Why Is 6 afraid of 7 for all Mankind? Rules on Numerals in Company Naming.


Plenty of companies use numbers in their name: Three Twins Ice Cream, Four Seasons Hotels, Six Flags, Nine West, and Crazy 8 are just a few. Using numbers is a great way to create a unique company name; it’s common yet not overused tactic, and when executed well can make for a distinct and memorable name.

So here’s why 6 is afraid of 7 in the branding world: odd numbers are simply more intriguing to our subconscious. Odd numbers catch our eye, they have an off-kilter allure to them that grabs us. What’s more arresting than Full Ten Communications? North of Nine Communications. Do we want a boring four guys or a divisible-by-two six guys making our burgers? No way!

Once you realize the rule of odds, you begin to see odd numbers everywhere. Have you ever noticed how most listicles are odd numbers? Maybe its because we subconsciously think, hmm, this person must really have 19 things to say because they didn’t throw in fluff to bump it to 20. It’s the same way at KFC—I don’t want chicken with an even 10 herbs and spices! I know it’s the best possible recipe because there are 11.

Of course, if the even number is part of an existing phrase, that’s perfect. Maybe in another universe they play crazy 7s in the three seasons, but not here. Or, if the even number is part of the backstory, that’s great too. Six Flags gets its name from the six flags that have represented Texas through it’s history:  Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. But other than that, for company names, odd does the job.

So the final question is, write it out or use the numeral? One distinction is that typically, long-form numbers tend to feel more formal while numerals, being shorthand, feel casual. And of course there are length considerations, too—just ask Twe–er, 20th Century Fox. Of course if you REALLY can’t decide, you can always mix and match, 7-Eleven style. Happy numeric naming!


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