Name of the Week – BIGSTCo

You just have to smile when you are reading a Business Week article about rocket launches and China’s catch up efforts when you discover one of their startups is called Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Co. Also known as i-Space, I notice the author did not try to use the actual Chinese name for the company: Xingji Rongyao.

And you thought your company had an identity problem! In the same week this article appeared, there was also online news about Interstellar Technology losing a rocket soon after launch.  But that was the Japanese company with the similar name – no Glory for them, but they are crowd funded and probably will now have to return to their patrons for some more handouts.

With all this Asian activity, makes me wonder how I will feel when we learn and see pictures of Chinese astronauts running around on “our” moon. Will they have their own names for the areas and craters?

PS Do chopsticks work in zero gravity?


©Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®

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Posted in International Naming, Space Technology, Technology Names

What a great name – Hint

consumer drinks namingSometimes you come across a name that is so simple and elegant you just have to ask why didn’t I think of that? And how the heck was the reg TM still available?

And you won’t get a better example than this fairly new flavored water drink called Hint. In this age of increasing popularity of bottled water drinks, having one that so eloquently can imply a hint of lemon or a hint of lime is surely a home run for branding.

Of course, a brand is a lot more than just the name. It is the promise of an experience. So in this case, the drink has to stand up to lots of taste tests. Unfortunately, I am not so sure it will. Yet I see they have been around for at least 12 years so they must be doing something right with their fruit flavorings.


Hint® is a registered trademark of Hint Inc from San Francisco, California.

©Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Drinks, Trademarks

Best Western – very disappointing brand identity makeover

It has been a few months since I made my long road cross country trip so I have had time to cool off and consider my position on the logo and image makeover of the Best Western chain of lodges. But my opinion hasn’t changed. What were they thinking to take such a staple, colorful logo, and throw it out and  start all over again with their own Corporate Branding? Where is the continuity. Maybe more importantly, where is the connection to the old image? You know, the warm colorful one.

Like this one here (which might be due a refresh, but not a city corporate look):


Now they are just another corporate button. Yes they are a growing chain and extending the brand in all directions. Sure they want more upscale city properties but why risk their history and loyal following in resort areas across the country. Giving up such a leadership position to try and chase Hyatt Regency is what it looks like to me.  Did they not ever really talk to some of their guests and see the loyalty to the brand as they traveled across the country?

Last time I stayed in a Best Western I was chatting on the lovely front lawn in a small town with a British guest as we prepared to check out. I asked him if he needed help with directions or sites to visit in Northern California. He just smiled and waved the Best Western “Atlas” at me. “No thanks,” he said. “We just go from Best Western to Best Western.”

What now?  Will he say they go from Corporate BW button to button?  In these examples the words Best Western are still prominent, but not so on all the lodgings. Just a shiny BW button.  Looks so unfriendly and out of place in the countryside. And through me for a loop when sometimes it was blue and sometimes red until I figured out red stood for Plus. Plus what I have no idea – just a scam to get franchisees to shoot more upscale I think, just like Airbnb Plus.

Heck they should have done it in black and white and said that BW now meant Black and White.

PS I see BWP stands for Best Western Premier and not their more popular Best Western Plus. Go figure!


© Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®

Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Hospitality & Travel, Name Changes, Rotten Names, Uncategorized

It takes some spunk to name your company Splunk.

When I first heard the name Splunk® I thought how cool a name it was. Surely one of those new mobile apps for and by millennials. No, rather it is the name of a back end data server and privacy company. But what a great name to cut through the noise of so many other players in this software technology space.  And I don’t even have to come up with a list of companies to compare it with as they provide a list of their partners. Now you can see what a boring list of names most big data providers are just by reviewing this partial list of their worldwide partners

Great tech company name from Speelunk



  • A3sec
    • Accel Systems & Technologies
    • Aegin
    • Apius Technologies
    • August Schell Enterprises
    • Blackwood Associates
    • Blue Turtle
    • CDW
    • Clearshark
    • Comparex Turkey
    • Concanon
    • CrowdStrike
    • Davinsi Labs NV
    • Discovered Intelligence
    • doIT solutions
    • EMET Computing
    • E2 Software
    • ECS Security
    • EMC
    • Enosys
    • GKC
    • GTRI
    • Government Acquisitions
    • Guidepoint Security
    • Help AG
    • Herjavec Group
    • Homeostase
    • Imperium Solutions

Not only are most of these partners’ names boring, see how many are meaningless abbreviations. Seems like most of these system integrators preferred to describe themselves rather than name themselves. Clearly they didn’t want to stand out from the crowd like Splunk.

But what does it mean, or where did it come from? In this regard, Splunk has done a very cool little video interviewing their partners who are clearly mostly Splunk fans. Even though most don’t have a clue about the name. Just goes to show you that if a name brings a smile to your customer’s faces, it is working fine. In this case, I figured it out (as did some of their partners) though can’t say I was fully confident.

OK, do you have it yet?  From Spelunking – the sport/hobby of exploring caves. Very clever for a company that explores the deep dark depths of massive amounts of corporate data, regardless of where it is stored.

PS And one of their big competitors is Rubrik – but you know where that name came from.

PPS Since they clearly own the full trademark rights to the name Splunk in hardware and software categories, they have kept their product naming architecture simple by prefacing common descriptive words with the company name Splunk.

© Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®

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Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Name Origins, Naming Education, Naming News, Technology Names, Trademarks

Inside Steve’s Brain quotes me at length about iPod name

It only took 10 years, but finally a good friend called me and said “Athol, do you know you are quoted in one of Steve Job’s biographies?” Well, yes indeed, Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney has recently been expanded and rereleased. I don’t recall if I spoke to him or simply directed him to my blog post on the subject, but it is nice to see this inside story on how one of the great brand gurus of the world picked a name for a megahit product. It seems to be accurately reported, other than completing the story that Apple never did correct and update the trademark filing for over a year after the product was released.

Thanks Leander. Here is my whole 5 minutes of fame from your book:

Ipod naming history and Athol Foden

(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®

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

Patreon – Patrons for the Ages

From the minute I learned about Patreon I have been pleasantly overwhelmed with the cleverness of their offerings, and the memorability of their name. Of course I wondered why they had not tried harder to be Patron or Patron something. Now I realize they were much smarter than me and selected a unique name for all their branding efforts – but not abstract. The roots of the name continue to be strong and powerful.
Great coined name roots PatreonMust say the logo is kind of boring, not that I have any better ideas other than to tell a graphics designer to somehow imply more a sense of excitement and action and not make it look like creators will run into a brick wall.

I learned about Patreon after my son put me up to SV Delos and other sailing channels. So much more fun each week than waiting for a short season of Survivor. SV Delos name origin and sailing around the worldAnd SV Delos travels and people are so real and so educational and so much fun because all crew take part in making the videos and there is no corporate producer in site. Isn’t this logo a  lot more fun? And their buddha man is full size on their mainsail. All designs and editing and vlogging are done onboard by the full time crew or their short term helping sailors.

My greek studies are non-existent, other than the overlap with Latin, so I still smile everytime I hear Capt Brian saying “Delos – like the Greek princess”. I had never heard of her before, I am almost ashamed to admit. Anyway, now Sailing Vessel Delos brings in the most money from Patreon of any other blue water sailing channel members and has 200K+ followers on YouTube – which brings them in only a trivial amount of funding.

Thanks Patreon for a great name and a great way to support creative endeavors with crowd-sourcing that is on-going.


(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®

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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Hospitality & Travel, International Naming, Name Origins, Naming News, Strange Names, Trademarks

When your brand logo has a nickname

Fast food naming and branding, image trademarksA few blogs back we asked if you knew the nicknames for the McDonalds and Ford logos. Surely most of you knew the easy answer to the first part of this: The Golden Arches for McDonalds ubiquitos big M symbol.
Not used much outside the company, except perhaps by industry insiders, did you know Ford’s logo is called the Blue Oval. Even more interesting though is the fact that at one stage the exact value of this brand was established. This happened Vehicle naming, consumer brand naming, consumer image logos and trademarkswhen Ford got the big 4$billion loan (or thereabouts) from the government bailout when most car companies were in serious trouble. At that time they took the big Blue Oval off their conference room wall and gave it to the lead underwriting backing the deal – for safekeeping of their brand. I loved the way this was done, especially when they made a good PR event out of paying off the loan and claiming back a big physical representation of their brand – literally.

Today I see Ford are advertising that their brand is the most important brand in the world. In cars and trucks worldwide, maybe yes. But across all industries, I am not so sure. Regardless, its value is up in the 16$billion range or more nowadays.

top naming and branding agencyQuestion of the week: Most brand logos have some tie in to the company name or products. Why then does Landor, one of the biggest branding agencies in the world, use this ship as their logo?


(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Naming Education, Naming News, Retail, Trademarks, Transportation

Engineers and Scientists are People too.

Should you brand industrial and scientific products? How about embedded engineering items? Who is going to know? Who is going to care?

I have had many a client over the years wrestle with these questions and comments, to which I reply:

Engineers are people who react to branding“Engineers and scientists are people too”

Yes, even in this new world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), have you noticed that computers don’t reach out and contact one another and automatically purchase products or make a deal. There are many tools to help engineers and scientists research the available options, as well as special software for their associated purchasing departments. But not until humans have set up a deal and a supply chain do computers automatically buy products.

And all these humans are naturally affected by brand, perception and positioning. Even for embedded products as simple as basic components to complete turn-key solutions.

Your name for such products, as per usual, is not your brand. Your brand is a promise. A promise of an experience. So go out and create the best experiences you can and then give them a great name to use as shorthand for that total brand you deliver. They can then know what to call the brand they are seeking. And what shorthand to use instead of an elaborate description.  Which in turn they can use to pass along their experience and recommendation by word of mouth and word of mouse. And you can protect with a trademark.

(C) Copyright 2018 Brighter Naming®
Posted in Biotech Naming, Branding, Industrial Products Naming, International Naming, Naming News, Technology Names

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

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:

Oct 2018: You named it What?

July 2018: Sample processes from leading consultants

June 2018: 10 steps to develop a process

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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