Name Awards Professional Commentary on Company Names, Product Brands and Business Names

Category Archives: Future Names

This blog continued on Brighter Naming

Thanks for all your support and feedback over the years – but people really don’t seem to care about giving awards for names and often think this site is for naming your award or presentation.

So now it is closed and archived for ever.

#1pocetnaBut the intent of discussing, cheering and jeering about names continues – as the News Blog on Brighter Naming.

Please join Athol Foden, the Namiac, over there.


Our take on the new e-currency Kwaba name

With all the news breaking about Alibaba’s impending big Chinese IPO, I was reminded of the name Kwaba, a planned new online currency and payment system. If these two companies had a connection that would be great, otherwise they both have interesting naming stories.

First of all, Alibaba is Chinese based and a colleague in Hong Kong that tracks these matters diligently says they are showing no signs of switching to, or adding, Chinese language domain names or portals over and above what they presently have. Of course, as the trading system between Asia and the world, they have to consider the world side. Plus they are also becoming a major player in Africa/World and other trade routes.

What western kid doesn’t know and love the story of Ali Baba and his magic phrase “Open Sesame“. I am just surprised that it is popular and known in the east too. But more power to them – it is magical and memorable. Since Alibaba Group Holdings, a Cayman Islands company that owns the business, has registered the trademark, I assume the old book and movie rights expired.

On the flip side of the coin we have a name so new no one knows it yet. The owners see Kwaba as a purely phonetic word that they can brand to be the next important digital currency. And yes, to most it is a purely phonetic word.  But even then, we are human and naturally strive to associate every name with something, if nothing else but to have a hook in our memory for  recall. As a result this style of branding has mostly been left to the big boys, like back in the days of Kodak, Exxon, Kinkos, etc.  Good sounding, meaningless words with sticky consonants for sharp recall.

kwabaOnly time and execution will tell if the Kwaba name works. No problem at all for youngsters immersed in modern online gaming worlds with their own complete vocabularies. Also no problem for anyone with a knowledge of Africa words as it has a common African language construction (one of the few places you see “kw” like the kwagga animal). For many others, they may think you are saying quaba just like kwik spells quick phonetically.
Certainly this name will go down better in England and English colonial countries where they use a softer a, as do most European languages. In America the a might get loud so the name sounds more like crab a and that would be very problematic.

Pity they couldn’t get their hands on the name Kwando instead…  just as abstract, although it has an implied Can Do, and a famous Kwando, kwando, kwando musical piece to go with it (or is it Quando, quando, quando?).

Caution: Just because a domain registrar or broker or trader rates a name premium, doesn’t mean it is a premium name at all – except if such listing helps them get an exorbitant fee for a pedantic name they can barely give away in a normal marketplace.

© 2013 – All rights reserved –

Elio is a great name for cool new little US car

EliocarWhen I look up Elio in Wikipedia, I get some Italian rock singer. When I look up Elio in a Google Search, most paths lead to Elio Motors, the exciting new 3 wheeler car company starting production as we speak in Louisiana.

Of course, by now I have learned that Elio is the last name of the founder, and not only some clever linguistic derivation of a three syllable word using only four letters of the alphabet. Paul Elio is taking some big hints from Elon Musk (of Tesla Motors fame), but on the other end of the automobile spectrum.

An impressive new car company deserves a great new name (done) plus a great new logo with witch to “badge” their designs. What do you think of their logo and tagline?



Pretty good job I think, though if I want to be super-critical I could say the color scheme and sharp shapes of the E give it a slight Arabic origin look – but heck, most people won’t analyze it that carefully. Also, lots of what they say imply a “green” car, though they never come out and say that since it is a conventional gas powered car – albeit one that can go 600+miles on a 8 gallon tankful.

Stay tuned to see what model names (hopefully) rather than numbers they assign their first cute little family of three-wheelers.


© 2013 – All rights reserved –


Crazy Casino Names

ChuckchansiLogoWill you go gamble in a local Indian casino if you can’t pronounce the name over the entrance? Of course you will.

In fact a real Indian name might even might add a nice touch of aura or mystique. Where do you feel you will be more lucky or have more fun – in the Table Mountain Casino or Chukchansi? I am still trying to believe that there really is an Indian tribal name Chuckchansi, the locals fondly nickname it Chuck and Nancy’s as they put another 10 coins in the slot machine.

GratonCasinoLogoSo I am forced to conclude the big new casino in Northern California will succeed despite its awkward name that grates on my nerves. I wonder what it’s nickname will be.

 © 2013 – All rights reserved –


Scanadu is the Great Name of the Day

ScanaduLogoAs a namiac it isn’t often I get to discover a great new name while reading the morning paper. But today is one of those days when I saw the story and instantly knew what a great name they had – one minute after I read that yet another company was making a medical device hooked to your cell phone as the compute engine (what a great development and universally available platform).
Of course, Scanadu is from Scan and Xanadu. But think of the implied Scan and Do as well. Magnificent.

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AARP has a great new tagline

AarpLogoTaglineAs the big baby boom wave starts to hit retirement age in the USA, it is very appropriate that the biggest retirement organization (unfortunately with just another set of initials name) chooses to update its position and go for a great new tagline: Real Possibilities.

I love it when so much power is contained in so short a tagline, and always wonder how many hundreds of words and taglines they studied before coming up with the final winner. In addition, it is nice to see the writers and editors in their magazine also embracing the tagline and making numerous references to it and using it as a hook for a number of stories.

Some companies and organizations are just stuck with an old name or set of initials. A new logo doesn’t make much of a difference. But anyone can do a new tagline or slogan, and easily get it legally approved. Congratulations to AARP for showing us a great example.

© 2013 – All rights reserved –

Discover IT makes me want to scratch and itch.

DiscoverITWhen your name is relatively long, like in Discover, you surely do want a short second name for a product descriptor. But why something as lifeless as “it” unless you mean Information Technology – and we know that is not your game?

Imagine how much fun they could have with the word itch instead? Would solve everyone’s itch to go shop till they drop. Or at least something else with some character or image or motion or action or life or..

Great color, graphics and nice use of depth make for a good choice of imagery here. In fact, we may even get used to it (pun intended) especially if we ever see or know someone who actually has a Discover card.

© 2013 – All rights reserved –

In the right context, TED is a great name.

Years ago I wrote about the stupidity of United Airlines launching their low-cost airline subsidiary with the dumb name of Ted. There sure wasn’t anything friendly or cute about the name or logo usage… and, in fact, the whole endeavor was soon grounded.

Today, however, a great series of conferences that star eminent speakers and experts in their respective fields, has sprung up and it too is called TED. This stands for Technology, Education and Design…. which is rather long and boring. And while I usually shy away from initials as they are so hard to brand and own, the TED conferences have imbued their’s with a great brand personality – which in turn has led to a big following that helps spread the brand.

And as usually happens with great names, people no longer stop and think about what the name means in a literal language sense. They just tell their friends to go to TED or to watch one of the many speeches from eminent speakers on a wide range of subjects. They will surely inspire and motivate you, or at least move you and entertain you. They have revived the lost art of great public speaking – in most cases with out props or slides.


© 2012 – All rights reserved –

Nicira is a nice name & properly used.

Since VMware is in the process of buying them, I thought it appropriate to quickly give Nicira a name award before the name disappears. I don’t know this company well, as I try to be less technical every day. Nor do I know what the name means. But isn’t it nice to find a new unique name that you can pronounce and when you search Bing for it, only that company comes up and not a big spew of unrelated garbage.
I have a feeling they made up Nicira from their founders names or initials somehow, but I could be way off base here. Doesn’t matter. More importantly, when you read their news and press releases, they are very diligent in always saying “Nicira, the network virtualization company, ….” So they directly positioned themselves every time with this tagline and claimed implicit industry leadership. Plus they help your recall of the name. You have a mental hook and association… to separate it from all those other techy names floating around your brain clouds.

Their investors must be very happy now they have been sold for $1.2 billion or so. Not a bad return on $50 mill or so and some very bright engineers. Hopefully VMWare can find a way to keep the name in use now that it has such industry traction.


© 2012 – All rights reserved –

Palm becomes a Grampa

Palm Computing started life as a software company but was forced to make a pocket device to stay alive. They became a hardware success and offended other licensees of its software, so then split in two. But they never could keep up with the big boys so retrenched and eventually sold the remnants to HP for an exhorbitant price.

Well today we hear about some leaked memos that HP is rebranding that group under the new moniker Gram. We can confirm the rumor is true because  HP has filed an Intent to Use trademark application on the name Gram back on May 14th as follows:

Word Mark GRAM
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer software development tools; operating systems software; operating systems programs; computer operating systems; computer software and firmware for operating system programs; computer software that provides web-based access to applications and services through a web operating system or portal interfaceIC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Providing a website portal in the fields of technology and software development; providing online information in the fields of technology and software development; developing operating system software; developing computer software

So now Palm has become a GramPa !! Or is Gram just the European version, and here stateside we will call the new/old guy Ounce?

And, very interestingly enough, do we go to hardware giant HP to license our software if we want to make smart phones since they currently have no smart phones or tablets? Or do we go to software giant Google to get Android and compete with their extensive Motorola phone division?

PS Do you think their best software apps will win a Grammy?


© 2012 – All rights reserved –