The science behind choosing a name
Branding is a huge part of marketing and most organisations dream of being automatically recognised by their logo, product or slogan. The name you choose for your company plays a huge role in your brand and style.
Some names seem like an easy fit, others take a bit of thinking about and others can be just plain weird. Whatever you choose, ensure that it has meaning and logic to your product or service.
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Names with meaning
Take my employer, Condeco, specialising in room booking software, the name in Latin means "To Meet", very clever! Social media companies are no different and need to come up with a catchy and interesting name which relates to the service they offer.
I love to tweet, and we all relate this with the short tweets of birds. But just like all company names, the concept of the name can through a few alterations, did you know this social platform could have been called Jitter or Twitch.
“The name clarified the mission of the company: Keeping things simple, social, short, and tangible." - Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder, Twitter
This name is a bit of a no brainer, becoming a member allows you to become linked or connected into your professional network. But founder, Reid Hoffman, dabbled in other social networking platforms, he eventually took his original platform Socialnet, changed the name and focused it directly on business networking.
"I decided to start LinkedIn because the professional space was really interesting" - Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder, LinkedIn
The name Instagram is a mash-up of “instant camera” and “telegram.” The founders where looking for something easy to pronounce, easy to spell and to be part of the instant "right here, right now” concept.
"Our goal is to not just be a photo-sharing app, but to be the way you share your life when you're on the go" - Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder, Instagram
Although created by two men, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, this social site has a huge female membership, the name was created by the wife of the founder, its another mash-up, using, “pinboard” or “pin” and “interest.”
“I’m a little more crazy than Ben is and a little more — I don’t want to say artistic but a little more on the creative side. My mind is like a warren, whereas Ben’s is like a f–king database.” Evan Sharp, Co-Founder, Pinterest
Snapchat version 1 was first launched under the name Picaboo, as billed as a sexting app, "Picaboo lets you and your boyfriend send photos for peeks and not keeps!" But the name was changed to SnapChat as a photo-book company with the name, “Picaboo" objected. SnapChat gets it name from the actual function it provides, sending short snaps that disappear.
"Somewhere along the way, when we were building social media products, we forgot the reason we like to communicate with our friends is because it's fun." - Evan Spiegel, Co-Founder, Snapchat
When I talk about collaboration tools in workshops and seminars I'm always asked about the unusual name. potentially it is a confusing name, but when you dig down deeper into the meaning it begins to make sense. According to CEO Stewart Butterfield, Slack is an acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge"
“Life is too short to do mediocre work and it is definitely too short to build shitty things.” - Stewart Butterfield, CEO, Slack
Mark Zuckerberg created several online platforms Coursematch and Facemash before Facebook. Originally named The Facebook, Mark later dropped the "The" and the URL Facebook.com was purchased for $200,000 and the rest is well, social media history.
"By giving people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent." - Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
WhatsApp my favourite messaging App, had is used by nearly one billion members. This name is simply a pun on What’s Up, very clever and easy to remember! (Although my Mum affectionally calls it Whats Up.)
"Dealing with ads is depressing. You don’t make anyone’s life better by making advertisements work better." - Brian Action, Co-Founder, WhatsApp