10 Reasons to Choose Catchword

Catchword is a trusted leader in naming, with two decades of experience creating memorable and impactful names for clients worldwide. Our value proposition is, quite simply: the best names, delivered by the most experienced professionals.

But what specifically sets Catchword apart? Glad you asked. Here are 10 things:

1. A proven process for creating stand-out names. Despite landmines such as trademark and domain-name clearance, linguistic appropriateness, multiple decision-makers, and human subjectivity, our process—honed over many years—delivers creative, strategic, and ownable names.

2. Decades (and decades) of naming experience. Founded in 1998, we got our start in the earliest days of the industry, and we’ve since helped to establish some of its best practices. Our partners average over 20 years, and collectively, our team approaches a full century of experience.

3. More names than you ever thought possible. For a full project, we typically develop thousands of names, exploring directions, constructions, and languages you had no idea would be so compelling, while significantly upping the odds that you’ll have a great name (or three) standing after full legal clearance.

4. Ability to work successfully with all types of clients, from titans like Intel, McDonald’s, and VW to startups, mid-sized companies, VCs, and nonprofits. This means we’re as comfortable briefing with global teams as we are meeting with a single entrepreneur in temporary office space.

5. Trademark expertise and domain name services. Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t be calling us if trademark availability were a walk in the park. You need someone with extensive practical experience in global trademark issues, the ability to steer creative away from overcrowded semantic areas, and a network of trademark professionals for prescreening and full searches. And domain name availability can be just as challenging, which is why we create names with a greater likelihood of domain availability and routinely assist clients with acquisition, assessment, and brokering of .com and other domains.

6. Creative versatility. Our name styles span the spectrum, from descriptive to abstract, playful to professional. We’d never be so diva as to say we only use real words, or that the letter Q is passé. Our work is finely tuned to each company’s culture, market space, strategic objectives, and legal and global realities.

7. Flexibility to scale up or down. We recognize that client needs and timelines vary, and we’ll work with you to determine the best process for your project. This can range from a burst of creative for an early market research initiative, to a robust process that includes naming strategy, multiple creative rounds and presentations, and validation.

8. Strategic thinking that reflects deep market understanding. For us, naming isn’t just about creativity. It’s a critical business exercise involving a company’s most important assets. Our names don’t just sound cool; they solve important business challenges and address vital market needs.

9. Communication. We’re not the black-box type. In order to name your company or product, we’ll need to get to know you—and your culture, competition, personal preferences, and more. We’ll respond to your questions and concerns promptly, and we’ll guide you through what can be a challenging process with clear, efficient communication.

10. Naming is our everything. It isn’t a loss leader that we throw in to attract clients to pricier brand offerings. It’s what we do and what we love. And that’s more than enough. Having an exclusive focus on naming—and with it, trademark, domain, linguistics, strategy, and research—makes us the very best at it.

Catchword Top Naming Agency 2017

How to Work with a Naming Company

Latest Name Review

Hill City name review by CatchwordSan Francisco-based apparel giant Gap Inc. recently launched Hill City, a men’s luxury activewear brand. The new brand is essentially a men’s Athleta (another Gap-owned apparel maker, known for yoga pants, leggings,  sweaters, and other day-to-night activewear for women). Both companies serve consumers who are looking to own fewer and better clothes (and don’t mind paying a premium for them), and both are B corps, striving to integrate sustainability as well as innovation into their business plan.

So what do yoga pants for men look like? Before you avert your eyes, read on.

Hill City offers comfortable, fitness-focused apparel made from high-performance, responsibly sourced materials. Shorts, t-shirts, pants, jackets, underwear, sweatshirts, everything you might need from workout to work to weekend. The look is clean and minimal. The colors are mostly neutral.

Hill City aims to redefine the idea of “high-performance,” expanding it from serious athletes to every man passionate about living an active life, however that may be expressed. As loathe as I am to use the term, this is truly “athleisure” apparel.

Hill City name review by Catchword

photo from Hill City

Currently, Hill City is an online business with sample garments displayed at select Athleta stores. Eventually the company may have stand-alone stores like its sister brand. Given that Gap is considering shutting hundreds of its namesake stores, building a new online brand in the growing athleisure space is a smart move.

But you’re here for a name review.

According to their website, the name Hill City was “inspired by the hybrid nature of our San Francisco roots – the smooth transitions between city and outdoors, the fusion of form and function.”

The colloquial nature of the name suggests a youthful, spirited customer. San Francisco, with a blanket of Millennial energy and angst laid across seven tourist hills, is well-represented.

City connotes sophistication, rubbing against the outdoorsy Hill and the casual attire. Contrast creates interest and suggests story, in this case, the bridging of the gap (see what I did there?) between comfort and high-performance.

Both Hill and City are basic vocabulary, easily understood by an international audience. By choosing these generic words, however, the name sacrifices some memorability and immersiveness. (As we learned in Creative Writing 101, the specific is easier to remember, and more compelling, than the general.) This tendency to the bland is really the only flaw in the name.

Hill City name review by Catchword

photo from Hill City

Graphically, the two words of equal length offer a nice balance, and its length makes it an easy fit on packaging and signage. Plus, the slash that follows the name in the logo does some nice supporting work, suggesting the hills of San Francisco and, more broadly, ascent of body (exercise) and spirit (aspiration).

(By the way, the slash is explained on the site this way: “From above, San Francisco is an organized grid. On the ground, it is much more complex, with unexpected hills, turns, and twists. Our logo signifies the versatility of our brand — its ability to shape-shift and transition. The forward slash, or ‘flash,’ signals the pursuit of continuous improvement. As a brand built on community, our mark is open-ended, representing an invitation to collaborate and progress.” Um, OK.)

Although Hill City may find it an uphill climb to gain share from market leader Lululemon Athletica and compete with Target’s cheaper men’s athleisure wear as well as the emergence of other online brands (hello, Amazon), its name fits the brand like a $78 pair of sustainably produced, moisture wicking, quick-dry, odor-resistant, UV protection running tights.

Contrast creates interest and suggests story, in this case, the bridging of the gap (see what we did there?) between comfort and high-performance.

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