Latest Posts

  1. Baby naming, influencer culture, and personal branding: Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton on Baby Names Podcast

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    Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton recently spoke with BabyNames.com about celebrity names (baby and otherwise), personal brands, and other namely things on its podcast.

    How different is naming a brand from naming a baby? Listen to Baby Names Podcast #26 and find out.

     

     

  2. Pardon my French: Name review of Bonvoy

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    Though Hotel giant Marriott acquired fellow giant Starwood (master brand of Sheraton, Westin, W, etc.) almost two years ago, their loyalty programs just became integrated this year, under the new name Bonvoy.

    With their merger finally consummated, the hotel chains can take their Parisian honeymoon knowing they don’t have to fight over who gets the rewards points. Très cool!

     

    from https://meetmarriottbonvoy.marriott.com

     

    Bonvoy is what we in the biz call a suggestive coined word — it isn’t real, but it is clearly derived from real words — in this case, “bon voyage” and to some extent “envoy.” In a video introducing the name, a suave narrator says, “Bonvoy means ‘good travel,’ and ‘good travel’ guides everything we do.”

    The people especially targeted by the rewards program are the mega-hotel users: the people who travel a lot, for work or pleasure. And this name has the perfect tonality for this group.

    Responses to the merger of the programs have been mixed, as have been reactions to the new name. (It’s generally hard to disentangle customer feelings about a name from their feelings about the brand, especially when change is involved.)

    Bonvoy clearly retains a heavy French flavor. And as you may have read about on this blog before, we Americans have a thing for European-sounding words. French and Italian especially sound classy to us. Like maybe if you sign up for Bonvoy you can get a Bordeaux delivered to your room. Maybe with some bleu cheese. Unless you don’t think we have time for an amuse-bouche before the chauffeur arrives, mon cherie? … Okay, I’ll stop.

    I have two more small points to make. One, the deeper sounding vowels give the name a nice gravitas, complementing and supporting its French elegance as well as rhythmic balance, which can make a name more memorable and easier to pronounce.

    Which leads me to Point Two: the name has zero pronunciation issues for English speakers, which is important to pay attention to with coined and non-English-derived names. Even people who like to contrive pronunciation issues, like your friend who insists on ordering a “kwa-sánt” at Starbucks, won’t be able to mess up Bonvoy.

    Great name!

  3. Clutch names Catchword #1 marketing/advertising agency in New York and San Francisco

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    Clutch, the leading provider of ratings and reviews for B2B agencies, just released its annual list of the best advertising and marketing agencies for New York and for the San Francisco Bay Area. We are very proud to announce Catchword was ranked #1 on both!

    To our dear readers, this may sound like more of the same — after all, just a few months ago Catchword announced that it was ranked #1 naming agency worldwide by Clutch for the second year in a row — but this time the competitive field includes all marketing and advertising agencies.

    Or it may seem like a head-scratcher — Catchword is a naming agency, not a traditional advertising or marketing agency — however, Clutch groups Naming, Advertising, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Market Research, Branding, PR, and many other specialties in the category Advertising and Marketing and ranks the entire group as a unit in its city lists.

    Any way you slice it, it means that Clutch and our wonderful clients have given Catchword perfect marks, placing our agency at the top in both our beloved homes.

    Exactly how did we get here? Clutch evaluates hundreds of agencies internationally through questionnaires and in-depth phone interviews with vetted clients, along with an analysis of market presence and overall experience. The agencies in each location are then ranked in their specialty as well as under the umbrella category of Advertising and Marketing, and the leaders are selected for inclusion in the annual list.

    The competition is fierce, with 78 advertising/marketing agencies listed as leaders in San Francisco and 121 in New York. And as Clutch said in its media release, all the companies listed “excel in their respective fields by providing outstanding customer service, industry expertise, and results.”

    All of us at Catchword are deeply grateful to our clients for taking the time to share their feedback with Clutch. We couldn’t be more proud.

     

     

     

  4. Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton to present “It’s a Wrap,” an exploration of fast food naming, March 13 in San Francisco

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    Catchword’s very own Laurel Sutton will speak at the fifth meeting of Intellectual Semicircle, a group founded to connect the world of technology with the ethos of humanities and social science, in San Francisco on March 13th.  The evening’s theme is names:

    “To name is to define, to create, to reinvent. Naming can be an act of denigration or liberation. Who has the power to name? Who has the right to rename? What do the names we chose reveal about ourselves? This meeting will explore the mystery of naming—examining the power of names to shape our desires, dreams, and even the world around us.”

    As a linguist as well as professional namer, Laurel will provide insight into the names of fast food and how they reflect our culture.

    The other featured speaker is Chef and Ohlone activist Vincent Medina (co-founder of Mak-‘amham & Cafe Ohlone), who will discuss the original indigenous names of the California landscape.

    The event will be held at the historic Mechanics’ Institute in downtown San Francisco. There is no charge for entry, but please RSVP.

    Don’t miss this wonderful conversation!

    When: Wednesday, March 13, 6:30-8:30 pm
    Where: 4th Floor Meeting Room at the Mechanics Institute, 57 Post Street
    What to Bring: Your intellect, curiosity, and maybe a bottle of wine.
    There will be a post-meeting reception from 8:30-10pm next door at the Dada Bar (65 Post Street).

     

  5. Catchword-named Gainbridge off to a flying start with Indy 500 sponsorship

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    The Indianapolis 500 has a new presenting sponsor, and it bears a Catchword name.

    Gainbridge, a recently formed online financial services agency, has penned a four-year deal to become the Indy 500’s headline sponsor. The company will also become the official life insurance and annuity partner for INDYCAR, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indy 500.

    Gainbridge made the announcement last week during a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway featuring Indiana governor Eric Holcomb; Dan Towriss, president and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Group 1001 (Gainbridge’s parent company); Hulman & Company president and CEO Mark Miles; and Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Douglas Boles.

    “We welcome Gainbridge to this new partnership with ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” Miles said in a release. “Gainbridge offers a bold, new way to steady growth, and we’re honored that the platform is being launched through this association with the Indianapolis 500–an exciting global event with a rich history and a bright, dynamic future.”

    Catchword worked closely with Gainbridge parent Group 1001 (formerly Delaware Life) last year to name the new company, which offers ordinary people a streamlined path to financial security through annuities and other financial products.

    “The name Gainbridge makes it clear that the company’s process, terms, and entire experience are straightforward and empowering for customers, a bridge to abundance and a bright future,” said Catchword principal Mark Skoultchi. “Congratulations to Gainbridge and Group 1001!”

    Added Catchword Creative Director Erin Milnes, “I am totally stoked to see a Catchword-developed name fly above the speedway! And what a thrilling way to roll out a new company. Gainbridge, start your engines!”

    The 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  6. Aetna and Apple team up on Attain, new healthcare program named by Catchword

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    Health insurance giant Aetna has partnered with Apple for its new health and wellness experience, Attain. Catchword worked closely with Aetna last year to name the first-of-its-kind program.

    Attain combines a member’s health history with their Apple Watch® activity to provide personalized goals, achievable actions, and big rewards—such as an Apple Watch or gift cards from popular retailers.

    Aetna announced the program this week, the culmination of a collaboration with Apple begun in 2016, and part of the company’s broader effort to encourage members to improve their health. Attain will become available in the Apple App Store this spring.

    “We’re thrilled to see Attain becoming a reality,” said Catchword principal and project lead Mark Skoultchi. “The name Attain‘s alliteration with “Aetna” helps make it memorable, while its confident and simple message inspires users to achieve their health goals,” he continued. “Catchword is very proud of the name and to contribute in our small way to the wellness movement.”

    Aetna is part of CVS Health, a leading health innovation company, including more than 9,800 retail locations, 1,100 walk-in clinics, and approximately 93 million health insurance plan members.

  7. Catchword named top branding agency by DesignRush

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    DesignRush, a leading B2B directory for finding creative and design agencies, has named Catchword as a top branding agency for 2019. DesignRush cited Catchword’s impressive portfolio, client list, & case studies, industry reputation and thought leadership, and team expertise as the factors that set Catchword apart from its competition.

    Catchword is a dedicated brand name development firm that has been creating industry-leading product, service, and company names since 1998.

    “We’re delighted to be recognized by DesignRush,” said Catchword co-founder Maria Cypher. “I’m extremely grateful to our clients, partners, and team for making Catchword the incredible naming agency it’s become over these 20 years.”

    DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with agencies. It analyzes and ranks hundreds of agencies to help companies find the best partners in branding as well as design, digital, marketing, advertising, and PR.

  8. Testing giant PSI Services wraps 2018 with new names and messaging courtesy of Catchword

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    Congratulations to PSI Services, global workforce assessment and management solutions provider, on a very successful 2018, with major content acquisitions as well as rollouts of several new products. Catchword is proud to have partnered with PSI to develop names for these new solutions as well as marketing messaging for the testing giant.

    PSI has been delivering assessment programs to help people achieve for more than 70 years. The company decided to enliven its marque with new messaging and brandable product names.

    Catchword worked closely with the PSI team to develop a company tagline as well as names for three new technology solutions:

    • True Talent: a cloud-based assessment platform, including more than 500 of the world’s top online assessments for hiring and development
    • Bridge: remote proctoring technology that seamlessly connects with any test delivery system and supports every phase of assessment
    • Dimensions: a comprehensive and customizable platform for test generation, delivery, and reporting

    The new tagline needed to express the company’s core business while resonating with the company’s varied customers: students, job seekers, academic institutions, and employers. PSI ultimately chose two of the Catchword candidates: “Testing Excellence,” to be used as a traditional tagline with the company logo, and “Where People Meet Potential,” to be used as a marketing message.

    The double meaning of “Testing Excellence” makes it clear that PSI both assesses qualifications and provides premium testing technology. “Where People Meet Potential,” which conveys both the company’s role as a place to encounter your future and its ability to help you reach your potential, is a great summary of the company and now headlines the site’s Home and About Us pages.

    Catchword looks forward to further collaboration and wishes PSI all the best for 2019!

  9. The 10 essential qualities of great brand names

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    A brand name is a very, very short story. It’s a powerful tool to connect with the people you want to reach, a mental and emotional handle, a kind of shorthand for your audience’s relationship with you.

    But what makes a brand name great?

    10 Essential Qualities of Great Brand Names

    Javiva is fun and refreshing
    1. Engaging & memorable. Great names spark the imaginationwith a magnetic story—think Tesla, Asana, and Häagen-Dazs—or through poetic devices like consonance, assonance, and alliteration, a la Javiva.

    Vudu2. Distinctive, provocative, buzz-inspiring. It’s called branding, not blanding. Vudu stands out amidst other streaming services, and Pandora, Rent-A-Wreck, and Banana Republic have all spun negatives into intriguing brands.

    3. Appropriate for your brand. Fitbit Product ImagesGreat names authentically express your brand message, positioning, and voice. Fitbit Zip, One, Flex, and Force telegraph energy and simplicity. Nature’s Promise is the perfect umbrella name for Ahold’s line of 500+ natural/organic products.

    4. Flexible and enduring. Will the name remain relevant if the business model changes, the brand travels to international markets, or cultural trends shift? Amazon is expansive; Book World, limiting.

    5. Culturally sensitive. Is the name free of serious negative meaning in major languages? If the name is shortened, could that suggest something offensive? Virgin is edgy but works for its target market. Bodega is culturally tone-deaf—and got burned for it.

    Roku Express, Premiere, Ultra6. Available and protectable. Is the name in the clear for trademark? Is the domain name available or easily modified with an intuitive descriptor? Non-English names like Roku—meaning “six” in Japanese—can be easier to own and protect.

    7. Concise. Less is usually more. Multi-word names get abbreviated into meaningless initialisms, and names often need to be shorter to fit on packaging. Nest, Nike, and VW Atlas all get straight to the point.

    8. Easy to spell and pronounce. If people struggle to say your name—out loud or in their mind—they’ll have a harder time remembering it, looking for it, and typing it into a search engine. Popchips is fun and easy. Lumada is bright and intuitive.

    9. Natural sounding. Names should be aurally pleasing and appropriate in the languages of your customers. A portmanteau like Verizon rolls off the tongue, Jamba Juice is delightfully alliterative, and Eska sounds highly refreshing.

    10. Visually evocative. A great name evokes compelling imagery to enrich the story and enhance engagement. FireEye conjures up intense vigilance, while the five dots in Kijiji visually represent a group of people—perfect for a name that means “village” in Swahili.

    To download the 10 Qualities of Great Brand Names, click here.

  10. A boy called Google and a girl named Vista: Why parents name their kids after tech

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    Corning Valor CNBC.comWhen a little baby boy came wailing into the world on Sept. 12, 2005, his birth made headlines far from his home in Sweden.

    Oliver Christian Google Kai’s quirky techno name caught the attention of blogs across Europe and in the United States, and the search giant itself even published its own post, writing “we wish him long life and good health, and hope his schoolmates aren’t too hard on him.” …

    Laurel Sutton, co-founder of professional naming company Catchword, says that names given for publicity or prizes rarely stick. And without an official sponsorship, a brand might not want the attention of having a baby named after it.

    “Unless the company is sponsoring it, they would likely feel a bit ambivalent about it,” said Sutton. “On the one hand, it gets them more publicity and you want brand evangelists. But on the other, what if that kid grows up to be a serial killer? Companies like when their brands are used in ways they can control.” …

    Full story

    Laurel Sutton, co-founder of professional naming company Catchword, says that names given for publicity or prizes rarely stick. And without an official sponsorship, a brand might not want the attention of having a baby named after it.