in dancing, slang for leave abruptly, even diploma. All good.

However, dip has a few negative associations that can’t be ignored. Dippy, dipsh*t, dip stick, dip tobacco. For some of us Gen Xers, the connection with stupidity is pretty tight when the word is presented on its own. At least one marketing expert believes this negative connotation is a big mark against Dip.

Dip name review from CatchwordBut brand names don’t exist in a vacuum. Visual ID, tagline, packaging, and of course the product line itself contextualize and define the name. In 2010, the new iPad was lampooned for the name’s feminine product association, despite the word’s other relevant meanings. No one makes those connections now.

Dip is fun, memorable, and expresses many spot-on-brand messages. The stupidity connection will hang some folks up a bit at first, but the word’s positive meanings, supported by the brand’s positioning and marketing more than make up for that. I’ve already moved beyond it, and I haven’t even been in a store.

Ultimately, a small minority of Kroger customers may forever think of dipsh*t when they hear “Dip.” But if they see a cute sweater for $19, will the Dip label stop them from throwing it in the cart along with the cookies and cabernet?

The stupidity connection will hang some folks up a bit at first, but the word’s positive meanings, supported by the brand’s positioning and marketing as more than make up for that.

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Catchword's Soluna shortlisted for Transform Awards

Catchword's Soluna shortlisted for Transform Awards

Soluna, the name Catchword developed for the first blockchain infrastructure firm to supply all its own renewable energy, has been shortlisted for Best Naming Strategy by the prestigious Transform Awards – North America.

Catchword worked closely with Soluna, which launched earlier this summer, to create a name that would suggest the sustainable solution the company provides to the problem of exponentially increasing blockchain computing power use.

A coinage of sol and luna [“sun” and “moon” in Latin], Soluna tells a rich story, evoking humanity’s most fundamental aspirations – looking up to the great light in the sky.

CEO John Belizaire explained in his Soluna blog post about the name, “Our goal was to create a name that represented our ethos, our ambitious plan, and one that was unique in our field. … Soluna elegantly meets our brand objectives. … it tells our story the best.” (Complete details of the company and its name in this August 2nd CatchThis post.)

A coinage of sol and luna [“sun” and “moon” in Latin], Soluna tells a rich story, evoking humanity’s most fundamental aspirations – looking up to the great light in the sky.

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WGLT features Catchword in company naming story

WGLT features Catchword in company naming storyWGLT, the NPR affiliate from Illinois State University, recently interviewed Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton for an episode about company naming for its Sound Ideas program.

“Starting a business is hard. … One of the hardest parts is picking a good name. And good doesn’t just mean catchy or clever.

Laurel Sutton, naming expert at Catchword“A good name means it’s both appropriate and available, said Laurel Sutton, senior strategist, linguist, and co-founder of Catchword, one of the most prominent naming agencies in the world.”

Read, or listen(!), to the full story here.

WGLT, the NPR affiliate from Illinois State University, recently interviewed Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton for an episode about company naming for its Sound Ideas program.

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Catchword - marketing lessons from meal kit company names

MarketingProfs, the online source for marketing news and education, recently published an article by Catchword partner Mark Skoultchi on five lessons we can learn from the brand naming of meal-kit delivery companies. Read on for the full story.

Tasty Naming Lessons Delivered to You by Meal Kit Companies

Meal kit delivery is relatively new, but the concept has spawned fierce competition in the last six years. With a raft of similar companies vying for the same customers, the pressure is on for branding teams to make sure their company stands out from the crowd.

That process starts with the company name. And for those of us outside of the meal kit industry, looking at an entire category like this provides great naming lessons for how to differentiate our brands.

Before we tuck in to lessons learned, here is a list of meal kit delivery competitors (i.e., those that deliver ingredients and recipes, not prepared meals):

Name                                         Launched
Gobble                                        2010
HelloFresh                                 2011
Blue Apron                                 2012
Plated                                         2012
Chef’d                                         2013
PeachDish                                 2013
Home Chef                                2014
Sun Basket                                2014
Martha & Marley Spoon          2014
Purple Carrot                             2014
Green Chef                                2014
Daily Harvest                            2015
One Potato                                2015
Terra’s Kitchen                          2015
Takeout Kit                                2015
Dinnerly                                      2016
Amazon Meal Kits                    2016

As you can see, meal kit positioning has evolved. The very first entrants—Gobble and HelloFresh—chose names that telegraph fresh, tasty food.

Then, the wave of companies that really pushed the category into public view cultivated a gourmet, upscale vibe with names that suggest fine dining or home catering with premium ingredients: Plated, Blue Apron, Chef’d, Home Chef, and Martha & Marley Spoon (capitalizing on the Martha Stewart brand).

The next group courted health-conscious customers who care about sustainability, choosing names that convey plant-based superfoods and kinship with the earth—Sun Basket, Purple Carrot, Green Chef, Daily Harvest, and Terra’s Kitchen.

Most recently, market entrants have underscored affordability, with simple, straightforward names—Takeout Kit, Dinnerly (spun off from Marley Spoon), and Amazon Meal Kits.

Of course, in its branding and marketing, each company conveys messages beyond what’s obvious from the name. Most of those are common to the category: farm-to-table freshness, great taste, healthful eating, sustainability, ease, convenience. But focusing on the names themselves yields plenty of choice branding morsels.

Here are five takeaways from the naming of meal kit brands.

1. Suggestive, evocative names are a powerful way to occupy mindshare and engage customers in a new category, and they have greater likelihood of ownability for trademark and domain.

The companies that launched the category pushed meal-kit delivery into the public eye. The names (Gobble, Blue Apron, Plated) were suggestive enough to bring customers into the dining headspace while evocative enough to be memorable, distinctive, and engaging.

You might think that a descriptive name (such as Amazon Meal Kit) is most useful if you’re among the first to enter a category because it will help your customers faster understand the new concept. There is logic to that, but descriptive names are not as distinct or memorable. They can strongly imply affordability, which would be off-brand if your positioning is premium. Plus, descriptive names afford less trademark protection.

2. Names that use company differentiators to tell a unique story will help you stand out from the herd.

Look at how One Potato expresses the company’s focus on kid-friendly recipes by referencing the children’s game. PeachDish evokes fresh-baked pie on a Georgia table, perfect for a company (founded by a Georgian) that highlights new Southern cooking and hospitality. Those names successfully express the category attributes while also keying on differentiators.

Now look at the names Takeout Kit, Green Chef, Home Chef, and Daily Harvest compared with Purple Carrot, HelloFresh, SunBasket, and Martha & Marley Spoon. The former tell a fairly conventional and uninteresting story. The latter include at least one element to set them apart, such as an unexpected image (carrots are supposed to be orange, and what’s a sun basket?), the personification of an attribute (“say ‘hello’ to my little friend, Fresh”), or an unusual personal name (Martha Stewart married Marley Spoon?!).

Also note that names can convey more than one message within a unique combination. For example, because purple carrots are generally found only in modern gourmet recipes, that company name suggests upscale as well as contemporary, plant-based, seasonal food.

3. Concise, euphonic names are easier (and more pleasurable) for customers to say, type, and remember.

Keep it short and sweet. In their brevity, Gobble, Plated, Chef’d, and Dinnerly stand out from their longer competition, and their very construction conveys simplicity and speed.

That said, all the names in this category are easy to say, type, and remember. Some, such as Gobble, are even fun to say.

4. Personal names can help your brand stand out—if used right. Using a personal name in your company name can do wonders for your brand’s friendliness quotient. Oscar, the health insurance company, is a good example because it debuted in an industry that desperately needed a fresh, friendly face.

In the meal kit category, Terra’s Kitchen sounds like we are visiting “Tara’s Kitchen.” Terra means earth, which suggests natural, fresh, and sustainable. Martha Stewart smartly used her name’s existing cachet when she partnered with Marley Spoon. Plus, the alliteration increases the name’s memorability without becoming too singsong.

However, using a personal name for a company can be a bad decision for several reasons: too many already in the space, lack of fit with brand personality or tone, or the name could just be too long.

If you do opt for a first-name company, try for a name with multiple benefits or meanings, and think about whether it will restrict you in the long term. Is friendliness and familiarity right for your brand? What celebrity with that name will your customers immediately think of? Is that celebrity currently or likely to be incarcerated? (Here we invoke the Martha Stewart Exception. The orange jumpsuit gave her brand street cred. Who knew?)

5. Don’t be afraid to consider punctuation, which can help you catch customer eyes.

Some people don’t consider including punctuation in a company name because of possible confusion when customers type in a URL… but who types in a URL directly these days? Kidding! Although URL intuitiveness can be a concern for some types of ventures (especially e-commerce), punctuation can be an effective way to separate your name graphically from your competitors. Look at how Chef’d and Martha & Marley Spoon immediately stand out in the list.

Some punctuation, such as periods and colons, must be used with care (if at all), but apostrophes can be effective, as in Chef’d. The name expresses a point of differentiation—meals designed by celebrity chefs—and suggests a fine dining experience (‘d recalls maître d’), while the truncated word implies ease and speed, almost like the meal is already done.

* * *

They say the first bite is always the most flavorful. A company’s name is like that first bite: It leaves an impression that will either encourage you to chow down… or order something else.

MarketingProfs, the online source for marketing news and education, recently published an article by Catchword partner Mark Skoultchi on five lessons we can learn from the brand naming of meal-kit delivery companies.

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e-scooter in front of Tribune Tower, Oakland

When I was young, I owned an off-road scooter that I got from a yard sale. It had an extra-wide board for your feet, no brakes, and chunky inflatable tires. I used to make race tracks in dirt piles in the yard and little jumps to try to catch some air. It was great fun.

It turns out the fun never ends — in fact, the fun may have only just begun. Today, there is a vicious race to establish which electric scooter sharing brand becomes king of the hill. Don’t turn to Catchword for the scoop on which scooters are the scootiest, but we’ll happily share with you what we think of their names.

Electric Scooter Company Names

right outside the Catchword office (e-scooters are everywhere in Oakland)

 

Bird, like many of the other players in this space, was founded last year. It and Lime received big funding from the get-go and became extremely visible (to the chagrin of city officials) on the sidewalks of cities like San Francisco.

Bird is not a particularly pretty or elegant word, but a perfectly logical name for a dockless e-scooter company.

Flight is easy, quick, and liberating, and birds fly. It’s a compact word, like the tiny vehicle the brand represents. And the scooter even looks a bit like an egret or blue heron, long neck extended. Using a simple, visual word helps with memorability as well as international expansion (the company is launching a pilot program in Paris).

The metaphor has also now been extended — “bird-hunting” has become the phrase for finding and returning Bird scooters to their “nests” (designated pickup spots) — which further concretizes the brand story.

So at first blush the name may seem a bit of an ugly duckling, but it quickly shows itself a swan.

Bird

Grade: A

 

 

from LimeBike.com

Lime is a transport sharing company that offers bikes called LimeBikes, electric-assist bikes called Lime-E, and electric scooters called Lime-S.

We love the name Lime. It’s short and easy to say. The color is memorable, evocative and visual enough for rich branding, and is easy to spot on the side of the road. Plus, the cross-section of a lime looks like a bike tire. Like Bird, Lime has a presence in Europe and no doubt would like to expand further, so an international name is critical.

It’s worth noting that Lime started out as LimeBike and had to change the name after it evolved its business. Classic mistake. When developing a company brand name, always make sure you leave room for growth. (See Catchword Resources for more company naming advice.) Fortunately, in May of this year they realized the limitations of LimeBike and switched to Lime, which works much better as a company name.

Lime

Grade: A

 

 

SkipScootersDeck

from SkipScooters.com

Skip doesn’t have the market presence and media saturation of its competitors, and has only raised a fraction of the money (still millions, though). In terms of company name, it also lags far behind the top two in the space.

Skip evokes skipping the traffic, just a hop, skip, and a jump away, skip to my Lou… all carefree and fun, aspects that we like a lot.

The hangup is that skipping doesn’t connote the smooth motion of a scooter. There’s a locomotive disconnect that holds this name back. If it were the name of an app for transport sharing, it could be great, but applied to a wheeled vehicle, Skip takes a wrong turn.

Skip

Grade: B

 

 

from Spin.pm

Spin is another entrant in the scooter game that appeared fairly early on. As we know from the song “The Wheels on the Bus,” spin is what wheels do. And scooters have wheels.

This name falls into the same verb-name category as Skip, but is rather flat because of how directly related to scooting the name is. There’s no nuance here, no rich story to tell.

A perhaps even bigger problem is that Spin is so reminiscent of spin class, and a sweet scoot around town is really the opposite of laboriously spinning in place. (Also the name Spin reminds Alex of Susan Sarandon’s chain of table tennis bars SPiN, though he may perhaps be the only one who cares about that.)

Spin

Grade: C+

 

 

GOAT scooter

from rideGOAT.com

A new player is GOAT, which unlike the others, is based on a peer-to-peer model — individuals buy and rent out their own electric, dockless scooter, which the company coordinates through its app, rather than the company owning its own fleet.

The name is short, easy to remember, lends itself to visual representation, and contains the word GO. So far so good.

The company says it is based on the acronym Greatest of All Time. “Every time you ride GOAT, we want it to lead you to the best the city has to offer, so each experience with GOAT has the opportunity to be the greatest of all time,” GOAT co-founder Jennie Whitaker said in a release. That’s a cute idea, but we’re not sure most customers will get it without a sports context or without the periods (as in the LL Cool J album G.O.A.T.).

The bigger issue, as with Skip, is the locomotive disconnect. Goats aren’t known for ease or smooth motion. They’re stubborn, tough little climbers. If this brand wants to distinguish itself as the scooter that never breaks and can take you safely up the steepest hill, then GOAT is a great name, but we don’t see that differentiation in the company’s marketing.

GOAT

Grade: B

Today, there is a vicious race to establish which electric scooter sharing brand becomes king of the hill. Don’t turn to Catchword for the scoop on which scooters are the scootiest, but we’ll happily share with you what we think of their names.

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