Acuspire makes Startup Grind’s Top 50

In between handling our very big clients we are often working on small startups, not all of whom make a go of it. But when the do, we love it. Like hearing yesterday from Acuspire that they had been selected for Startup Grind’s Top 50 for 2018. This gives them some unique opportunities and visibility with Silicon Valley Venture Capital Investors.

Obviously they have a good business plan, some unique technology and have been grinding away up there in Canada. But a great name helps too, especially when coupled with a killer logo:

high tech agency service naming

Of course, we love to see names we helped create in the spotlight too!

(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Naming News, Technology Names

Brand quiz answers

(Disclaimer:  I did rely on search engines and Wikipedia for some of the amusing and interesting background info. As author of the quiz, I knew most of the answers to these questions when I posted them – except Question 1)

  1. Names of the McDonald brothers: Richard and Maurice.
  2. Given and family name of Ford’s biggest rival: Louis Chevrolet.
  3. Ford model whose name comes from the given name of a member of the Ford family: what New Coke was to soft drinks and Howard the Duck was to cinema, the Edsel, named after the son of founder Henry Ford, was to automobiles. The model never sold well to begin with, but the stick-a-fork-in-it-it’s-done moment came when Time Magazine, in reference to the Edsel’s “distinctive” (read “bizarre”) front grille, popularized the description “looks like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.”
  4. Not all brand names are descriptive, nor even family last names.

    Not all brand names are descriptive, nor even family last names.

    McDonald’s and Ford competitors named after daughters of founders: the gimme is Wendy’s, named after one of the daughters of founder Dave Thomas. However, many Americans (and perhaps others) may be unaware that Mercedes is a woman’s name, in use long before it became indelibly associated with a luxury German car brand. Mercedes Jellinek was the daughter of Emil Jellinek, an Austrian automobile entrepreneur who worked with Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (Daimler Motors Corporation) as their first dealer.

    The iconic Mercedes logo - a propeller in a circle - in case they ever make planes!

    The iconic Mercedes logo – a propeller in a circle – in case they ever make planes!

  5. Auto and food item with same family name: the late, great Carroll Shelby is best known for having taken cars from the likes of Ford and Dodge, and then modifying them and selling them under his own name. Before he went to that great Garage In The Sky in 2012, he also managed to make a buck or two by selling his own brand of chili mix.
  6. Super-bonus question: “Ford’s load” (2 words, 11 letters)”: Sixteen Tons. (Hey, I told you to think outside the box…)

–Greg Marus

(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Food Names, Name Origins, Naming Education, People Names, Trademarks, Transportation

Family brand name quiz – while you eat and drive

While putting together a previous post (“Nomen Est Omen?” Uh, Not Always…) I got to thinking about both family and given names that are now well-known brands. There are enough quirky examples and stories that I thought I’d put together a fun quiz; see how well you can do without resorting to the help of a search engine. Answers in my next post.

  1. Fast food naming and branding, image trademarksMcDonald’s is one of the most famous global brands, and many people know the story of the chain’s development starting from Ray Croc’s deal with the original McDonald brothers. Okay, we know Ray—but what are the given names of the McDonald brothers? (8 points each.)
  2. It’s easier to recognize a family name brand when the name is already a noun, verb, or adjective in English. (“Who wouldn’t enjoy a John Ford Western about pioneers who had to dodge arrows and ford the Mississippi on their way to Dodge City?”) Everyone knows Henry Ford; but what is the family name (1 point) and given name (5 points) of the man responsible for the brand generally considered Ford’s biggest rival?
  3. Name the Ford model whose name comes from the given name of a member of the Ford family (5 points).
  4. Both McDonald’s and Ford have competitors named after the given names of daughters of the company founders. 1 point for the easy one, 10 points for the hard one.
  5. Name the American entrepreneur that has both autos (family name) and a food item (under given and family name) named after him. (5 points for the individual’s name; another 10 if you can name the food item, which is less famous than the cars.)
  6. Super-bonus question: As I was doing this post, I happened to be engaged in solving an acrostic(*), which contained the clue: “Ford’s load” (2 words, 11 letters). I had the other elements of the acrostic to help me get this oVehicle naming, consumer brand naming, consumer image logos and trademarksne, so in fairness, I need to throw you a few clues: Think very far outside the box; If you’re old enough to be drawing a pension, you’ll have an advantage; Total letters, but several repeat, so there are only seven unique letters; one of them is an “x”. (25 points for this one!)

See you with the answers next time!

–Greg Marus

(*) Acrostic         noun

A series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.

PS What are the nicknames for Ford and McDonald’s logos that are famous image registered trademarks?

(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®


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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Food Names, Name Origins, People Names, Trademarks, Transportation

An “-ify” Proposition

Things began, as they often do, with an e-mail from Athol: “With Spotify near an IPO, why don’t we look at other names using the –ify suffix?”

I’m back from the Interwebs with three categories for these names: the Useful, the Baffling, and the Intriguing.

  1. The Useful

A number of these names have the virtue of simply adding “-ify” to a word or phrase that lets you know exactly what the company is up to. As a quick test, I tried to categorize the sort of business the company is in, based solely on my knowledge of its name, then looked at the web site to see how good my guess was.naming help for retail chains

Name My Guess Actual
Shopify Retail Web site services (retail-oriented)
Beautify Cosmetics/skin care Cosmetics/skin care
Backupify Data backup and recovery Data backup and recovery
Expensify Business/accounting software Automated expense reporting
Fluentify Language training Language training (English)


Quick disclaimer: the boundaries between the Baffling and the Intriguing are blurry and very subjective. That said:

  1. The Baffling

What on earth are the people at Melify, Yotify, and Huify doing for a living? Would any of these names give you an idea as to what goods and services are on offer? These names don’t even have enough inherent appeal to attract clicks out of curiosity, unlike…

  1. The Intriguing

I likewise have no idea what’s up at Zensify, Moosify, and (my personal favorite) Cahootify…but wouldn’t you really like to find out? (They are, respectively: an iPhone social aggregator; music-oriented social media, since acquired by Tastebuds [nice double entendre for the acquiring company!]; and “online portfolio and team-forming platform for film, media and entertainment”.)

Music naming services and consulting branding4. Verdict on Spotify

If you weren’t following this company, or reading the financial pages, how good a name would “Spotify” be? IMHO, not very good—this is pretty much a Baffling name. First thought is laundry detergent. Maybe geolocation? Faux-leopard pillbox hats? (Spoiler alert: it’s actually online music.)

5.       Great Missed Opportunities

With so many names and URLs already taken, we regret that we won’t be able to see all of the matchups below in the real world. (Any entrepreneur following up on these: I’m sure the lawyers engaged by Brighter Naming will be able to work out a royalty arrangement with you.)

Name Actual My bright idea…
Modify Domain available! Salons to make you look like Herman’s Hermits or the Dave Clark Five.
Satisfy Under construction, not for sale Upstart competitor of Barcalounger and La-Z-Boy
Objectify Ad aggregator Porn for the Woke!

–Greg Marus


(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Retail

“Nomen Est Omen”? Uh, not always…

Family names often turn into brand names, sometimes becoming strongly associated with the products involved. Play word association with “MacDonald” or “Ford”, and odds are you’ll pop up with “hamburger” and “car”.

Sometimes family names can be a bit more problematic. Today, Hellman’s is strongly associated with a top-of-the-line mayonnaise. But it must have been tough to sell the first jar of Hellman’s. (Maybe some reverse psychology at work: people figure that there had to be a real Mr. Hellman somewhere along the line, because the name “Hellman’s” couldn’t possibly be the product of some corporate marketing meeting. Unlike, say, “Best Foods”…)

naming food productsWell, if you read this blog, you probably got that joke. However, at Mariposa’s High Country Health Foods, I recently ran across the results of a decision re a family brand name that’s a lot weirder than the Hellman’s-Best Foods one. The store was running a special on a variety of Middle Eastern foods, sold under a family name brand name…which happens to be “Haig”.

Sometimes, the slogans just start writing themselves: “When ye crave a wee taste o’ the Highlands, ye canna gae wrong with Haig’s Tabbouleh Salad!”; or maybe “Haig’s Hummus? Hoot mon!”

So now I’m curious about the Levantine imperial adventures of some ancestral Haig, and I go to the web site…where I find that this is indeed a family business…run since its founding in 1956 by…wait for it…the Takvorian family.

Okay, how much would you give for the minutes of the meeting where they decided that no one would ever buy Takvorian’s Baba Ganoush…”I know! Let’s call it ‘Haig’s’ instead!”

For what it’s worth, I’ve been very pleased with every item of theirs that I’ve tried; you can get more information (except for how they landed on that name) at

—  Greg Marus

Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Food Names

Bad Arse Branding

naming wine and alesMy son and I stumbled across these two bottles within a few hours of each other and needless to say both caught our eye. Ben even asked what I thought of Bad Arse Branding – as he called it. Obviously only some providers have the personality to pull off such brand programs. But how do you know it will work for more than a very small percentage of consumers? More importantly, how do you not corrupt the rest of your offerings?

The Arrogant Bastard Ale pictured here goes to great lengths to explain their brand story – as if they feel really guilty and have to defend it.  But it starts with “You will probably not like this ale…” They were right. It is awful. So are they are just trying to market a bad product by playing these name and brand games?  I don’t know.  But what a waste of everyone’s time.

Secondly, it is hard to believe that Fat Bastard is actually a French Wine (well a Frenchman and an Englishman). Took me a while to find the name of the winery. Maybe they purposefully hide it in the small print so they don’t offend their loyal followings. Nice to see how they do tell the story behind the name though, even though they confess no one remembers where the hippo came from. Is it sitting on pedestal? Is that a chain arrangement below for him.  Or just a hippo taking a leak in the pot?

All I can say is Proceed with Caution.

Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Wine Names

When Good English is Bad English

Awkward slogans need help from Brighter NamingWhile recently walking in the ultra ritzy Ocean Ave, Carmel, California  I saw this sign on a gateway. Yes, I always notice strange and interesting names even on a mini vacation day. What I especially like is when they are paired with a really nice tagline, slogan, motto or promo sentence.

However, when I stopped to read this one, my first thought was “What a shame. Great story, but didn’t they check the grammar before having it made in bronze?” Then I saw the author’s name and did a double take. Ralph Waldo Emerson is surely better at English than me. So I studied it some more until I realized it really is correct English grammar.  But oh how awkward.


With due respect to the master, wouldn’t this correct English be so much more effective if it was rewritten as

"The ornaments of a house
 are the friends who frequent it."

As for name Liv De Life.  A simple way to add some class to your humble adobe trying to keep up with the rich and famous. Why not?

(C) Copyright 2017 Brighter Naming®

Posted in Consumer Goods, Famous Quotes, Hospitality & Travel, Naming News, Public Site Naming, Strange Names

When a V sounds like a W and a W sounds like V or Do as DU

This may cause both embarrassment and offense when words, names, actions and abbreviations can be misconstrued, through pronunciation and misinterpretation. And it all depends on your home language.

I recently had a tutorial with an ESL Post-grad student.  He apologized that he needed to break off the call as he needed to do Wudu.

Inernational Naming HelpComing from Africa I thought he said, due to his accent, he needed to do Voodoo.

Between laughter I asked him: “On whom?” He replied seriously, “On myself, of course!”  I continued: “So why are you going to stick pins into yourself?” I asked him to Whats App me the spelling as we were obviously crossing wires here.

When I received it as: WUDU, I still mentally associated it with Microsoft W.U.D.O.

I didn’t at first connect the orthographic difference as the phonological sounds were so similar.

I wonder how many other people mix them up, with no insult intended to our Islamic friends.

It sounds perfectly clear to Microsoft Marketers and Namers – Window Update Delivery Optimisation when said as a phrase. Due to its length, these things get coined and shortened with people only then using the acronym it has evolved into- WUDO. The ‘Do’ Part sounds like (I) ‘do’ or to some languages as a vowel sign of U. Thus, confusing WUDU with WUDO and the W sounded like a muffled ‘V’ to which I had concluded VOODOO with the long ‘O’.

It is therefore so important to ensure cross-lingual enunciations are practiced aloud when choosing the name or taglines or even your marketing phrase.

Aside: They use Wudhu / Wudu / Wudo –I’m not clear whether this is a variance with the Arabic dialects or not.


By Rosie Reay

(C) Copyright Brighter Naming® and the EbroVoice 2017
Posted in International Naming, Name Origins, Naming Education, Naming News

Nota releases Scrapbox with a flourish

It is refreshing to see that a software company called Nota Inc stayed true to its origins and finally released an absolutely magic note organizing product. The surprise is because for years since they were created by some Stanford Grad students they have been bootstrapping themselves with the strangely named Gyazo product line ultimate screen grab utiliity program(the ultimate convenient screen grab utility). And the fact that Gyazo and Gyazo Pro have reached such big penetrations in the marketplace it must be hard to go back to the original vision.

Anyway, Scrapbox is a new style of note taking right where ideas connect. They are featured today on the Product Hunt site. And this time they have a much more traditional English name – that plays off both Sandbox and Scrapbook.

They even have a great new animated logo for the product line. How many people take the trouble to do that? I can’t figure out how to reproduce it here, but fixed version is cool too: Scrapbox a new style of note taking

Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Naming News, Technology Names

What’s in a classical musical name?

naming of classical musical groupsI do enjoy seeing articles about naming, as long as it is not YASOI  (Yet Another Set Of Initials). Today I had the pleasure of seeing such an article as I pulled up my favorite classical radio station KDFC on my computer.

Of course, the article used the very common title of “What’s in a Name?” But apart from that it is an interesting post from Alan Chapman with photos by Marco Borggreve.  Do read the posting here and learn about some modern and ancient classical group names. A very far cry from today’s rock group names, needless to say.

I also like the fact that KDFC started in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then expanded to L.A. area and now most of California, as well as to Europe and (thanks to the internet) worldwide. Just like we have done here at Brighter Naming!

PS Radio Stations are forgiven for having initials for names. It is part of their licensing requirements.

Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Name Origins, Naming Education, Naming News, Trademarks

Naming Articles

New brand insider articles from an experienced marketing team. Learn all the basics of naming, branding and trademark registration from these free reports:

August 2016: How to select a naming agency.

July 2016: How to get International Trademark protection.

March 2016: You received a cease and desist letter. Now what?

May 2015: How can one product line have many trademarks?

Jul 2014: What roles do copyrights and patents play in protecting names?

Jan 2014: Predictions for 2014 and Free Offers.

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