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  1. From Accenture to Wawa—Namers name the names they wish they had thought of

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    In the noisy and often contentious land of branding, there is a community of elite specialists who work in studied tranquility as they apply themselves with monk-like devotion to their task.

    This is the domain of Professional Namers, the linguistic storm troopers of branding. They are summoned at a moment’s notice to create names for things – products, technologies, small businesses, global corporations, places. Anything that needs a name. They work collaboratively, often anonymously, and usually against impossible deadlines. …

    It set me thinking – are there any names produced by others that namers actually admire? To find out, we invited them to name the names they wish they had thought of. And here’s what came back. …

    Laurel Sutton

    “I love Twitter, and always have. It’s perfect for what the service started out to be (no matter what it’s become). It whimsically conjures up users sharing short little bursts of information (like birds twittering in a tree)—as well as excitement (‘all atwitter.’) It’s extendable, too: tweets and tweeps and twitpics. How often does a real English word capture the spirit of a product so well?” …

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  2. Indeed Flex in WhatNews?

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    British firms are increasing salaries rapidly to overcome the difficulty of attracting employees as pandemic restrictions are relaxed with increasing inflation pressure.

    According to data from the Federation of Recruitment and Employment, KPMG and IHS Markit, the initial salary increase was close to the highest level in seven years, and all regions in the UK. The job site Indeed stated that, in particular, hospitality companies are increasing salaries, and some companies offer login bonuses to attract employees. …

    “Companies are trying all sorts to encourage applications — even paying people to turn up to interviews,” said Novo Constare, founder and chief operating officer of the company’s flexible working platform, Indeed Flex. “A lot of people may have moved sector. Although they may want to return to hospitality, they may be scared of being let go or put on furlough again. They’re not ready to make that jump back yet.”

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  3. The art of the rename: How brands decide what to call themselves next

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    From football teams to pancake mixes, a lot of household names opted for new monikers over the past year.

    Some of them, like Pearl Milling Company, Washington Football Team, and Ben’s Original, renamed to rid themselves of racial stereotypes and slurs in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement that arose last summer. …

    “Renaming a company is a big deal. It’s very expensive and it takes a lot of effort, so there has to be a really good reason to change it,” Laurel Sutton, president of the American Name Society and cofounder of naming agency Catchword, told Marketing Brew. Catchword has worked on naming projects with brands such as Asana, FireEye, Upwork, and more.

    She said there are three reasons why companies typically choose to rename: a change of business focus, legal requirements, or when a name has become inappropriate for cultural reasons. …

    “With Aunt Jemima, both parts of that name were offensive,” Sutton explained. “The ‘Jemima’ part is this very stereotypical, almost minstrel-show representation of African-American women. And then the ‘Aunt’ part of it was the word used for Black women who were slaves or servants. So there was no way they could have kept either part of that.” …

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  4. Catchword recognized as top B2B service provider for San Francisco and entire state

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    Clutch, the dominant platform for B2B reviews and ratings, has named Catchword the #1 B2B firm in San Francisco and all of California for 2021. Leading a list of 250 agencies for SF and 500 for CA, Catchword received the Leader Award for the superior quality of its services, clients, and brand reputation.

    “The companies included in this year’s list have the ability to deliver for their clients,” said Clutch Sales Development Manager Jeremy Fishman in a release. “They are leaders in their field and show excellence in everything they do.”

    Clutch continually researches and annually recognizes top-performing companies in every industry, including creative services such as branding, advertising, and design as well as tech and business services. Criteria for selection include industry expertise, ability to deliver, and market presence.

    “The Bay Area is a hub for excellence, and of course California is the home of innovation,” said Catchword principal Maria Cypher. “With hundreds of fantastic agencies here, we are especially thrilled to receive the Clutch Leader Award again for outstanding performance on our home turf.”

    Clutch has contributed mightily to Catchword’s trophy case, with Leader Awards for San Francisco, New York, and California in 2018 and 2019 (no awards for 2020) as well as Clutch Global 1000 Awards (2018–present), Top Branding Agency Awards (2019-present), and Top Naming Agency Awards (2017–present).

    Despite the repeated recognition, Cypher doesn’t take the honors for granted. “Our deepest thanks to Clutch and to the many clients who took the time to provide information and reviews.”


    About Clutch
    Clutch is the leading ratings and reviews platform for IT, marketing, and business service providers. Each month, over half a million buyers and sellers of services use the Clutch platform, and the user base is growing over 50% a year. Clutch has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. and has been listed as a top 50 startup by LinkedIn.

  5. Clutch Recognizes the 2021 Top B2B Companies from California

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    Clutch, the leading B2B reviews and ratings platform, is releasing its listed selection of the top B2B companies in California for 2021.

    In recent years, California has put in the effort to encourage minority-owned businesses. This push is bearing fruit as approximately 2.1 million people are now employed in minority-owned businesses.Their commitment to an inclusive workforce is a testament of their tenacity and dedication.

    Clutch annually recognizes the top performing companies in every industry in order to put the spotlight on the people and companies that work round the clock to deserve it. For these awards, the criteria includes the visibility of the company, the reputation and quality of their service, as well as feedback from their former clients. …

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  6. Clutch Announces the 2021 Leading B2B Firms In San Francisco

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    B2B market research authority Clutch recognized the top 250 B2B firms in San Francisco.

    San Francisco is one of the world’s most important tech hubs. With a GDP of $501 billion, it is one of the largest economies in the US.

    The 250 companies on this list specialize in branding, advertising, video production, design, web development, and many others.

    In order to identify Leader Awards winners, Clutch evaluates a company’s services, past clients, and brand reputation. This process aims to determine a company’s industry expertise and ability to deliver.

    “San Francisco is a leading area for tech firms all over the world,” said Clutch Sales Development Representative Nicole Schlabach. “These companies represent the best providers not only in The Golden City, but in the global marketplace. Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, these leaders displayed resilience, innovation, and excellence.”

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  7. Long story short: Name review of Kindle Vella

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    Serialized fiction appears to be on the rise, though it’s not new. In the 19th century, avid readers waited on docks for the arrival of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. Even in recent history, it has had its charms: Starting in 1984, Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities spanned 27 issues of Rolling Stone.

    Lately, it’s become a thing again, a bit like tuning in for another episode of your current Netflix affliction, only one tidbit at a time.

    Until now, the serialized fiction platform market has had strong players in terms of business but brand names that don’t tell much of a story—or whose story is harder to fathom than Finnegans Wake. Canada’s Wattpad (whaaat?), Korea’s Radish, FictionPress, Royal Road, Moonquill, Dreame, Naver, the list goes on. The only relevant competitors, brand name–wise, have been Tapas and Webnovel (a common name for online fiction as well as the international platform of Chinese company Qidian). The naming muse in serialized fiction, alas, has largely been evasive.

    Enter the big dog. In April, Amazon rolled out Kindle Vella, its approach to the genre. (The company made other forays in the past, but this time they’re all in with a mobile app.) Now US-based writers can publish serialized stories, one short episode at a time, and are paid based on reader interest. Readers will be able to peruse the first three episodes of a story (at 600–5,000 words each) at no cost, after which they will have to redeem tokens they’ve purchased to unlock more. Authors will earn 50% of what readers spend to view each episode, though that won’t amount to much per reader.

    Vella, soon to be part of our one-click culture, is, unsurprisingly, on-message. The truncation of novella is a clear reference to short-form fiction, semantically and visually. Yet it’s also somewhat of an empty vessel, not overly tied to the word, so the brand isn’t limited in terms of features and benefits now and down the road.

    It stands out clearly from the competition as well as being a departure from the real-word name strategy we’ve seen from Amazon’s e-reader platform so far—Kindle, Fire, Voyage, Paperwhite, Oasis, X-Ray, and Touch.

    Because it is easy to pronounce and spell, and fairly short, Vella is also easy to remember.

    It works for the reader demographic for serialized fiction—very feminine, soft, and approachable. It’s got a lovely opening, a soft “V,” and a smooth “ah” closing. (In keeping with the feminine theme, the reputed codename within Amazon when developing the original Kindle was Fiona.)

    Googling the term Vella, at this writing, brings up an ad for a “women’s pleasure serum.” Normally we’d leave that right there, but it bears mentioning that a global behemoth need not worry about uses of the name by minor players doing completely different things with it, as SEO analyses will no doubt bear out.

    Creators of serial fiction enjoy the collaborative nature of it—writers get to work together, much like writers on a television series, and talk about what they are making. Fans are attracted by the suspense of waiting for the next installment, and the low commitment involved with bite-sized segments.

    Unlike an imposing tome on your nightstand, the serialization model, at ten minutes a day, is super digestible and always with you, right there on your phone. Whether the Vella platform is its sweet spot is TBD, but the name is spot on.

  8. Five minutes with Maria Cypher

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    Maria Cypher, co-founder and creative lead with U.S. naming agency Catchword Branding, speaks to Transform magazine about the ins and outs of naming, including unique challenges of company naming, the difference between company and product naming and why this is such an important part of a brand identity.

    What is the difference between company and product naming?

    Although there are many process similarities, company naming is usually more logistically challenging, with more stakeholders and greater legal and domain-name requirements. With company naming, it’s essential that the name not limit expansion into adjacent or entirely new business areas. This means that names tend to be less functional and more aspirational and metaphoric in nature.

    Maria Cypher, Catchword cofounderAnother difference is that product names can be localized to different markets and cultures, but company names usually need to travel well and resonate across borders…

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  9. The ethics of renaming

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    For many brands, it’s way past time to re-evaluate their resonance in the 21st century. Laurel Sutton, linguist and co-founder of of naming agency Catchword, writes that the cost of renaming a company or product might be high, but weighed against the cost of losing business, bad press, and perpetuating oppression, it’s a small investment for the greater good.

    Aunt Jemima. Washington Redskins. Uncle Ben’s. Eskimo Pie. For these US brand names, the time of reckoning had finally come, in the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests.

    Laurel Sutton

    Decades of demand for change finally lined up with widespread acknowledgement of the harm caused by everyday racism, compounded by very visible, effective criticism on social media. These names were always racist; but it took a nationwide social movement to get companies to acknowledge that fact, and concede that change was, in fact, possible. …

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  10. What questions would you recommend clients ask the marketing or advertising agency they are considering for their next project?

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    Experts recommend asking marketing and advertising agencies:

    • Have you worked on a project like this before? What about in this industry?
    • What strategies or processes do you use to execute on their client’s goals?
    • How do you measure success?
    • What am I paying for? What is the cost-breakdown by specific service?

    Choosing the right partner for an advertising or marketing campaign can be tough. Here are some tips from a few experts to help guide you in making the right decision.

    Understand Their History of Work

    Erin Milnes, Creative Director at Catchword suggests starting by asking potential advertising partners if any of their experience aligns with your specific challenge.

    ”What experience do you have in my sector and with my challenge? What is your process and who will be working with me? What deliverable are they responsible for?” Milnes said. “Then after interviewing the agency, ask yourself: Were you comfortable asking questions, and were they comfortable answering? Did their answers make sense? Rapport is critical in creative services.” …

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