Via this question in Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare was saying that names are just ways to distinguish items and otherwise have no meaning.
I respectfully disagree with this.
A name is a first and long-lasting impression.
Reflecting on how I FEEL when I hear or read a NAME, I realize that I form FIRST impressions about the person, item, or organization within seconds.
And this initial impression stays, even as I engage further.
Sometimes the meaning of the name is unclear, but then it spikes curiosity in you to find its definition.
Yes, how I feel about a name may differ from how you or anybody else feels. The resonation of a word with your worldview, beliefs, and wound-up ways of being will shape your feelings.
A meaningful name is the essence of your brand.
Thus, naming your product, business, or even children, is a core long-term branding exercise delivering a message.
You have to OBSESS over the choice of name to ensure alignment with the vision. Imagine how people will feel when they hear or say the word.
Your name (can) influence your life’s purpose.
I believe that the business, product, and children will subconsciously identify with the name and start to live its meaning. Their character becomes the label for their identity.
The story behind our brand names
Let me share how we chose our company and product names, and then I’ll also share some global examples of great brand names.
I recall how much effort we put into creating our brand names. We spent days brainstorming several name options and obsessing over whether the name conveyed our value sharply. Here is the outcome:
Formerly known as Men at Work. We loved this name immensely. Most people who would meet us would mention that the name is very creative. It immediately conveyed a crucial part of our culture (which it still is) – working smart and hard to create value.
We would often hear things like
– Do you ever stop working?
– Why call it Men at Work when you also have Women working with you? We would explain that Men, as in Man, is the generic name for humans (mankind types).
It was engaging, a conversation opener, and had a significant recall factor. It also matched all the common attributes of a great name.
However, as we scaled globally, we decided to change it as we learned of a band called Men at Work and didn’t want any conflict there.
Our core culture: We, as a team, are all about leveraging our collective knowledge to create innovative solutions for challenges faced by businesses. We put our best minds to work, ideate solutions, and put in sincere work days to execute our plans. Once done, we reflect through the study of post-mortems and feedback to improve our future execution.
TL;DR Working backward from our culture, we shortlisted two words that characterized us. In Hindi, MANTHAN means churning or reflection through study, and MITHI means truthful.
So our company name MITHI conveys how we churn knowledge coupled with sincere work to create value for our customers.
It’s an ELASTIC VAULT, and it’s FANTASTIC (:-))
Vaultastic is a highly scalable vault for helping businesses preserve and manage critical data.
Notice the name is not restrictive to any particular data type, source, or platform. We had this vision to evolve into an Enterprise Information Archival (EIA) platform.
Hence as the platform evolves, the meaning of the name holds true for its new versions, too (Vaultastic is on version 4 now).
A migration tool enabling the FLOW of LEGACY or already created data from any source to any target.
While we started with email, the platform is evolving to give tools to move other data types and cover a broader range of data sources and connectors.
Again, the name Legacyflo encompasses our vision of creating a tool to support a comprehensive range of data operations.
A tool that ensures that your STREAM of emails/data is CLEAR of malware, spam, virus, and other dangerous payloads and unwanted content (data minimization).
Again, while we started with email, ClrStream is evolving to mediate and filter different types of data streams
Ideolve is an IDEATION tool that enables teams to SOLVE, RESOLVE issues, and EVOLVE solutions using collaborative problem-solving methods.
SkyConnect, our cloud business messaging platform, CONNECTS your teams over the SKY (cloud), depicting performance, scalability, ease, security, and reliability.
While Mithi is an excellent name representing our company’s culture, it invokes curiosity. It has people asking us for the meaning.
On the other hand, we have observed that people get our product names quickly. No explaining required.
Some other significant brand names
Here are some other great names that I can recall that convey meaning, trust, and a sense of wanting to associate with this brand.
This means the goddess of Victory – sends a message that I can use their products, conquer my fears and become victorious. Evokes aspiration to rise to higher levels.
A hair-cutting salon in my neighborhood. That is a very creative name. Uses SHEARS/scissors and is a GENIUS with haircuts – Evokes trust in the quality of the salon. I feel I will get a great haircut here.
Canva gives an impression of being able to unleash unlimited creativity on a blank canvas – I feel that it’s EASY to render my ideas without being an expert artist.
This robotics company has a vision that every child is an innovator. Avishkaar literally means innovation. If I was a parent, the name evokes PRIDE and CONFIDENCE that I can make my child an innovator. Again a name that invokes aspiration.
A short name derived from the generic word GRAMMAR suggests it can help polish up my writing. It’s creative.
The common attributes of our brand names and these other names:
- Short & Sharp (mostly one word).
- Conveys expansive vision.
- Shows the company’s or product’s mission and values.
- Considers customer’s aspirations, challenges, and requirements.
Then there are not-so-great names – that invoked confusion and didn’t convey their purpose very clearly. I will not be mentioning any of these here for obvious reasons.
Can you think of great names which touched your heart? I would love it if you shared the names and their meaning as comments here.
P.S. Coming up, I’ll share a story about how we designed our logos to represent a coherent image of our platforms.