A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3

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As you may have heard, Google shook things up last week by announcing a significant restructuring and the creation of a parent company named Alphabet.

Said Alphabet CEO Larry Page, “We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations[.]” A loose connection, but I can certainly appreciate their thinking and approach.

But Page’s use of the words ‘we liked’ in this quote is interesting to me. Mainly because it insinuates that there was a consensus amongst the group. That’s rare. Like, really rare. But also because, as we tell our clients when we’re presenting company or product name options, ‘like’ is subjective.

Here are a few other things that we’ve learned are important to keep in mind as you evaluate a new company or product name:

  • Be patient — Nike, Verizon, Google and Amazon all sounded funny at first.
  • Don’t try to choose a name that will encapsulate your entire business philosophy. Besides the obvious truth that doing so is impossible, names that try to say too much often say nothing at all.
  • Look past your fears. Great names grab attention, but may also feel scary.
  • A name that piques interest and causes customers to ask about it can be good: this is a sign that your name has captured their curiosity.
  • You may not be able to get 100% consensus on a single name, and that’s okay.
  • It’s not necessarily about a name you “like”. Like is subjective. You want a name that is distinctive and effective.

The bottom line in naming: it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and making a commitment. The heavy lifting happens after that via marketing and branding. So open your mind, pick one and get going.

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