What’s in a name?


by Ram Gudipati

Let me just start by stating that I find names and the process of naming a very fascinating subject. An entire industry runs on this business of names such as websites and professional services which are based on naming new-born babies, parents spend many days deciding on the “right” name for their children etc. In India like in many cultures around the world, there is a practice of choosing names which have a “meaning”, or after religious deities. Further, to stir the naming pot there are names which are definitive male or female or unisex. Clearly the importance of names resonates through people and they hold it in high regard, since it becomes your primary identity over time. Though Bollywood may not agree completely considering, there are many stars who have changed their real name to a reel name to serve different purposes, could be superstition or just that they didn’t have a “Star worthy” name. For them the new adopted name then becomes their identity, and they then build on it.

Similarly when it comes to brands (be it Corporate branding or product) there is so much in a name that naming has emerged into a science itself. In the early days entrepreneurs who started a business established their surname as the name of the company and over the years the name of the company also became the name of the flagship brand; Tata, Birla, Godrej, Bajaj in India and the likes of Ford, Honda, Baskin Robbins, Dell, Kellogg’s etc. elsewhere to name a few. These over the years have become household names and have been able to create trust and loyalty becoming strong and endearing global brands.

However, naming a company in today’s competitive scenario is extremely challenging. While conventional surnames may work but increasingly it has become important that names have a broader universal appeal. The customer today has lesser time to evaluate a company and hence would only look at companies which intrigue or excite them. Therefore while, naming from the sector, place of origin or describing what the company does should be considered, what is important in this highly competitive market is to consider most if not all of the following aspects.

  • I would say the first check is the availability of a url within the dot com space. The first place where a potential customer seeks information is the internet and a lack of presence on the platform has a detrimental almost fatal first impression, not what a company looks for.
  • Further, the name should try to convey elements such as either the industry, sector, value proposition, product/service, end benefit. A name can’t do all of the above, since that would deviate from a clear focus and make the name complicated hence defeating the purpose.
  • Finally, parameters like interest element in the name, likability, distinctiveness, appearance and sound among many others are critical factors to be considered, especially if the company is within the B2C segment.

It is known that the dot com url for every word in the oxford dictionary has been taken hence posing a complex challenge to any company. Hence I believe names have to be either inventive or best conjoined. Conjoined names are names containing more than one word to form a completely new word. Typically, the combined name gives two different meanings or understanding to the new. These names can be inventive and yet be highly relevant. If done well they can communicate multiple facets of the company/product effectively.

We have had opportunities to successfully test the hypothesis on some of our clients companies and products for either naming a new company/product or re-naming an established one. So far the response for our clients, have been positive as these names seem to be highly relevant and yet very distinctive.

Mentioned below are some names and their ‘visual brand identity design’ which we have had the opportunity to develop.


Sky & Kites = Skytes
Tax & Smile = Taxsmile
Zap & Clean = Zapkleen
a new travel company a new platform to simplify tax payment a new grease scrubbing range
Skytes-Logo taxmile zapkleen_1
Life & Landscape= Lifescape
Now & Possible = Nowpos
My & Escape = Myscape
a real estate company a new software and technology development company a new residential developer
lifescapes nowpos Myscape Identity


brand harvest