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Names with stories: The story behind
By SmartBranding Team access_time 6 min read

Alex Winston, CBO and Co-Founder of Lunio, shared the story behind their brand, the process of choosing the right name, and how owning affected their business.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before you started your business?

I’m Alex, the Chief Branding Officer and Co-Founder here at Lunio. Prior to founding Lunio, I worked in performance marketing (specifically the creative side) for several years as an agency owner. Interestingly, I’ve never had a “normal” job – I went straight from my Chemistry degree at university to being an agency owner, and then to founding Lunio!

How was the idea for Lunio born?

One of my agency clients had a serious problem with wasted advertising spend & inaccurate analytics as a result of bot activity. There was nothing on the market to fix that problem, so in collaboration with my client and some contacts with fantastic cybersecurity experience we built Lunio (previously PPC Protect). It was very much a case of fixing a problem we had first and foremost, and then helping others to solve that same pain point once we knew how successful it was.

What does Lunio do?

We’re a SaaS (software as a service) platform that provides mission-critical invalid traffic prevention & data hygiene products for performance marketing teams. In simple terms, we identify and eliminate bot & fake user activity from the performance marketing funnel, and clean up your web traffic to ensure you’re investing in acquiring more of the good users and not bots.

How did you name your brand? What was the reasoning behind choosing the name Lunio?

In terms of technical process of how to name it we ran workshops firstly to determine what we are, secondly to determine our core characteristics, and then to work from those to create words that are similar or associated with the key characteristics.

We ran 3x those workshops with words we liked (so we would say Space which an associated word could be moon, then we would take moon and associate Lunar), then we would play around with suffixes and prefixes etc to create a name we finally liked, which we ran voting on internally and across our client base and Lunio was the most popular.

That’s a very simplified version, but sums it up nicely!

What domain name did you choose for Lunio? What is your experience with it?

Interestingly, we chose two different domains. We settled on for our core domain, as the .ai suffix highlights the artificial intelligence angle of our product and market, and promotes one of our USPs.

However, we also acquired – whilst we use .ai in the day to day, we find around 20% of traffic defaults to going to when they hear about us. For that reason, it was absolutely vital that we secured both the .com and .ai versions of the domain.

Alex Winston, CBO and Co-Founder of Lunio

What is your biggest challenge with this business? Have you overcome it, and how?

Our biggest challenge is getting performance marketers to truly understand the scale of the bot and fake user problem. Anything from 11% through to 30% of performance marketing spend is wasted on invalid traffic – a huge amount! Marketers can unlock massive ROAS increases by eliminating this traffic, but at times the amount can be so eye-watering that it feels almost unbelievable – which is exactly why we introduced our free of charge audit process.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business when it comes to naming their brand?

Your name does not need to say what you do, infact this can often be detrimental because if you pivot or add additional services (such as we did when we were originally called PPC Protect) you can run into issues.

What your name does is cement everything built beneath it in the brand. It’s a symbol of your purpose, it can be the first brand touch point, so it represents your business, it’s purpose, its values etc.

Alex Winston, CBO and Co-Founder of Lunio

But in this fast paced tech world we live in it’s also important that it’s easy to type, easy to understand from sound alone (avoid silent letters or confusing spellings), and needs to be unique.

It can be really hard to come up with a good name but if you overthink it you can often end up coming up with something that won’t hit those. The most famous brands like Amazon, Google, Nike are simple, easy to say/spell, and memorable.

Also, be sure to break out of your echo chamber when creating it, it might suck to have someone laugh at the name you all love but it’s better than launching with that name and having the whole world laugh at you!

What do you know about premium domains, and what do you feel is their role in building successful brands?

For us, a premium domain meant we could secure our brand identity with the most common suffix – .com.

Whilst the initial investment in some premium domains may look high, the fact is that the long term branding benefits are giving you a 10x or even 100x return on the investment. In today’s tech-first world it’s all about the domain name – that’s something you just can’t ignore.

In today’s tech-first world it’s all about the domain name – that’s something you just can’t ignore.

Alex Winston, CBO and Co-Founder of Lunio

Where do you feel your knowledge about domains as brand assets can improve?

I think many businesses just don’t understand that the investment in a domain has value itself. It’s an asset you own/hold that, generally, only appreciates in value. This is definitely something we’ve come to learn here at Lunio.

What is next for Lunio?

We’ve just raised our $15m Series A, bringing our total funding to date to $18m, which means it’s an extremely exciting time for us! We’ll be launching some truly innovative and exciting client initiatives over the next few months as we further establish ourselves as one of the leading players in the marketing data hygiene & go to market security space.

We can’t give away too much yet, but watch this space!

Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions where can they reach you online?

Drop me a message on LinkedIn – I’m always happy to chat.

How does your brand name match your company vision? What new horizons can a better name open? Get in touch if you feel your brand deserves a better name, we are always happy to help.

Alex Winston branding business domain domain name domain names domains funding Lunio naming platform Saas