Taking the High Road: The Hightail Name Review


We often talk about how our naming consultancy deliberately chose not to brand ourselves using a name that incorporated the word “name.” We knew that our industry was awash with those kinds of names, which tend to be flat and one-dimensional. Not only would we fail to distinguish ourselves, but we’d also be making it difficult to expand in new directions in the future. Hence, the name Catchword: which evokes the dynamic and elusive nature of the work we do (to capture the very essence of a brand in a word), and also serves as an ample umbrella for other forms of verbal branding (such as creating taglines).

It’s a good brand naming lesson for any company that’s tempted to adopt an overly literal and descriptive name for its enterprise. Case-in-point: YouSendit, the cloud storage company that recently rebranded itself as Hightail. YouSendit started as a webpage workaround for sending files too big to email. So at least the name made sense when the offering launched (even though it wasn’t exactly exciting). But when the company’s product offering morphed into a cloud storage platform, the name no longer fit.

The company’s new name, Hightail, does more than solve that problem. It also brings energy and a wider vision to the brand. Hightail evokes speed and movement, as well as birds and high, open spaces: all apt associations for a cloud storage platform. And by not going literal and incorporating words like “cloud” or “backup” in the name, the company has elevated the brand from competitors’ names that do. The name Hightail also leaves plenty of room for future growth by avoiding the trap of specificity.

Yes, for some folks the top-of-mind association with “hightail” will be “to retreat.” So the name’s not perfect. (Few are.) But as a renaming effort, Hightail is head and shoulders above YouSendit.

Overall Grade: A-

Final Grade:



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