An Israeli company with a name that had a very negative connotation for Americans tried to target their ideal customer: American senior citizens or those who care for them. Once they realized this, their singular marketing and sales person posted in a local Facebook group for English speakers, looking to try out a new name:
Hey great people 🙂
I would like to hear your thoughts about a name for a company – *Ayeko*.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see this word?
Is there any meaning for it in English or Spanish that we need to know about?
They definitely get commendation for making the effort to test the name among an audience that may be able to provide some insight. I decided to offer some perspective as well, from a more gentle approach:
It sounds a bit odd to the American ear when saying it (not to mention, most people will probably not pronounce it correctly). As a branding consultant, I typically tell my clients that a unique name is helpful when it comes to SEO ranking (it’ll take longer/more money to rank for industry related terms), but it should either connect with what you do and/or your company ‘ethos.’ Ayeko – unless it means something in a language other than English or Spanish – doesn’t mean anything to me.
Also, as someone else mentioned, it could be pronounced in a way that sounds like “yuk” is part of the word and you’ll definitely want to avoid negative connotation (unless it’s a ‘fast brand’ meant to serve a short or mid-length, highly strategized campaign).
If you’re going with something unique and not inherently English or with an English root word (and your target audience consists predominantly of English speakers), choose a word with no more than 2 syllables. Yotpo, Walyou, Wix are all good examples of successful brand names that would otherwise seem odd to the majority of native English speakers.
The company is looking to rebrand, and its non-native English speaking founders were brainstorming different ideas for the name – most of which would not make sense neither for their industry nor their audience. They admitted – in a separate conversation I had with them – to not knowing the American culture very well and having a difficult time understanding what they needed to convey and how to go about the process.
After taking the time to evaluate their website and researching their target audience, additional potential leads, and competitors, I was able to better understand what is truly their brand. In a rather intimidating industry for the average person, they really need to aim for something friendly and familiar. Their audience is a very conservative, Middle America set. For them, they definitely need to stay away from anything that sounds odd or ‘too foreign,’ and make sure that any created words/names will resonate upon first sight and sound. Something else they were not aware that needed to be optimized is their website. Even though the site looks nice, there’s a lot of room for optimization on the top fold of the homepage and also in the navigation, so that first time visitors will immediately understand who they are and what they can offer.
Created words/names should definitely resonate upon first sight and sound. And no, you don’t have to particularly shy away from creative names – in fact, they’re often essential for brand recognition. A couple of my favorite brand names are Waze and Visual.ly. They each are unique, but pronounceable and memorable; you understand more or less what to expect from the company.
While each of these companies were respectable and significant in their own right, Triond and Bukisa were less successful brand names. Only due to guerilla marketing and native content were either of those able to garner a following, because neither name was able to convey anything about what they did. They only meant something to the owners, who were also reluctant to share their stories, which then meant that they did not resonate with their general audience.
So, a name definitely needs to be obvious or obvious-ish and/or have a story behind it so people can connect – regardless if it’s cybersecurity or a UGC platform
Hopefully this quick insight was a bit helpful. 🙂 You may go through dozens of names, but once you find it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before (always happens). Alternatively, if you do need any advice on branding, etc, we are always available to help. Once you find a name that works for you, don’t forget to grab the domain and get web hosting to go along with it.