Latest Posts

  1. Stanford’s WomenLift Health: Promoting women’s leadership with a name from Catchword

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    Catchword is very proud to announce the launch of WomenLift Health, a new nonprofit that promotes and supports women in health-leadership positions around the world. The initiative, part of the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, features a name developed by Catchword.

    “The Catchword team is thrilled and honored to be a part of this initiative, which will impact health across the planet,” said co-founder and principal Maria Cypher. Stanford Global Health approached Catchword to name the program last year.

    In the announcement introducing the program, Stanford Global Health director Michele Barry cites shocking statistics that illustrate the problem WomenLift Health will address: “Women currently represent 70% of the world’s health workforce but only 25% of leadership positions. Only 27% of the world’s ministers of health are women and 16% are medical school deans in the US. Of the 27 companies comprising the health sector of the global Fortune 500, only one is led by a woman.”

    WomenLift Health will catalyze sustained change by working particularly with mid-career women in lower-resourced regional settings to attain better health outcomes worldwide. The organization will invest in the leadership skills of these individual women as well as work to influence change in their work and community environments.

    Because empowering more women in the health sector benefits not only these individuals and their families but the health and well-being of everyone in the community, Catchword sought a name that could express this broad impact. With its double meaning, WomenLift Health elegantly communicates both the elevation of women to leadership and the elevation of health by women.

    As Stanford Global Health Director Barry said, “We know that when women lead, good health follows.” Catchword couldn’t agree more.

  2. Agari in The Seattle Times

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    Washington state officials have acknowledged the loss of “hundreds of millions of dollars” to an international fraud scheme that hammered the state’s unemployment insurance system and could mean even longer delays for thousands of jobless workers still waiting for legitimate benefits. …

    Among the criminal groups implicated in the fraud is a Nigerian organization known as Scattered Canary, according to a report released this week by Agari, a California-based cybersecurity firm that has tracked the African organization’s activities. The group has been running scams for more than a decade, working to steal Social Security payments, student aid and disaster relief funds, among other targets, the report said. …

    Full story

  3. Do you speak Covid? The new language of our times

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    Nationwide lockdowns are reshaping the world, and after just two months, our lives already bear little resemblance to what they once were. Here at Catchword, as we grapple to understand Covid-19 and its implications, we can’t help but see the vocabulary it is ushering in—from epidemiological and medical terms to government-promoted slogans to never-before-heard colloquialisms. Here’s a sampling of the lingo we’ve become all too familiar with.

    Panic Buying

    We’ve all experienced it: scarcity of toilet paper, Clorox, hand sanitizer, and flour; empty shelves at the supermarket; six-week delays on online orders. Panic buying, or the hoarding of products due to fear of a shortage, set in early in the States.


    Pronounced “R-naught,” R0 is a measure of contagiousness, representing the number of new infections stemming from a single case. In April, The New York Times reported that the Coronavirus has an R0 of 2 to 2.5, meaning 1,000 infected people will in turn infect 2,000 to 2,500 more. But this number shifts as new data becomes available, and communities can affect this number by simply changing behavior. In fact, our own Santa Clara County has driven its R0 down to as little as 1 after its shelter-in-place order.

    Anticipatory Grief

    The New York Times, Boston Globe, and a number of other news outlets gave us the okay to collectively grieve this month and attempted to help us understand our feelings of free fall, depression, and anxiety. Anticipatory grief is basically the result of imagining the worst. It’s the sinking feeling we get when the future feels unsure, when death feels imminent—ours or a loved one’s. While we all may process this feeling differently, NPR has some great suggestions on how to truly honor it.

    Herd Immunity

    An idea currently being explored in Sweden, herd immunity occurs when the virus is met with little resistance, spreading like wildfire across communities. When most of the population has had Covid-19 and become immune to it, they provide indirect protection (or herd immunity) to those who have yet to suffer its ills.


    A super-spreader is just that: a patient who infects significantly more people with Covid-19 than is expected or typical. An established 20/80 rule suggests that around 20% of people are likely to be responsible for 80% of transmissions.

    Flatten the Curve

    An early rallying cry in the US, flatten the curve means slowing the spread of coronavirus, so that fewer people need treatment at a single time. Through measures like social distancing, mask wearing, and sheltering in place, we protect ourselves while preventing our hospitals and healthcare providers from being overburdened.

    graphic by RCraig09 from Wikimedia Commons


    Alone Together

    We’re all feeling isolated right now. Alone Together, a popular hashtag, reminds us that though we may be physically apart—from friends, family members, even co-workers—we are in this together. It reminds us to forget our FOMO (fear of missing out) and find unity even in the most trying of times.

    Rona, Roni, Miss Rona, Aunt Rona

    Clipped from the longer coronavirus, Rona is a playful or ironic way of referring to Covid-19 when commenting on the more amusing challenges of our new normal. Though light in sound, it’s meant to be a point of connection (bringing people together in joint understanding), rather an exhibition of flippancy about the seriousness of the pandemic.

    Mask Shaming

    As masks become mandatory in much of the nation, feelings of both individual and community responsibility abound. Out of fear for one’s health or the health of others, or a desire to underline the importance of civic duty, some citizens have taken up verbally shaming others for not wearing a mask.


    Politicians who “forget” to wear masks in public, partying spring-breakers in Florida, the woman in the checkout line with 10 times the paper goods she needs … a Covidiot is someone who ignores public-health warnings and current social norms—sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of pure stubbornness.

    The Sidewalk Dance

    You see someone walking on your side of the sidewalk. They’re not wearing a mask, and they definitely aren’t looking to swerve. You skip to the other side, jump into the bushes or onto the grass, and then—breathe easy. We’ve all been there. In an article published on Medium, the sidewalk dance is described as the strange social-distancing move made by two people in order to ensure a six-foot berth, sometimes performed deadpan, sometimes with a smile or nod, and sometimes with a look of sheer terror.


    Once a term for privileged, middle-aged white women, Karen has taken on a nuanced meaning in the time of Covid-19. According to The Atlantic, Karens are obsessed with consumer trends and personal appearance and have a penchant for complaining loudly. In our current environment, Karens are making the rounds on social media for defiance of social distancing and government orders. But the result isn’t all bad; as The Atlantic notes, Karen memes are helping to highlight a certain type of privilege and major racial disparities among those infected.

    Zoom Dread

    As the virtual conference of choice, Zoom has taken over our lives. From digital workouts to online all-hands meetings, to book clubs and happy hours, Zoom delivers it all—straight to our living room. But for some, it brings people a little too close for comfort. The anxiety of taking yourself off mute, getting trapped in a conversation without a clear exit, or accidentally not signing off, Zoom dread is enough to make us wish webcams were never invented.


    At that start of quarantine, the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten, reminded us to “Stay safe, have a very good time, and don’t forget the cocktails.” We couldn’t agree more. Quarantinis, a cocktail imbibed while social distancing, are on the rise. Toasting from afar never felt so good.

  4. Five ways to future-proof your company name: How Brands Are Built guest post

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    How Brands Are Built podcast features Laurel Sutton 6/11/18As the world shifts to a “new normal,” How Brands Are Built—a practical and tactical blog and podcast—continues to share insightful industry perspectives for branders and companies nationwide.

    This week, Catchword’s own Stevie Belchak looks forward, providing tips for how businesses can future-proof their names. Offering up five practical tips, this is an important read for any company launching or rebranding.

  5. WomenLift Health in Thomson Reuters Foundation News

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    Solving health emergencies like the coronavirus demands the best minds the world has to offer – including women

    Geeta Rao Gupta is the Executive Director, 3D Program for Women and Girls; WomenLift Health Global Advisory Board Chair

    Jeremy Farrar is a Director, Wellcome Trust; WomenLift Health Global Advisory Board Member

    In February a now-infamous photo made its rounds on social media. Posted by US Vice President Mike Pence, the image, which showed the members of the US Coronavirus Taskforce, left many asking a single question: where are the women?

    This isn’t just a question of parity, it’s urgently needed. …

    Full story

  6. Top branding agencies

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    image from PixabayWe at Catchword like to keep an eye on our fellow naming and branding agencies in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and worldwide. Whether colleague or competitor (or both!), these folks share the branding lens through which we view the world, and truly get why we love what we do.

    Clutch, Agency Match, TopBrandingCompanies, and others rank and review creative agencies, saving clients a lot of legwork and agencies a lot of SEO effort. (We’d much rather be developing an awesome name for you than studying SEO.)

    Most of these rankers enable you to search for a creative partner right in your back yard. TopBrandingCompanies, for example, has put together a list of the Best Branding Companies in New York.

    Or you can search by specialty. Here is the TopBrandingCompanies list of Top Naming Agencies.

    Check ’em out!


  7. Catchword named top naming firm by Clutch for 4th consecutive year

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    Clutch, the leading provider of creative agency ranking and reviews, has once again named Catchword as the top naming firm in the world. For the past four years, Catchword’s expertise, brand presence, award-winning portfolio, and consistent 5-star reviews have placed the agency in the top spot in the Naming category of Clutch’s annual Top 15 Branding and Naming Agencies Report.

    “Branding agencies nowadays must help their clients stand out in an increasingly information-heavy world,” said Clutch Customer Experience Analyst Marcos Soto. “These agencies have been committed to creating the best results and the highest-quality customer experience for their clients.”

    Clutch collects in-depth reviews both online and over the phone. Phone reviews allow Clutch to learn deeper insights than other review platforms.

    “We’re delighted, of course,” said Catchword principal and co-founder Maria Cypher. “When we opened our doors 20+ years ago, there were only a handful of firms that offered naming. Now, the competition is fierce, and Clutch’s continued recognition of Catchword’s excellence is especially rewarding.”

    With 51 reviews from well-known brands such as Corning, NBC Sports Group, PwC, and Plantronics, Catchword averaged a perfect 5 stars across the four categories: Quality, Scheduling, Cost, and Willingness to Refer. These consistent high marks, together with the company’s significant market presence, maintained Catchword’s lead in the burgeoning field of 2,775. (By comparison, last year 1,366 agencies were listed in the naming category; the year before, it was 615.)

    What is 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.

  8. Clutch Names the Top 15 Corporate Branding, Naming, and Product Branding Agencies in New Report

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    Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews platform, announced the top 15 companies in each of its major branding specialties today.

    The specialities are:

    • Corporate branding
    • Naming
    • Product branding

    Clutch looks at a number of factors when evaluating firms, including their industry expertise, brand presence, and past awards. The main criteria is the company’s history of client reviews.

    Naming Agencies

    1. Catchword
    2. WANT Branding
    3. River + Wolf
    4. Tanj
    5. Tungsten

    Full story


  9. Catchword’s Maria Cypher does the math on “+” brands in Time Magazine

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    Time Magazine tapped Catchword cofounder and executive creative director Maria Cypher to offer expert insights into the plus sign’s rise to power in brand names and beyond. From entertainment and social media (Disney+, Google+) to fashion (Foley + Corinna, Mizzen+Main) to plain old PB+J, the plus sign has supplanted the ampersand, “‘n,” and “and.”

    “’The value of + is that it implies more, better, premium,’ explains Maria Cypher … , ‘without being specific as to content, scale, or degree of premium-ness.’ It suggests customers will be getting something extra without making it at all clear what that extra thing might be.”

    Read the full story at Time.

    And for a broader exploration of the appeal of “X and/&/+ Y” brands, check out this analysis by Alex Kelley, 10 reasons there are so many “X and Y” brand names these days.

  10. What’s in a Name?

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    There’s a lot more than you might think behind those whimsical insurtech identities.

    In the early days, Jason Keck, CEO of Broker Buddha, came across it often: “Oh! I’ve heard of you! I have no idea what you do. But I love the name.”

    It didn’t bother him one bit.

    “As a startup, brand awareness is your biggest problem,” Keck says. “Nobody knows who you are. But even getting the tip of the spear in there, being able to stick in their minds, is super important.”…

    There is, perhaps, a bit more: Laurel Sutton, a linguist, strategist and co-founder of the naming agency Catchword, points out that recent years—and recent recessions—have taught us that even lofty institutions with names built to inspire trust for generations are not necessarily more trustworthy than anyone else. Those of millennial age and younger have grown up in a time when the perception of friendliness, accessibility and a dose of fun are equally—if not more—important.

    “It’s entirely a generational thing,” she says. “Over the last 30 years, people have really played on that idea of, ‘Hey, don’t trust the big institutions. Trust the friendly, small entrepreneurs. We’ll take care of you. We’re real people.’” Why not, then, engage with a financial services app called Albert or a protection plan platform named Clyde? …

    Full story