Alexandra Watkins is the founder of Eat My Words, a San Francisco naming firm that specializes in creating names that make people smile instead of scratching their heads. Her clients include Disney, Microsoft, Wrigley, Frito-Lay, and Fujitsu.
Every year, 6 million companies and more than 100,000 products are launched. All of them need a memorable name. In her book, «Hello, my Name is Awesome» Alexandra explains why a serious approach to the company's name is so important.
Here are Alexandra's seven deadly sins, which go by the acronym SCRATCH.
1. Spelling-challenged — looks like a typo. Some examples include: Svbtle (publishing network), Twyxt (couples app), and Houzz (interior design).
2. Copycat — is similar to competitor's name. For example, the brand names Chatter, Jabber, and Yammer were all seemingly "inspired" by the online success of Twitter.
3. Restrictive — limits future growth. For example, Diapers.com sells much more than diapers.
4. Annoying — is forced or frustrates customers. This includes intentionally mysterious names (what products do you think Vungle, Magoosh, and Kiip make?).
5. Tame — is flat, descriptive, uninspired. Examples include Cloud Now (cloud services), and DocuSign (electronic signatures).
6. Curse of knowledge — makes sense only to insiders. For example, Eukanuba pet food, Mzinga social software, SPQR restaurant.
7. Hard to pronounce — is not obvious or is unapproachable. For example, Xobni--"inbox" spelled backward, or Serena Williams's clothing line Aneres).
In book you’ll see dozens of examples — the good, the bad, and the “so bad she gave them an award.” Alexandra Watkins is not afraid to name names.