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How To Create Brand Names

with
Alexandra Watkins

Show notes

Table of Contents:

  1. Qualities of a good brand name
  2. Most common naming mistakes
  3. Domain name vs. brand name
  4. How to write a naming brief
  5. Brainstorming name ideas
  6. Conclusions
Check out Alexandra's online course — use the code "EBAQ" to get $300 off

1. Qualities of a good brand name

Arek Dvornechuck:
What's up branding experts? — Arek here at Ebaqdesign. And welcome to On Branding Podcast—the only podcast where i interview branding experts to give you actionable tips on everything branding and beyond. In this episode i interview Alexandra Watkins and we talk about how to create brand names. And Alexandra is the founder of Eat My Words, a nationally recognized naming film featured multiple times in Wall Street Journal, Inc Magazine ,Forbes, Entrepreneur and many more. And prior to launching her firm Eat My Words, Alexandra was an advertising copywriter working at leading West Coast ad agencies, including Ogilvy and Mather and Landor Associates. So her clients include big brands like Amazon, Xerox, Disney, Microsoft, Wrigley, Turner networks, Fujitsu just to name a few. And besides that Alexandra is also the author of the bestselling book “Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick” And this is the book we are going to talk about today. So Alexandra is an expert when it comes to brand naming and that's why i really wanted to have her on our podcast. Hello Alexandra, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on our podcast!

Alexandra Watkins:
My pleasure, thanks for having me.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Thank you. So basically in your book you show how anyone, even the most non-creative person, can come up with great brand names and and really have fun doing it, right? And you say that creating names is not a science yet there is a lot of naming firms that make it so sound like it is actually and they describe their work as "verbal identity engineering", "rigorous methodologies" or "computational linguistics". And so in your book you demystify the naming process and you explain what actually makes a great name and what makes a bad one. And you give a ton of examples of small brands and also big brands that  we all know and we can relate and so we can understand the concept. So in your book you also reveal your brainstorming process. And you give a bunch of tips and tricks on how to come up with awesome names. So i wanted to make this podcast actionable for our listeners and talk about your naming process, and some of your tools and techniques, okay? But before we talk about those exercises, those brainstorming tools, let's first define what makes a good versus bad brand name. So basically you've developed this SMILE and Scratch test, right? so can you just speak to that a bit? What are the qualities of a good brand name?

Alexandra Watkins:
Sure, well the SMILE in SCRATCH is based on my philosophy that a name should make you smile instead of scratch your head. Smile is an acronym for the five qualities that make a name strong, and scratch is an acronym for when to scratch it off the list. So Smile stands for the "S" is for suggestive and that means that your name suggests or evokes something about your brand. The "M" stands for memorable and that means that your name makes an association with the familiar it's much more easy for it's much more easy for people to remember things that they already have an association with. The "I" stands for imagery and that means that your name when people hear it or see it it can evoke visuals in the mind, it's much more easy for people to remember images than it is for them to remember random words. The "L" in SMILE stands for legs and that means that your name has legs and it lends itself to a theme, so you can extend the brand. And finally the "E" in SMILE stands for emotional and your name needs to make an emotional connection to resonate with your audience, otherwise it's going to go right over their head.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Awesome! So... can you just give us some examples for each of those? So we can actually understand.

Alexandra Watkins:
Sure yeah so um suggestive so the name Amazon suggests large right like the Amazon river—large, right? The memorable i like to use... so that makes an association with the familiar. So there's a bike lock named Kryptonite. Well, we're all familiar with Kryptonite from the Superman comic—so that's familiar. It makes it easy to remember. Imagery rent the runway is a unicorn you hear rent the runway you can picture something in your head. Legs—eat my words the name of my company has the theme of food. So for instance our blog is called The Kitchen Sink and we have packages like The Whole Enchilada or signature dish. And then "E" for emotional example—I love to cite is an electronic mosquito zapper named The Executioner. When you hear that, it makes a strong emotional connection. Especially if you're being attacked by a mosquito and you want to kill it. So a name.. if you're shopping on Amazon at 2 a.m for a mosquito a bug zapper like I was—a name like The Executioner makes a strong emotional connection. And names with strong emotional connections help with sales because people want something that they can relate to.

2. Most common naming mistakes

Alexandra Watkins:
So just so the flip side of Smile is Scratch. And I'll give examples as I say these. The "S" in Scratch stands for "spelling challenge". if your name looks like a typo scratch, it off the list people will have trouble finding you, they'll butcher your email address, and web address. Spelling challenged names—we see them all the time. Gosh where do i even start?

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Haagen-Dazs.

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah so there's a like a this was an organic baby clothing company named Speesees which is the bad name in general spelled S-p-e-e-s-e-e-s. Copy cat, is the "C" in Scratch and that is when your name resembles competitors names. So it shows you know a lack of originality... you open yourself up to trademark infringement. An example there is... we all know Quickbooks and there's another accounting software called Freshbooks—I mean it's just like a ripoff of Quickbooks, right? Lending tree, Lending clubs, so it's you know... they share words in the name that just smacks of being a copycat...

Arek Dvornechuck:
T
hat are similar to... just hijacking other people's ideas.

Alexandra Watkins:
Exactly! The "R" in Scratch stands for Restrictive. And that's where your name limits your future growth, because you're locked into it. Like Amazon, if Jeff Bezos had named it Book Barn they you never... what's the latest thing you bought from Amazon, right? like I bought a lighting set. You know, somebody might have bought a lawnmower. Like but you wouldn't be buying that from Book Barns.

Arek Dvornechuck:
That means yeah all kind of stuff....

Alexandra Watkins:
Right right, so you don't want your name to be restrictive. The "A" in Scratch stands for Annoying and that's where your name seems forced or it frustrates customers. There's a company called Screencastify like that's forced. It's i think there's five vowels in one word Screencastify it tries too hard, so that's what I mean by annoying. Or you there's a company called Xobni and it's spelled X-o-b-n-i and that's Inbox spelled backwards. Like don't annoy people, you know. The "T" and Scratch stands for Tame and you don't want a name that feels flat descriptive or uninspired. So that's, you know, people do that by making their name, you know, Network Solutions—it's tame, right?! Or Docusign—it's just boring, right?! It lacks inspiration. The second "C" in Scratch stands for the "Curse of knowledge" and that's where your name speaks only to insiders. This is often what happens when engineers are allowed to name things. They forget that other people don't know what they know. So this is often when something is named in a word that's a foreign language—for instance that has the curse of knowledge. And then finally the "H" in SCRATCH stands for "Hard to pronounce" and when your name is hard to pronounce, it confuses and distances customers. So think of a time you've gone to a foreign restaurant and you were unable to confidently pronounce something on the menu. So maybe you pointed at it, maybe you butchered or bungled the spelling or maybe you just didn't order it at all. You don't want your brand name to be like that either you want it to be approachable like a welcome mat not like a do not enter sign. So hard to pronounce names, you know, again with the foreign languages. Or if your name can be pronounced multiple ways. That's a bad thing, you only want your brand to be known by one pronunciation, not two, right?! That's a SCRATCH!

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, yeah it does make sense. So yeah, so we... so your technique is this—is like a checklist basically, right?!

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah it's a 12 point name evaluation filter.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Yeah, so it's SMILE—just for our listeners just to sum up—So SMILE stands for five qualities of a good name. And so we were talking about: suggestive, memorable, image, legs and emotional.

And now we've talked about SCRATCH which stands... for just common naming mistakes or bad names. So we've talked about names that are... the spelling is challenged, or copycat names, restrictive, annoying, tame, course of knowledge and hard to pronounce.

3. Domain name vs. brand name

Arek Dvornechuck:
So since since our listeners now have some idea of what makes a good versus bad brand name... Now I know that—just from my own experience—that because a lot of people talk about domains when it comes to naming, right? And there is a lot of misconception when it comes to naming and then finding an available domain. So people often ask, you know, "Can a domain name be different than your legal business name?" and "How important is matching a company's name to its domain name?"—So in the third chapter of your book you actually state quote: "Most people believe that the first thing they must do when naming a business is to go to a domain registrar and to make sure that domain is not taken" end quote. So basically the misconception is that people think that if their exact name isn't available, then they have to dismiss that name entirely—which is not true, right?! So can you speak to that?

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah absolutely! Yeah, so many people make that mistake of starting by looking for a domain name when what they should be doing is finding a really good name for their brand. And thinking about the domain name—nobody expects you to have an available domain... to have an exact match domain name anymore. And so many companies that you know didn't start out with this exact match domain name: Facebook was thefacebook.com, Tesla was teslamotors.com, Dropbox was getdropbox.com, Basecamp was basecamphq.com—So don't let yourself, don't stop yourself because you can't find an available... you'll never get a good brand name if you insist upon having an exact match domain name. Those just aren't available anymore. So just add a modifier or do something clever. Like come up with a memorable phrase. Some of my favorites are—there's a company called Greenberg Smoked Turkeys and their domain name is gobblegobble.com There's a peanut butter company called Peanut Butter & Co and their domain name is ilovepeanutbutter.com So there's a... one of my clients is a... they make their produce grower and they make a lot of prepackaged vegetables and their domain name.... their company is called Man Packing and their domain is veggiesmaideasy.com So you can get creative. Don't don't get into that trap. And that's why so many names are spelled in such horrible ways because people are so desperate to find an available domain name. That they'll sacrifice a name that's easy to spell and pronounce because they think they have to have the same word. And that the domain is super important. People will find you—build a good brand!

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! So this is really important to just point this out because it's a common misconception. So basically the solution to that is just to add modifiers, in the form of an extra word, right? Or using a creative phrase as you mentioned like with peanut butter — ilovepeanutbutter.com Yeah, so what are some of the wrong like... wrong ways about going about domain name, for example misspellings.

Alexandra Watkins:
There's so many! I have this new online course called How To Create Super Sticky Brand Names and I have seven lessons in there on domain names and I have one called Silliness. And one of the things that people do is they use what's called the CCTLD which stands for Country Code Top Level Domain where they'll use the extension for a country like .ly which is Libya. And I've actually been to Libya and I tell me I trust me if you had to go to Libya to get one of those extensions you probably wouldn't want to use it. Do not do this like, you know, then you have to constantly... like General Assembly is a place that offers online courses and their domain name is generalassem.ly so they always have to spell it. Any time you have to stop and spell your name for people—your name, domain name, you're you're apologizing for it. That's exactly what you're doing. And when you apologize for your name you're devaluing your brand. So don't use like dot me to spell something. And I'm sure a lot of your listeners remember Delicious the social bookmarking site that had all the dots in it they started that whole trend with the dot us. Well while no one was paying attention they quietly dropped the dots. And they wrote a blog post about it and said, you know, look... nobody ever got them in the right place. It was maddening ,right? It was so frustrating and that's what happens—you're frustrating people. You do not want your name to be frustrating. You don't want people to get that bounce back email because they're spelling Species like it should be spelled not you know S-p-e-e-s-e-e-s. So don't make it hard for people, make it easy. Remember "the welcome mat" not "the do not enter sign". So yeah, the CCTLD is huge mistake. Hyphens can trip people up, because again you're gonna have to spell it out. If i tell you my website is eatmywords.com—I don't have to stop and spell it. I don't have to say there's a hyphen in it. I don't have to say, you know, Eat my words or brand name, you know, brand name na dot m e. Like... because and people... I know this because we renamed so many companies! And people that got it wrong, the first time and they'll say every time I tell someone it was like dot m-e then they would say dot com, right? And it's like... no there is no dot com—why isn't there a dot com? And like you end up again explaining, apologizing and you're devaluing your brand. And you're wasting time! So don't make it frustrating.

Arek Dvornechuck:
(Now we are going to take a quick break here but we will be right back. Listen my mission is to help people design iconic brands. So whether you're a business leader who wants to be more intentional with branding and all of its aspects. Or you are a creative who wants to attract powerful clients and truly be able to help them with branding. Then you need to start with a discovery session and then develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work and everything you need to learn how to do that you can find in my online courses at ebackdesign.com/shop where I share with you my worksheets, case studies, video tutorials, and other additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process. And now let's get back to our conversation with Alexandra Watkins). Yes and this is something that you mentioned in your book also, right? You shouldn't apologize for your name when you apologize for your name, that's basically you're missing the point, right? So yeah every time you have to spell for people, you are apologizing for your name. So just make make it easy for  your customers, right?!

4. How to write a naming brief

Arek Dvornechuck:
So now, I just wanted to talk about your brainstorming exercises, because there is a lot quite a lot of them in your book. And I know you have an online course which is... you just launched recently. And so you have a lot of brainstorming exercises that you use. But before we actually talk about those brainstorming exercises, what is really important—and you emphasize on that in your book—is to define some criteria. Just to be able to stay focused in that brainstorming phase, so ultimately we can make some meaningful decisions when selecting, you know, the winning candidates, right? So can we talk about the importance of writing a naming brief or creative brief. And what kind of information should we include there?

Alexandra Watkins:
Sure! Yeah, I would never start a naming project without a creative brief. And what the brief is, it's really the road map. It's where... so you do stay focused like you said. And otherwise you don't... if you don't have a plan it's kind of like if you were driving somewhere—you need a map to get there. Or I guess your GPS and otherwise you'd just be going around aimlessly. So the brief keeps you on track, you know, you want to think about what's the tone and personality of your brand. And this is always going to be a checklist that you can come back to and say "Does the name that have come up with match what my goals are?". What is... what style of names do you like? What is some brand experiences you want people to feel when they come in contact with your name? You know, if if you're like... our brand is playful, unexpected and creative. So we need a name that's that feels like that, which Eat My Words is. If we were called, you know, Strategic Name Development—that doesn't feel playful, creative or unexpected at all. So you want to have these... you want to define who your brand is, then work on your name and let the name fall out of that,

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! So it's really important to have a creative brief, because otherwise you're just drifting... you want to be focused, right? You won't know which which candidate is a good candidate, so you just waste a lot of time. So some of those components like of a creative brief would be: your desired brand positioning, your target audience, some consumer insights, of course you need to analyze your competitors, right?! And desired brand experience, and as you mentioned brand personality, tone of voice and perhaps some words that you want to explore or words that you want to avoid, right?

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah words to explore is really important! And yeah words to avoid would be like... you know, words that your competitors use and their names. Or words that might not appeal to your target audience. So it's really important that you spend a lot of time on the brief. And that all of the decision makers weigh in. So that way you all have the same strategy. And when you do come up with names, you will have something to measure them against.

5. Brainstorming name ideas

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! Okay, so since we know that, and once you have the creative brief prepared. Now let's talk about those brainstorming exercises. So in your book you reveal all your secrets and methods to brainstorm names. And so I just wanted to talk about at least, about a few of them—just to give people an idea of what's in the book or what's in your course, right? Because there's quite a lot of exercises there. But first let's just talk about what's the right versus the wrong way of, you know, brainstorming names. Because in your book you say quote "Brainstorming meetings are terribly ineffective"—so why is that they are ineffective and how to brainstorm the right way?

Alexandra Watkins:
That's a great question! Anyone listening to this that's been in a brainstorming meeting knows how ineffective they are. You're meeting in a white room, staring at white walls, it's completely sterile. There's no creative inspiration in there. And all you have to use is your brain and the people around you. It's a free-for-all where the extroverts take over and throw anything out there. There's no objective criteria to evaluate names. The introverts might shy away from participating. And the whoever is the loudest or has the most seniority is who ends up getting listened to. And what happens is, people often end up with these like amalgamated names of a little of this idea, a little of that idea. Or what happens is the name that gets chosen is the name... is not the best name—it's the name that's met with the least resistance. So for all of those reasons and more they're not effective. The best way to brainstorm that I've discovered after doing this for 15 years is doing it in front of a computer. The computer is a far bigger brain than, you know, if you put a couple hundred people in a room—the computer is still gonna win. Right? You're gonna be at... there's it's a bottomless well of creative ideas. You just need to know how to top it and where to look. So if you just do it yourself! And you know, use my my tools—and yeah I give away a lot in the book—there's... I give away way more in my in my course, because I just had to do something way better than the book. And I really show you a lot of different techniques and places to go. But if you do that, you don't have anybody saying "no" to you. You're able to kind of brainstorm in peace. Get as creative as you want. Go down different rabbit holes and really get a lot more creative. And you don't have to listen to anybody poo-pooing your ideas. You can just go for it! And so what I suggest is doing it yourself—that way, you know, don't play Drunken Scrabble. Or use any type of Voodoo Linguistic stuff, just use real words that are conceptual. Pull words out of your brief as starter point, is to concept on. And so that's the way to do it. And if you have people on your team, you're doing it together—start on your own doing it the way I say. Then come together as a team. You will have run your name through the SMILE and SCRATCH test by then. And you'll say "Okay these are the names I came up with, they pass the SMILE and SCRATCH test and they're on strategy with the brief" and how people compare notes—that's where you should meet, first meet as a group. After you've done your homework.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! So just to sum up for our listeners. The best way to go about brainstorming names is just to do it in front of the computer. You know, because you have access to all this information. And you can really dig, you know, you can find much more than, you know... even if you have like you said "hundreds of people"—still computer is gonna win. Right, So this is the right way to do it. So let's set some rules before we talk about those specific exercises. :et's set some rules, so since we know that the best way is to use the computer. What is the advice before we actually jump into those exercises. What what are some of the rules we need to keep in mind, you know, when brainstorming?

Alexandra Watkins:
Well I think I don't really think there's any rules. If you're doing it by yourself because there is no, like you know, group brainstorming. And no ideas about idea like that whole thing. But it's... you know, what I do is I write down everything even if it's not the the perfect name. I'll write it down and I call these sparks. Like it might be part of a word or part of a name. Like, it's not right but i'll come back to it later. So I guess I would say maybe that's a rule, like don't throw anything out. And don't keep looking up domain names while you're doing it. Like, you know, I would chunk it out into maybe an hour at a time that you're doing it. And look, your name, how long is your name going to last, right?—Years. So don't just spend like a couple hours on it. Like, really spend a lot of time doing it. You know, we can spend three weeks working on names here. So put the time into it. The more time you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. The more you put into your creative brief, the more names you'll come up with.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! And of course, have your naming brief or creative brief in front of you.

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah! You want to have your creative brief in front of you. You can have the SMILE and SCRATCH test in front of you. Before you start, I always tell people "Pull 12 words out of your creative brief"—they don't need to be part of your name, but they could be jumping off points for concepts. So if you were naming a frozen yogurt store and you had the word "cold" in your creative brief. You know it's a cold treat, you could start searching for the word "cold"—I do this in my book—and you know I was looking at coldest places on Earth. I call that Google-storming, where i'm just like putting in thing... reading just curious, you know, asking questions "coldest places on earth". And I was reading about somewhere and I saw it was in Siberia and I thought that would make a really fun name for a frozen yogurt store "Siberia". So that's how I come up with ideas. Or looking up lingo, so I looked up "snowboarding terms" and I was reading about those... and I saw the word "chatter" and I thought, oh "chatter" it's just this innocuous snowboarding term but then I thought of, you know, the teens eating frozen yogurt chattering away, socializing. And your teeth chatter when it's cold. So that was like, oh that's a great name! And I never would have come up with that on my own.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! So you just mentioned two of those exercises, right?! Yeah so glossaries, lingo, google-storming... So just googling those words. So you pull out 12 words from your creative brief. And you start with one and just run run with one through different exercises, using different exercises. And then you take another one and another one, right? And you have to of course put time into it. It's not gonna just take a couple minutes or a couple hours. It can take a few days, or a few weeks as you said.

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah! and you have to keep going and not get discouraged! You know I did this in my course, to kind of like replicate—this is what it's like... And we're doing the frozen yogurt thing and I say look at book titles with the word "cold" in them. And I show this whole screen of book titles. And I say, look at this, do you see any ideas?  And there are no good ideas. And I say, you know, look this is going to happen! You're going to look things up and there's not going to be anything there, but you just have to keep going and you will find something. But just it's kind of like if you're shopping for clothes. And you go in a store and there's nothing... whatever you're shopping for, sporting equipment, whatever ! There's nothing there that you like. You don't give up—you just go to the next door. And that's what brainstorming is... like you have to just keep going. Trying different things, try different words, try different places, try different search terms. And you will come up with ideas, but you just have to keep digging.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! So some some of the other exercises, some of the other tools that you use, right?—You use, you mentioned Thesaurus, just searching images on Google on the tab "images". Using dictionaries, cliches, you mentioned book titles, also movie titles or song titles, right? So can you just...can we just like... So for example, you take the word "cold", right?—Just to give our listeners an idea. And and you go on thesaurus.com and you type in the word and you see what's coming up. And you write down, if you think that... you judge those ideas against your creative brief and if you think it's good... and you also mentioned to "write everything down", right? So ideas can lead you to better ideas. So don't dismiss ideas right away. Just write everything down and see where it leads you, right?

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah! Like I was looking up "cold" in the Thesaurus and I saw the word "wintry" and that's not a good name for a frozen yogurt store, but it made me think of winter and that led me to winter sports. So I went on Google Images typed in "winter sports" and I saw a guy doing an aerial trick on a snowboard and I thought to myself "that's so cool". And I thought "oh that would make an interest... a fun name"—so cool. You know, so it's looking at... I saw pictures of people making snow angels in the snow i'm like "oh snow day"—that would be fun, you know, maybe not for a frozen yogurt store that would probably be better for a snow cone shop. But that's what I mean, like just try things like that where you're just typing in... I mean that's what's so much fun about Google and anywhere on the internet—Wikipedia. There's just... read skim, just look for interesting words. One of my favorite brainstorming stories is.... I was working with this guy who was naming a men's leisure, you know, clothing brand. And he was really into MMA fighting, so I looked up movie... I looked up  "car movie fight scenes" and there's a top.... whatever number list of everything. So I just looked up top "50 movie car chase scenes". Top 50 movie fight scenes, and sure enough they were there. And I just was reading and reading, you just got to keep skimming. To me it's all about skimming—looking for interesting words to pop out. And I saw the word "stunt double" and I'm like "oh my God—that's such a fun name for a clothing brand". So that was the name—Stunt Double.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Nice! That's a great story. So basically everything that you need to come up with a great name is online, right?

Alexandra Watkins:
It is, yeah! You just have to know where to look. And how to think differently, you know? Just think deeply just, don't go for the obvious. When I'm naming... we do a lot of work with Starkist and a lot of frozen fish brands. And I look up names of boats, because people name their boats really fun clever things. Or I might look up names of racehorses or baby names. So there's... just look for analogies, right? If you're doing a metaphorical name. Look for something... if you're naming something fast go on Google Images or Getty stockhouse and look up fast, because everything's tagged with keywords. And you're going to see things that are "fast" and think of Puma, right?—The running shoe. That could have been something that came up if they were doing an image search.

6. Conclusions

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right! Awesome! So hopefully with all those tips and tricks... so we have the checklist SMILE and SCRATCH test to evaluate those things. So once you have a lot of ideas, you use different exercises, that you reveal in your book, or on your website—in your online course. And once you have a lot of ideas, you can you can just narrow them down, right? And then what would be the next step? How to review those names? Let's say if we are coming up with... we need to come up with a name for a startup. And so there's a team. We need to present those names, do you have any tips for presenting those names or selecting the right name. What's next?

Alexandra Watkins:
Well after you have your... So if you're doing, you're naming a startup. You have all the team members do the creative exercises on their own. You know, come together having filtered everything through the SMILE and SCRATCH test. Check it against the brief to make sure your names are on strategy. Then at that point, you can share names as a group and then rank them. At that point everybody can rank their names. And you don't want to ask "Do I like it?"—the question to ask yourself is "Is it right for the brand?"—because that's far less subjective than "Do I like it?". Is it right for the brand is definitely the correct question to ask yourself. At that point you can rank your names and send the ones that you like the best. And again look I'm not telling.... look it's so hard for the startups to not do this, but you don't need to go look at domain names yet. You know run everything through trademark screening first, right? Because why bother looking for domain names if it's not going to clear trademarking? So do those screens first. And in my course you get 60 free days of online trademark screens from this really cool new website that makes it really easy to screen names online—it's very comprehensive. Do your screens, then come back and say "okay here's a clear trademarking". Now let's review them again and rank them again. And what you don't want to do is ask people outside your team what they think. Because when you do a Survey Monkey or start asking people in the hallway. You know, or your friends and family "What do you think of this name, do you like this?"—that's not.. they don't hear "what do you think"—what they hear is "what don't you like about it?". And anytime you ask someone for their opinion, it's an invitation to criticize. So don't do that you know if you've if you've become knowledgeable about naming, you're going to know way more about naming than the people that you're asking. And everybody considers themselves to be a fond of wisdom around naming but they're not. You know, they don't know the rules, right?

Arek Dvornechuck:
They were not involved in the process, right?

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah they weren't involved in the process. They don't know best practices. And so... they mean well, but you'll often get really bad advice and that's how bad names happen.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Awesome! So hopefully with all those tips and tricks our listeners have just, you know, much more success finding awesome brand names.

So but there is much more to it, and there is many more exercises. But you can find more in the book—"Hello, My Name Is Awesome" or in the online course. And Alexandra was so kind to create a coupon code which is "EBAQ"—just from my name. So you can get $300 off.

And as we are approaching at the end of our interview, can you just give us some... how can we find more about you? and the work you do? For people who want to work with you, or just for people who want to find more about you and just learn from you.

Alexandra Watkins:
Yeah! Just go to my website Eat My Words eatmywords.com and you can follow me on LinkedIn @alexandrawatkins or you know just look up "Eat My Words" and you'll find me. And that's it and then, you know, there will be a link for the course in the show notes I'm sure, if people want to do that and use their promo code (EBAQ) to get $300 off. Yeah and my book is called "Hello My Name Is Awesome: How To Create Brand Names That Stick"

Arek Dvornechuck:
Awesome! Thank you very much for coming on the show—I really appreciate that.

Alexandra Watkins:
My pleasure! Thanks for having me.

Arek Dvornechuck:
So this is it for today's episode. And make sure to go and check out Alexandra's website and follow her on social media. And also check out her book that we'll talk about today "Hello, My Name Is Awesome" and don't forget about the $300 discount of the Alexandra's new online course just use the code EBAQ at checkout. It's E-B-A-Q and you can find all the links on this episode's page at ebaqdesign.com/podcast/10 — So thanks for tuning in, and if you enjoyed this episode please subscribe to my podcast for more tips on branding, strategy and design. This was Arek Dvornechuck from Ebaqdesign.

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