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  1. Celebrity pet names

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    No, we aren’t talking about Jennifer Lopez’s endearment for fiance Alex Rodriguez (hopefully something more imaginative than A-Rod), or what Ariana Grande called her Beagle-Chihuahua (Toulouse), but the trend of regular folks naming their beloved animal companions after pop culture icons.

    Although classic names like Bella, Daisy, Max, and Buddy still top the lists, pop culture names for dogs and cats are on the rise. According to Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and walkers, the number of pet names influenced by musicians, actors, royals, and other celebs is way up this year.

    Somewhat newer kids on the block Taylor Swift and Khalid were the favorite musical names, though classics like Madonna and David Bowie are still rockin’.

    Names of the new babies of the English royals, and of Us Weekly royals, trended up too. Don’t be surprised if you find an Archie, Stormi, or Saint curled up in your lap. (Of course, that last really is doing double duty as Kimye’s kiddo and a classic canine name.)

    And they don’t have to be the names of real people to gain a following, Maisel (from Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) rose 1,000 percent in 2019.

    For those whose pooch or puss is their hero (or nemesis), there’s Harley, Loki, Thor, Flash, and even Thanos (yikes). Or if you prefer something even darker, Arya, Melisandre, and Brienne from HBO’s Game of Thrones were popular choices even though the show wrapped this year.

    At Catchword, our animal friends are, perhaps, a bit more modest, and their names reflect that. Doogie Mehta, our Stress Reduction Specialist, has been testing out furniture and staff laps for maximum comfort for nearly a decade.

    Mabel & Martha CypherCanine companions Mabel and Martha Cypher enjoy old-fashioned fun with their family.

    Snowflake is precious, but the ever-pragmatic Sutton family call her “Cat.”

    And Renny (a dog), Monty (python), and Pepper (gecko) Skoultchi live in harmony with each other and their human hosts, er, household.

    I currently have no animal friends at home. My family growing up tended to the traditional with dogs Muffin and Pepper, but we went full-on pop culture rerun when we adopted our cats Mr. Steed and Mrs. Peel.

    Whatever you name your furry, feathered, scaled, or other pal, remember their dignity. I recently found Bob, a neighbor’s golden-collie mix, on the sidewalk several blocks from his apartment. I checked his tag to make sure it was really him before I escorted him home. It read “Robert.” Well done.

     

     

     

  2. Catchword ends the year as #1 branding firm on Clutch Global 1000

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    Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews platform, has ranked Catchword #1 worldwide for branding in its annual report on Global Leaders in Advertising and Marketing AND placed Catchword in the #3 position for best B2B service providers in every category in its Global 1000 list for 2019.

    “With an impressive array of projects and clientele, superior knowledge, and attentive, detail-oriented customer service, the Clutch Global 1000 companies have established themselves as industry leaders both locally and in the global B2B market,” Clutch founder Mike Beares said in a release.

    The Global 1000 companies range in expertise from software development to design to digital marketing to naming. Catchword leads the agencies in this year’s list from Clutch’s naming services category. The next highest ranked naming firms came in at 16, 24, and 68.

    “We are thrilled to be placed so highly on the Global 1000, and to gain the top spot for branding as well, particularly after our recognition in June as #1 naming agency for the third year,” said Maria Cypher, Catchword principal and cofounder. “It’s the perfect way to close out a fantastic 2019.”

    Although Catchword is a dedicated naming firm, the 2019 report for Advertising and Marketing groups naming with general branding, and Catchword topped the list. No small feat given the fierce competition on Clutch for naming and branding services. Naming, in particular, has exploded this year, with 1,366 agencies listed as offering the service in June and 2,279 today. (For comparison, the total was 615 in 2018 and only 159 in 2017.)

     

    How was Catchword selected for these honors?

    Through in-depth phone interviews with verified clients, Clutch evaluated companies from 35 countries and 374 cities based on

    • quality and recency of verified client reviews
    • industry expertise
    • portfolio of clients
    • brand reputation
    • ability to deliver results

    “We are deeply grateful to the clients who took the time to give Clutch feedback on their Catchword experience,” said Catchword principal Mark Skoultchi. “The client and project details in these reviews are more valuable for potential clients than simple testimonials or star ratings, so we are especially proud to be a top agency on this platform,” he continued.

     

    What is Clutch?

    Clutch is the leader in connecting global service providers with corporate buyers from around the world. The ratings and reviews platform publishes the most extensive and referenced client reviews in the B2B services market. Clutch has grown by 50% or more every year throughout the past five years and is ranked #412 in Inc.‘s 2018 and #773 in Inc.’s 2019 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US and #27 in LinkedIn’s list of the top 50 startups. The companies Clutch helps come from the US, Canada, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and the Caribbean.

  3. Pride and Promise

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    Because most of our team is based in California, we don’t often get to see the products we name for East Coast retailers when we shop. So while at a Martin’s supermarket in Virginia yesterday, I’ll admit to a flush of pride at seeing Nature’s Promise prominently displayed in nearly every aisle.

    Catchword developed the name for Ahold (parent company of Martin’s, Giant, Stop & Shop, Food Lion, and others) for its private label line of more than 800 natural and organic products ranging from produce to peanut butter to paper towels.

    Nature's Promise Product FamilyRolled out more than 15 years ago, the line is stronger than ever, particularly as more and more shoppers think about what’s really in the grocery, health and beauty, and household items in their carts. In 2016, the company introduced its “Free From” sublabel for products that aren’t organic but are free from artificial ingredients and harsh chemicals. Earlier this year, the company added a line especially for children: Nature’s Promise Kids.

    Like most of you, I do my best to make healthful choices for my family—and I do love seeing Catchword names in print—so I expect I’ll be back at Martin’s soon. The pasta looks promising…

     

     

  4. Catchword recognized with 2019 Transform Award for Attain by Aetna

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    The Transform Awards has honored Catchword for its achievement in naming strategy for Attain by Aetna.

    “This year saw a 70% increase in entries and superlative work was submitted across all sectors,” Transform’s Antonino Lupo said. “The standard of entries was exceptionally high. Each winner demonstrated the imagination and creative power to stand out from the crowd.”

    It is the second time in as many years that Catchword has taken home a trophy—in 2018, the first year Catchword entered the international competition, the company received a bronze award for Soluna.

    “We are thrilled and proud to be recognized by the Transform Awards for the second year running,” said Catchword principal Mark Skoultchi.

    Attain by Aetna℠, which the company designed in collaboration with Apple, is a highly personalized watch-based app that helps Aetna members achieve their wellness objectives through straightforward, daily prompts.

    The app combines a member’s Apple Watch® activity with their health history to develop custom, achievable goals. And to help motivate members to stay on track, it offers rewards like a new Apple Watch or gift cards from popular retailers.

    The name Attain, bold and slightly tech-y in tone, instantly expresses the empowerment and satisfaction of achieving your health goals through daily activity.

    Attain’s brevity and simplicity suggest that working toward better health can be a straightforward process, available to anyone. And the name’s alliteration with Aetna (and Apple, coincidentally) helps make it more memorable and fun to say as well as offering a graphical symmetry between the company and product.

    The name’s brevity also ensures that it will appear in full in app stores and on small screens and be easily understood by customers with limited English.

    The app was announced in January 2019 and became available in the Apple App Store in early May, with about 300,000 downloads during the initial rollout.

    Transform, the global magazine for rebranding and brand development, honors and rewards the most innovative, creative, and successful brand work across the world each year.

    Congratulations to the Catchword and Aetna teams!

     

  5. Why apps and startups have human first names these days: Catchword’s Laurel Sutton in Vox

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    Dave, Marcus, Brigit, Oscar, Frank, Alice—old college buddies or new financial firms?

    You may have noticed that many money-related apps and services have human first names these days. News and opinion site Vox noticed too and asked Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton to help readers understand the trend.

    Financial startups are simply trying to sound more accessible…

    Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. ‘They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,’ Sutton told Vox. ‘That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.’

    Laurel Sutton - Senior Strategist & Linguist, Catchword BrandingLaurel goes on to explain the motivations behind using personal names as brand names, and the shift from naming a company after its founder(s) to the current practice of using fictitious first names.

    ‘Giving it some grand name that made it sound like it’s been around for 500 years would make people feel more confident that they could put their money there,’ Sutton says, and financial firms needed to sound ‘really big and strong and institutional.’ Family names—especially familiar ones with cache—convey stability.

    Read the full story on Vox.

    Great job, Laurel!

  6. Catchword-named Storyscape, narrative game from FoxNext, launches in US

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    Storyscape, the high-end interactive narrative video game series from Fogbank Entertainment-FoxNext, has launched in the US. Catchword developed the name for the game last year as well as titles for two of the rollout shows: Eternal City and Life 2.0. An additional Catchword-named title, Edge of Extinction, will release later this month.

    Catchword recommended the name Storyscape for its clear expression of the expansive, immersive nature of each adventure. Eternal City evokes the ancient, mystic metropolis of power-hungry factions, magic, and secrets of the first show. In Life 2.0 you chuck it all and start over in a new town, with new lovers and a new outlook. And Edge of Extinction conveys the desperate journey of the planet’s few surviving humans to find salvation after an apocalyptic plague.

    Players already love Storyscape, with more than a million episodes played during the limited beta release last spring, as well as rave reviews in the short time it’s been available in the US:

    “This game is seriously unlike any other.”
    “The artwork is beautiful and the stories intriguing.”
    “I love the stories, they’re well written, the visual design is unique…. I just want to keep going.”

    The Catchword team couldn’t be more pleased to see the game on Play Store and App Store. “It’s a game-changing game, so we are delighted but not surprised by the success of the US rollout,” said Catchword principal Maria Cypher. “Working in such rich worlds has been a treat creatively—waiting to play all the shows may actually be the most difficult part of the project!”

    Fogbank Entertainment, a wholly-owned FoxNext Games studio, was formed by veteran game makers, cinematographers, artists, and renowned writers to craft games that would reinvent the category. Storyscape immerses players in fresh stories that extend popular Fox properties such as Titanic and The X-Files or in rich new worlds of fantasy, scifi, horror, period romance, and more. Developed by award-winning writers from television, film, graphic novels, and gaming, the shows range in genre and style, but have one thing in common: every choice you make transforms your story.

    Fogbank has announced that new seasons and titles will drop often. Catchword can confirm that we are working with the studio to name more exciting shows (but we are sworn to secrecy on the details).

    See what it’s all about in the trailer, or download the app.

     

     

     

     

  7. Why banking apps and startups suddenly all have human first names

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    Dave, Marcus, Brigit — these financial products want to be on a first name basis with you.

    When you need some money to make it to your next paycheck, you can always call on Dave. If you need budgeting help, reach out to Brigit. And for a personal loan to get you out of credit card debt, try Marcus.

    That’s not to presume the names and financial situations of the people in your life: Dave, Brigit, and Marcus are all money-related apps and services that have human first names. Personable products aimed at your wallet are a definite mini-trend. There’s also Frank (student loans), Alice (automated pre-tax spending), Clyde (insurance), Oscar (also insurance), and Albert (savings, investment, and overdraft protection).

    Anthony Shore, the founder of brand-naming firm Operative Words, explains that these financial startups are simply trying to sound more accessible. “‘Let’s make ourselves chummy and folksy,’” Shore says, channeling a financial startup.

    Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. “They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,” Sutton told Vox. “That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.” …

    Full story

  8. Catchword: brand naming’s Clutch player

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    Since 1998, Catchword has completed 1,000+ naming projects with more than 500 companies across a variety of industries while pioneering naming best practices. We’re experts in every aspect of name development, including naming strategy and architecture, product and company naming, and linguistic and legal screening. We’ve met impossible deadlines and international language demands.

    Impressive statements, but how do our clients feel?

    We’re incredibly proud that with nearly 50 reviews on leading creative agency review site Clutch, we have a perfect 5-star rating, which has led to Catchword’s #1 ranking for the past three years.

    (And each review is the real deal—verified by a Clutch analyst in a personal interview with the client—which is why we are so especially proud of our rank, and confident when potential clients go to Clutch to research us, or our competition.)

    We know how challenging it can be to trust someone else with developing your company or product name. After all, it’s your most important brand asset. And it’s even more stressful when that name is needed on the double.

    One of our recent Clutch reviews came from SportsEngine, Inc., a division of NBC Sports Group that provides software solutions and mobile apps for 23,000 youth sports organizations and more than 15 million athletes annually.

    SportsEngine needed a new name for its all-in-one class-management software. Previously called SE Studio, the software serves studio- and classroom-based sports, such as gymnastics, dance, and martial arts. The new name needed to express the brand’s approachability and enthusiasm, and be instantly understood by studio owners, parents, and students. And another added challenge? With the product launch looming, they needed this name very quickly.

    After SportsEngine outlined its market dynamics and obectives for the rebrand, we got to work. We conducted an extensive audit of potential names, hosted focus groups, and worked closely with SportsEngine’s executive and research teams until we helped them stick the landing on the perfect name: GoMotion.

    We had a fantastic experience working with Catchword… Catchword is knowledgeable and cost-effective, offering outstanding customer service.

    – Jody Vogelaar, VP of Marketing, SportsEngine, NBC Sports Group

    (To read more about how pleased the client is with new name, check out their press release.)

     

    You might need your name yesterday or want naming help for the long haul. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) asked Catchword to become its naming partner long-term. In this retainer relationship, we work with teams at PwC’s global network of firms to name various accounting, tax, and consulting services and products for business. More than one of these team members honored us with a glowing review on Clutch.

    What stands out the most is their ability to turn descriptive naming into something that our stakeholders can get excited about.

    – Claire Monagan, US Brand Manager, PwC

    (Descriptive naming is what it sounds like—names like Interactive Tax Software that describe what the product does. As you might imagine, descriptive names are a little harder to get a thrill from than suggestive names like Vudu and Asana.)

    Basically, all we had to do was tell them what we need, and they’d get it done… We were working with groups of pretty tough stakeholders. Catchword was instrumental in helping us navigate those conversations.

    – Siobhan Ford, Global Brand Strategy, PwC

     

    To us, naming isn’t just about creativity; the ideal name also solves important business challenges and addresses critical market needs. Our approach sets us apart from the competition—among 1,830 firms, Clutch ranks us as California’s best branding agency. Catchword is also featured on Clutch’s sister sites: we’re New York’s number one naming agency on The Manifest, and number 1 in San Francisco branding agencies on Visual Objects. Let us show you why we’re #1—contact us today.

     

  9. Storyscape in Hollywood Reporter

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    Mobile Games Hotspot: New ‘Pokemon Go’ Content Incoming; ‘Mario Kart Tour’ Steers Into Halloween

    Elsewhere, FoxNext Games’ ‘Storyscape’ brings new ‘X-Files’ and Titanic tales to life, Apple Arcade debuts new titles and popular role-playing game ‘Black Desert Online’ comes to Android.

    The Pokemon Company looks to the future as details on new features coming to Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters in 2020 have been outlined. Niantic’s Pokemon Go will build upon its Trainer Battles, the current battle system in which players form teams to fight against other players. …

    Storyscape Brings New X-Files, Titanic Tales to Life

    Storyscape, a new visual novel from publisher FoxNext Games, has launched on both the App Store and Google Play. The game features four unique stories, including a tale set on the Titanic and another that takes place within the X-Files universe. New stories are planned as post-launch content….

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  10. MarCom Awards presents Catchword with gold for URSA: Music Extreaming

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    Catchword’s excellence in verbal identity has been formally recognized again this year, this time with a gold statue from the MarCom Awards for the brand name and tagline URSA: Music Extreaming.

    “We are absolutely delighted to receive the gold in our first entry into this prestigious competition,” said Catchword principal Mark Skoultchi. “The Catchword team includes several musicians, and we are all music lovers, so working with Ursa to name their innovative service was especially rewarding.”

    What is Ursa?

    Although consumers have many options for streaming music, most subscription-based services focus solely on maximum music delivery and curation/recommendation algorithms. This data-driven environment provides little opportunity for artists and fans to interact in meaningful ways.

    URSA is the first music streaming platform to be developed by veteran music professionals. Their mission to place artists at the center of the streaming experience gives listeners an opportunity to go deeper with the music and artists they love while they are listening. It is the only subscription music platform where artists can share content like photos and liner notes directly alongside their music. Expanded artist profiles and unparalleled artist account administration and features enable artists to truly shape their online presence. And music industry pros are called out with linkable song credits, a new avenue to discovering new music through the entire team that produces it.

    Catchword worked closely with the founders to develop an engaging, memorable name for the company and its platform that appeals to both artists and fans.

    The name Ursa recalls Ursa Major (the Great Bear, also known as the Big Dipper), lyrically suggesting a constellation of streaming services and the connections between music’s bright lights—artists, audience, music production team, and of course the music itself.

    The name’s layers of meaning unfold as the customer interacts with the brand, rewarding continued engagement, much like the platform rewards deeper engagement between artists and fans and listeners and the music.

    The tagline Music Extreaming succinctly conveys the brand’s deeper, richer way of streaming music and balances the company name’s abstract poetry.

    Ursa debuted at South by Southwest in Austin last March and is now available for download.

     

    The Awards

    The MarCom Awards honors excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals.

    Since its inception in 2004, MarCom has evolved into one of the largest, most-respected creative competitions in the world. Each year about 6,000 print and digital entries are submitted from dozens of countries.

    MarCom is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, an international organization of marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production, and freelance professionals.

    AMCP judges are experienced industry professionals looking for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.