What’s in a name?… Apparently a lot
We just changed the name of our division from “iGroup” to “CLARA Analytics”
- CLARA is Latin for “clear, bright” – something we aspire to always be
- It’s also short for “Santa Clara” – our home at the heart of Silicon Valley
We were convinced the entire effort was heading towards being a colossal waste of time. We wouldn’t have started down this path if we hadn’t come across an insurance consulting company also called “iGroup”. The brand confusion would have been painful to handle going forward so we decided to take the plunge and initiate the name change project.
And I am glad we did!!
We had no clue a name was so important in pretty much every aspect of our operations. We learned a lot in the process. Here are some of the learnings. Hope they help.
What makes a good name?
A good name is easy to communicate and memorable. It’s one that sticks. To help remember, our minds love stories and visual cues. Names that inspire images or have a great backstory are the ones that stick. Some examples – “Sun”, “Apple” and “Surveymonkey”. You can link these names to objects right away, cementing them in your brain. These were good names way before they became strong brands.
How does a good name help?
It helps every step of the way. Here are a few important ones –
Sales – B2B sales is complex with typically around 10+ points of connection within a customer before a sale is closed. A complex name adds friction and confusion every step of this process, especially if the name needs to be spelled along the way. Even more problematic is the inability for the name to be recalled easily. Imagine a team member forgetting your name while in a meeting with the executive. That could instantly bring you down the list of priorities.
Marketing – marketing is about getting buyers in your target market to talk about you – within their organization and with peers in other organizations. A good name helps increase these “collisions.” A bad name eliminates them.
Hiring – high potential candidates want to join organizations with strong names. We didn’t think anyone would want to join companies with names like “WiseClaims” or “Grouper”? (These were some names we considered and fortunately passed on.) Strong names show personality and draw candidates. Employees want to be proud of working for the organization. A good name is the first step towards building that sense of pride.
How to pick a good name?
- Engage a professional – It helps. You need an experienced naming professional to quarterback the process. After struggling with names on our own, we rapidly realized we needed help. We hired Mark Gunnion right away after a quick search and a 15min chat. We are thrilled we did. He brought structure to the process and got the creative juices flowing fast and furiously. Within a few days, we went through 3 rounds of name creation and short-listing. It would have taken us forever to get there by ourselves.
- Select a few themes and generate long lists fast – think about a few themes that define your team. They could be sports, nature, pets etc. Pick a theme and generate a long list of names. Here’s where professionals like Mark can help. Once the theme is picked, their ability to generate hundreds of names is phenomenal.
- Go with your gut to shortlist – the long lists can be overwhelming initially. The trick is to turn off the analytic parts of our brains and go with first impressions. Only first impressions matter. If the name stuck with you in a quick scan, it’s probably going to stick with others.
- Do the due-diligence – check for trademarks, web sites etc. You need to be sure there isn’t another organization in your industry with a similar name. Early on we had shortlisted “MYRA” as one of the names but decided against it as it conflicted with an older triaging solution called “MIRA”. Searching for a URL is an adventure. Most pages are taken. Be prepared to spend a good chunk of time finding the right URLs. When you find them, grab them instantly.
- Celebrate – getting a new name is a good opportunity to really bond as a team. Make the most of it. Celebrate what you are building as a team and the road ahead. We made a big deal of this new name at our friday happy hour.