What they do: Alexandra is the founder of Eat My Words, the wildly creative naming firm behind countless love-at-first-sight brand names. Eat My Words’ clients include Coca-Cola, Disney, Google, Frito-Lay, MIT, Wrigley, Fujitsu, Hasbro, Del Monte, and more.
Interesting fact: While working as an advertising copywriter, Alexandra occasionally got to name something, discovering her love for the art of naming. Surprisingly, she had no idea that naming could be a profession. After 16 years as a copywriter, she took a leap of faith, transitioned into becoming a professional namer, and almost instantly, top naming firms like Landor and Interbrand started seeking her freelance expertise. It wasn’t long before she realised the need for her own naming firm, leading to the birth of “Eat My Words”.
A great name should make you smile instead of scratch your head.
When you have a name that’s pronounced multiple ways, it dilutes your brand’s impact.
We start out our conversation by discussing Alexandra’s advertising background and transition to becoming a professional namer. She observes that naming has become increasingly challenging over time due to trademark and domain name restrictions and trends such as omitting vowels or using unconventional spellings. These challenges are addressed and simplified in her book.
We explore common mistakes in naming brands. Alexandra introduces her 12-point name evaluation smile and scratch test, based on the philosophy that a name should make people smile instead of scratch their heads. She advises against using names with numbers, foreign words, or multiple pronunciations to maintain brand clarity.
Regarding domain names, Alexandra suggests that businesses should prioritise finding a great brand name before fixating on domain availability. She highlights how successful companies like Tesla, Facebook, DropBox, and Basecamp creatively addressed domain challenges by selecting unique brand names first and securing compromise domains. They later upgraded to their perfect domain names as the business grew and their concept was proved.
We discuss the ideal time for someone to seek the expertise of a naming professional like Alexandra. While her book provides valuable insights and a DIY approach, collaboration with a naming expert is beneficial when clients require a name that aligns perfectly with their brand’s unique characteristics, ensuring a more focused and efficient naming process.
Alexandra recommends using personalised domain names to enhance user experience, enabling redirects to specific website pages. She also encourages creative domain usage for marketing campaigns or courses. She emphasises the use of fun and creative names for internal divisions and departments to improve corporate culture.
In our conversation about new technologies, Alexandra mentions that AI tools like ChatGPT can be helpful for brainstorming names but notes that they cannot replace professional naming expertise.
Brand and naming with industry expert Alexandra Watkins. (0:05)
Naming businesses and avoiding common mistakes. (5:10)
Domain names and branding with a focus on ease of use and access. (9:44)
Branding, naming, and personal brands. (19:30)
Using creative domain names for branding and marketing. (24:32)
Corporate naming conventions and their impact on culture. (29:45)
We host engaging conversations about naming, branding, and entrepreneurship, exploring everything from initial triumphs to the hurdles along the way. If you’ve got insights on innovative branding strategies, lessons learned from entrepreneurial ventures, or thoughts on the significance of a solid domain name strategy, and you’re keen to chat about them, we’d love to hear from you!
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