Latest Posts

  1. Dunkin’ Croissant Stuffers: Tasty’s baked into the name

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    Catchword is delighted to report that Dunkin’ has launched its new (and incredibly yummy)  hot sandwich: Croissant Stuffers!

    Dunkin’ engaged Catchword last year to develop names for a few new products. The first was a flaky croissant with savory favorites like bacon and cheese baked right inside. We know folks on the go don’t have time to guess what a menu item is, especially while rushing to work or school or looking for a satisfying snack. The name Croissant Stuffers immediately lets you know you’re in for some hot, savory goodness that will fill your belly.

    According to Dunkin’ fans, the portable breakfast is now available in Florida, which Dunkin’ South Florida confirmed on Twitter. Lucky Floridians can choose from Three Cheese, Turkey & Cheese, or Chicken, Bacon & Cheese.

    Croissant Stuffers may be our cheesiest naming project yet! Can’t wait till they make it to the Bay Area. Yum!


  2. Top 10 traits of great namers: Do you have the right stuff?

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    So you do Friday’s NYT crossword puzzle in ink, no one in your family will play Boggle with you, and you’re the first one asked to define a mysterious word. . . . Does that make you namer material?

    Here’s the truth behind what it really takes to succeed as a professional namer.


    1. A Way with Words

    You may love words and frequently fall down etymology rabbit holes, but do you have a natural command of language? Strong namers not only love words, but they know how to wield them. If you’re an eloquent orator, a journalist or poet, or a story-creating powerhouse, this could be the right job for you.

    2. A Good Ear

    Naming is not just about semantics; the sound and flow of a name can also evoke feeling. On any given day, you might be called on to create euphony through alliteration (think: Firefox), establish a technical feel through hard consonants (like Zyrtec or Optane), or make a name feel more friendly (see Mochidoki). Having a good ear surely helps!

    3. A Brain for Business

    You might think the best namers are English or Linguistics PhDs, but those distinctions aren’t enough. A good namer adeptly maneuvers in any business setting, and frequently pitches and presents to CEOs, CMOs, and technical product managers. Must-haves in the naming toolbox? An understanding of competitive space, differentiation, the environments in which a client’s brand will live, and the ability to talk the talk.

    4. Killer Curiosity

    Curiosity might kill cats but it surely drives namers. You might be naming a line of beans one day, a highly technical application suite the next, and a jetliner in the days that follow. Being excited to learn about all these innovations is critical to success.

    5. Serious Stamina

    Many people believe namers huddle in a room (possibly with alcohol) and volley ideas back and forth till they land a few winners. Many people would be wrong. At Catchword, we believe quantity and quality are tightly correlated—not just because of the many messages, styles, languages, and constructions that can be explored, but because names must clear the countless hurdles of trademark and domain availability, cultural and linguistic appropriateness, and human subjectivity. We create well over a thousand names for a typical project.

    6. Creative Flair

    Do you see ideas—not storefronts—when you walk down the street? Are you constantly pushing the status quo? That ideaphoria that keeps you up at night will come in handy as you’re called upon to name another Product X in a seriously saturated category, Naming calls for daring (think Virgin or Vudu), out-of-the-box thinking (see Monster or Asana), and serious word play (visit our game PopNamer to see what fun can be had).

    7. Thick Skin

    A name might remind Client A of his dog’s rash, or Client B of the restaurant where she ate bad tuna in 2004. And why can’t these names—immediately, without any context or marketing support—seem as clever as Google or Twitter? As strong opinions fly in meetings and names get crossed off for less-than-solid reasons, namers need to keep emotions in check and calmly guide their clients to more objective and reasoned choices.

    8. A Mediator’s Mindset

    Part science and part art, naming can—at times—be incredibly divisive. Clients evaluating names oftentimes find themselves on different sides of the fence: she says Apple, and he says Oracle. As a namer, it’s your job to reconcile these differing opinions and to provide the necessary tools for decision-making.

    heart pages from PickPik royalty free images

    9. The Right Resources

    Did you know that there are multiple dictionaries dedicated entirely to slang, and Merriam-Webster admits hundreds of new words, pronunciations, and meanings to the dictionary each year? In today’s industry, it’s critical to know not just words but where to find them. From traditional dictionaries and glossaries to obscure resources like Foyle’s Philavery to newer sites like Wordnik, having the right tools can get you halfway there.

    10. Love for (Pop) Culture

    When showing a restaurant chain names for its new bone-chilling drink, you need to know that Ice Age shouldn’t make the cut because of the movie franchise’s marketing tie-ins with another well-known restaurant. Namers need to always be up on news and pop culture, watching language emerge and evolve, cheering it on…and keeping tabs. At Catchword, The New Yorker sits alongside People, and we’re enthusiastic consumers of Netflix, live music, and TechCrunch, and keeper-uppers on politics, world news, and all things media.

  3. Goodbye, Storyscape. We’ll miss you!

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    We are very sad to report that Storyscape, the groundbreaking narrative game developed by Fogbank Entertainment shut down permanently on Monday as a result of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox and subsequent reorganizing. Fogbank was a subsidiary of FoxNext Games but was not part of that division’s sale by Disney to interactive entertainment and mobile game company Scopely.

    In the beautifully illustrated Storyscape, every choice you made transformed your story. And the stories spanned genres, from well-known properties like the “X-Files” and “Titanic” to entirely new creations like the dark fantasy “Eternal City” and rom-com “Life 2.0.” The game has only been available worldwide since late October.

    The Catchword team was delighted to name the platform as well as the new story titles and was working with Fogbank on several more. For a fantasy and sci-fi geek like me, the Storyscape series was a dream project, and I loved playing the games.

    Of course, we at Catchword aren’t the only disappointed fans. The Gamer and other industry mags reported the outcry: “Many have lamented the loss of such an innovative game that celebrates and features prominent and positive LGBTQ+, racial and gender diversity representation.”

    With more than 1.7 million installs of the game, and more titles and seasons in development, we hope that there will be another life for Storyscape. Several fans even started a petition to keep the game going, which has now been edited to show appreciation to the game development team.

    It’s likely that these titles are gone for good. The impact of Storyscape on narrative gaming, however, is indelible. This bar can’t be unraised.

    We look forward to seeing where narrative gaming goes from here and wish all the best to the Fogbank team.





  4. Biotech innovator Kyn Therapeutics rebrands with new name from Catchword: Ikena

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    Kyn Therapeutics has rebranded this month with a new name from Catchword: Ikena Oncology.

    “Ikena Oncology represents the growth and evolution of our vision, strategy, capabilities, and values,” president and CEO Mark Manfredi commented in a release. “As we launch our new corporate identity, we anticipate an exciting 2020 that includes multiple clinical and regulatory milestones.”

    The Boston-based, clinical-stage biotechnology company, founded in 2016, discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is currently advancing five programs.

    The name Kyn was chosen when the company was founded to speak to the company’s breakthrough work around the kynurenine-degrading enzyme they called Kynase. But the company quickly expanded its explorations to more programs while continuing to develop Kynase. (Earlier this year, the company entered into a global strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation, now Bristol-Myers Squibb, for the development of the Kynase program.)

    “Mark Manfredi and his team envision a world where every cancer patient has a cure. Such an expansive vision needs to be matched with a big, aspirational name, rather than one that references a particular treatment,” Catchword creative director Erin Milnes explained.

    Catchword recommended the elegant and many-layered Ikena, a Hawaiian word meaning “vista, perspective, knowledge.” It’s easy to say and remember, particularly for an international audience.

    The name recalls “I ken,” suggesting the empowerment of understanding the individual patient, as well as “I can,” reflecting the company’s positive approach. And the “K” connects with the legacy of the names Kyn and Kynase.

    Congratulations to Mark and the entire team at Ikena! It’s an honor and a pleasure to see names we have developed attached to such important work.




  5. 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, 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.




  6. 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.

  7. 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…



  8. 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!


  9. 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!

  10. 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.