The ultimate guide to naming your product or business has been updated throughout with twice as many resources as before, new stories (of both hits and flops), and an entirely new chapter on the power of names in the workplace.
Too many new companies and products have names that look like the results of a drunken Scrabble game (Xobni, Svbtle, Doostang). In this entertaining and engaging book, ace-naming consultant Alexandra Watkins explains how anyone—even noncreative types—can create memorable and effective brand names. No degree in linguistics required.
The heart of the book is Watkins's proven SMILE and SCRATCH Test. A great name makes you SMILE because it is Suggestive—evokes something about your brand; is Memorable—makes an association with the familiar; uses Imagery—aids memory through evocative visuals; has Legs—lends itself to a theme for extended mileage; and is Emotional—moves people.
A bad name, on the other hand, makes you SCRATCH your head because it is Spelling challenged—looks like a typo; is a Copycat—similar to competitors’ names; is Restrictive—limits future growth; is Annoying—seems forced and frustrates customers; is Tame—feels flat, merely descriptive, and uninspired; suffers from the Curse of Knowledge—speaks only to insiders; and is Hard to pronounce—confuses and distances customers.
This 50 percent–new second edition has double the number of brainstorming tools and techniques, even more secrets and strategies to nab an available domain name, a brand-new chapter on how companies are using creative names around the office to add personality to everything from cafeterias to conference rooms, and much more.
About the Author
Alexandra Watkins is the founder of Eat My Words, a nationally recognized naming firm featured multiple times in the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Her clients include Disney, Microsoft, Wrigley, Turner networks, and Fujitsu. Watkins is a popular speaker and frequently presents to MBA programs at Stanford and other universities. Prior to creating Eat My Words, Watkins worked as a copywriter for leading advertising agencies, including Ogilvy.
"Top 10 Marketing Book" —Inc.com
"Brand names can make a critical first impression, and naming expert Watkins, founder of the naming firm Eat My Words, attempts with this book to prove that even the "most noncreative person" can conceive of something that will resonate with customers. She examines all aspects of a brand name's commercial value, from how easily it can be pronounced and recognized, to whether or not voice recognition software will be able to spell it correctly. She uses the acronyms SMILE (Suggestive, Meaningful, Imagery, Legs, Emotional) and SCRATCH (Spelling challenged, Copycat, Restrictive, Annoying, Tame, Curse of Knowledge, Hard to pronounce) to describe, respectively, "sticky" and "deadly" qualities. Watkins also offers examples of companies or products that hit the mark, like Pedigree and Snuggle, and those that missed it, like Eukanuba and Xobni. She provides advice for securing a good domain name and ideas to avoid. Her most potentially valuable recommendation is for would-be brand-name owners to create a "creative brief," a checklist of all the elements that need to present. It defines the core characteristics of an organization from target audience to competition to "brand personality." Watkins also examines brainstorming, "building consensus," and changing a name. Jam-packed with sound advice, this slim volume can be the difference between becoming a Target and becoming a Speesees." —Publishers Weekly
"Let's hear it for an author who clearly and succinctly explains how to do a critical business task rather than merely presenting historical examples for the hapless reader to puzzle out. Here, former Ogilvy advertising copywriter Watkins, founder of industry-leading naming company Eat My Words, expands considerably on the company and brand-naming tips posted on her website. In addition to explaining and illustrating her 12-point vetting process for potential names (e.g., cautioning that unpronounceable names will be mangled by Siri and other voice-recognition software), Watkins gives surpassingly solid advice about how to brainstorm potential names, root out probable bad choices, build consensus, and protect chosen brand names and URLS. Her reputation within the industry is apparent from her client list of prominent companies—Adobe, Microsoft, Disney, Marriott, and many more—and nonprofits. In one of the best chapters, the author walks readers through the multilayered processes she followed in generating a memorable name for Spoon Me yogurt. VERDICT: Useful for readers who are naming anything more important than a household pet." —Library Journal (Elizabeth Wood, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH) “How do you find the right name for your brand or company? This is what Watkins does for a living—her company is responsible for naming a wedding brunch service Bloody Married and a frozen yogurt franchise Spoon Me—and her clever examples and advice will spare us all from putting the wrong foot forward.” —Adam Grant, Wharton Professor and author or coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Give and Take, Originals, and Option B
"You are nuts to name your company or product without consulting this book first." — Dan Heath, coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive “Your brand is in a relentless fight for attention. This must-read book shows you how to prepare for battle and win with the strongest name possible.” —Nir Eyal, bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable
“Zappos.com originally started out as ShoeSite.com, but that limited our potential future growth. A company’s name can be vital to its success. Reading the tips in this book can help anyone avoid the pitfalls.” —Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO, Zappos.com, Inc.
“Insightful, irreverent, and eminently practical, Watkins’s Hello, My Name Is Awesome should be required reading for anyone naming a brand.” —S. Christian Wheeler, Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business
“This awesome piece of writing is worth bottling, shaking, and stirring into your brand-name strategy either online or offline. I love the way Alexandra weaves her voice and humor into a very clear message to distill what you are about into a business name. This approach can be applied to your brand name and domain name. Alexandra’s process is coherent and creative. This is a brilliant book that I couldn't put down" —Jeff Bullas, blogger, strategist, speaker, Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer, #1 Content Marketing Influencer, #1 Global Business Blog
“The insight and processes that Alexandra Watkins reveals in Hello, My Name is Awesome not only have direct application to your naming process but also have direct application to thinking about your company from your customers’ perspective—not what you sell but why someone will decide to buy it. There is true wisdom here—intelligence plus experience—which makes it safe and dependable for you. There is true entertainment here—passion and provocation delivered without any reasonable restraint—which makes it a fabulous reading experience. My own company works with successful organizations in over ninety countries, and every one of them would be made measurably better by applying these unique concepts. My advice: get this book before your competitors do.” —Stan Slap, CEO, SLAP, and New York Times bestselling author of Bury My Heart at Conference Room B and Under the Hood
“Fantastic book! Funny, down-to-earth, and practical, it’s chock-full of solid branding principles and huge ‘ahas’ cleverly delivered with humor and fun. A classic example of blending wit and wisdom to make a message stick. Well done!” —Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE, Hall of Fame Speaker
“Your company or product probably needs all the help it can get. Watkins helped me name my firm, and I’m constantly told what a great name it is. Don’t pick a name until you’ve read Watkins’s book—you’ll want to have a name that you love forever!” —Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, New York Times bestselling author of Open Leadership, and coauthor of Groundswell
“A fascinating examination of why some brand names are forgettable and others are abominable. This is the best guide ever to the art of great naming and should be required reading for all startup CEOs who ‘have a great idea’ for their company name!” —Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and coauthor of Talk Triggers
“I was skeptical about a how-to book on naming products and brands. Alexandra Watkins convinced me otherwise. Her book is a fun read with lots of practical advice.” —Patricia Roller, angel investor and former Co-CEO, Frog Design
“The type of hands-on practical wisdom rarely found (but desperately needed) in the academic community.” —Michael Webber, former Dean, School of Management, University of San Francisco
“We’ve got a terrible name. No one can spell it. No one can pronounce it. Don’t make the same mistake we made. Read this book and let Alexandra Watkins guide you away from the ‘we thought we were being clever with our name, but now we just look silly’ syndrome.” —Matt Ruby, founder and CEO, Vooza
“This is the perfect book for kick-starting entrepreneurs, brand managers, and practicing creatives.” —Pat Hanlon, founder and CEO, Thinktopia, and author of Primal Branding