Tech Naming Grows Up

jake-marsigliaAre technology entrepreneurs wising up about startup naming? After the silliness of Web 2.0 naming (which brought us “Doostang,” “Thoop,” “Tagtooga,” “Xobni,” “Joomla,” “Meemo,” “Sporge” and countless other brands, most of which have faded into obscurity), Adweek’s Christopher Heine observes that the naming of digital startups seems to be maturing.

The article notes:

“Odd names are distracting and confusing,” says Kelly Hoey, an investor and consultant. “Startups are often given feedback to simplify their pitch [to make it] understandable to their parents or grandparents—aka a nontech audience. The trend to use normal words is in line with that guidance. A normal word creates a clear visual association of what the product is.”

Sure, it’s easier to get a domain name and trademark for an invented, meaningless name, but entrepreneurs will pay the price with a brand that lacks appeal to investors as well as customers.

Naming trends will come and go. Finding a name that’s available to trademark will continue to get harder.

But what won’t change is how the brain notices, stores and recalls information. Research on the brain has found that associations between ideas help us to remember them. That’s why natural words make better brand names–there’s already meaning connected to those ideas.

It’s a perspective we’ve held since we founded Pollywog in 2007, during the height of Web 2.0 naming. We’ve helped startups in industries from education to automotive to field hockey launch their business with a brand that has impact and memorability.

So, entrepreneurs, resist the temptation to create a brand name that’s meaningless, just to get the domain name and trademark. Your brand can and should be a valuable asset–invest in it accordingly.

Depending upon your situation, you may qualify for a Startup Naming Package—the lowest cost we’ve seen anywhere for a custom brand name using natural words that’s available to trademark.