What makes “Hotwire” & “Pandora” Powerful Names?

To understand why they work so well, you have to get literal for a moment:

Hotwire = “to steal a car”

Pandora = “unleashed plagues, diseases & all the evils of mankind”

These types of meanings will get a name dismissed ASAP by a naming committee – a committee that would have been wrong to dismiss these names, obviously.

Consumers don’t attribute these literal, negative qualities to the companies who use Hotwire & Pandora as their company names (you don’t, do you?). But naming committees will almost always believe they will. It’s essential to understand that your target audience does not interpret names literally – if they did names like Slack, Virgin, Pandora, Hotwire, Yahoo, Google, Airport, Gap, et al would be D.O.A.

In each case the name is a metaphor for something about the company. Hotwiring a car is a “hack”, Hotwire positions the site as a travel hack – a way around high prices. Pandora Radio is a marketplace, positioned metaphorically as a “box full of intrigue”.

When juxtaposed in line with the company’s positioning, the names simply become interesting – they have personality. They demonstrate confidence and uniqueness. Metaphorically re-purposing the negative is what makes them so positive.

The names are provocative, differentiating and memorable.

From a business perspective, these names are a pure positive, derived from a literal negative. It’s called “The Principle of Negativity”.

Don’t fear the Negative – well executed, it’s a Positive.

“Typo”? Why Would Anyone Name A Keyboard “Typo”?

Because they understand the power of a name to define & own a category.

Typo's iPhone Keyboard Case

And to get them a staggering amount of free press / product awareness / brand name recognition.

Typo” does everything you want a name to do. It cuts through all the clutter, it’s viral, is instantly and eternally memorable, demonstrates the notion that this is a ground breaking offering, exudes confidence, is relevant, etc.

And it makes the cash register ring.

Why is this type of name so rare and why hasn’t it been given to a keyboard before? Fear. Irrational fear based on a lack of understanding of how consumers process names. The objection is obvious – “We want to convey that we make typing a better experience, typo is the opposite. It will convey there is something wrong with our product”.

Really? As a consumer does this name make you doubt the quality of the product? No. That possibility is a wholly imagined one and exists only within a naming committee – yet fear of the baseless is the basis for most naming decisions.

The key is understanding how Typo gets its positive power from the same qualities that intuitively are seen as negative nullifiers.

You need to ensure the right filters are in place when evaluating names.

Pursuit has launched!

Igor named Viad’s new Travel & Recreation group “Pursuit“:

Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) today introduced an umbrella brand, Pursuit, for its unique collection of iconic experiences. With locations that span Banff, Jasper, Waterton Lakes, Glacier, Denali and Kenai Fjords national parks and Vancouver, British Columbia, the creation of a unifying brand is a logical next step to facilitate guest interaction with us across all geographies. “

Pursuit Collection Reveal Video – 35 secs from Pursuit on Vimeo.

“We believe that collecting memories is far more important than collecting things.

We share yourlonging to explore. To get out into the world in search of remarkable
experiences. To stride eagerly through your bucket-list and tick off
dreams fulfilled. This is what we call ‘living’.”

We have gathered a collection of adventure travel experiences, each of
them thoughtfully united by their power to inspire and invigorate. As
a brand, Pursuit weaves elements of wonder and amazement across our
range of awe-inspiring experiences.”

Would “Slack” Make It Through Your Company’s Naming Process?

It would, if and only if your naming committee understands the difference between what is true and what is relevant. If your company needed to name “A messaging app for teams” and the name “Slack” was proposed, this is the type of feedback you could expect:

“In business, Slack means “characterized by a lack of work or activity; quiet. “Business was rather slack””

“A Slacker is someone who works as little as possible. A terrible message for our target audience”

“Slack means slow, sluggish, or indolent, not active or busy; dull; not brisk. Moving very slowly, as the tide, wind, or water. Neglect, reduce, tardy”

Every definition and association we can find of Slack is negative”

All of the above is true. The only real question being, is any of it it relevant? Does this mean Slack would be a terrible name or a great name? Most naming committees would laugh Slack out of the room if anyone suggested it, given all the “negatives surrounding the word – and the complete lack of “positives”.

And let’s not forget the team member who will wrongly assert, “No one will take us seriously with a name like Slack”.

Obviously Slack is a highly effective name. It’s clear that a names’ successes doesn’t depend upon positive associations, nor is it harmed by a plethora of negative associations.

Slack works because it addresses the problem; the reason the tool is needed -to take up the Slack. And because Slack is naming the problem rather than the solution, it stands out and demonstrates that something different is happening at Slack. Its associations that would wrongly be deemed “negative” for a name, like Slacker and Slaking Off, means the name Slack has stopping power. And a sense of humanity demonstrated through humor. It’s engaging, different, human and unforgettable. It demands and receives your attention. What more could you want?

How can you make sure a name like Slack doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor of your next naming project? We’ve spelled it out simply and precisely in the 28 pages of the Igor Naming Guide.

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“Navel”, Yoga Wear for New Moms. Our Latest Naming Work.

Navel is one of 5 new brands we’ve named for Target’s startup incubator so far in 2016.

The Basics:

The Startup – Superior yoga wear designed specifically for new moms.

Define the positioning: The job was to find a name that worked with the ideas of mother-child connection, core strengthening, yoga and Buddhism.

Find the confluence: There is only one name that can perfectly pull all four ideas together and provide a deep well of imagery and associations for branding, marketing & advertising: Navel.

Vet for trademark: And it had to be a single-word name available to trademark worldwide – no small feat in the crowded clothing category.

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Via Yoga.com:

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Zoic. Named by Igor.

Zoic Capital is a life science and medical technology venture capital firm focusing on concept to early stage opportunities.

Zoic is a suffix meaning “of life” – as in Paleozoic, Cryptozoic, Protozoic, Mezozoic, et al.
Zoic is short, unique, and has a great look & sound.

Zoic sums up what the company is about in a disruptive, differentiated & intriguing way.
An instant classic.
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