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What's in a name? Interview with Andra and Marcela of Namzya
By Kristina Misic access_time 15 min read

Namzya is a specialized naming agency that has named brands, products and services for more than 20 corporations. Among its clients are companies like TATA Motors, MAN Truck & Bus, Nespresso, Lavazza, Adama, Amplifon, Franke, Arcelik (Beko brand), Verisure, Atlantic Grupa, ART Fertility Clinics. Namzya was founded by Andra Guțui and Marcela Sărmășan, who were also featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Romania. In this interview, we talk with them about the Do’s and Don’ts of naming your brand.

What is the story behind Namzya?

Namzya was the dream of two ambitious girls who wanted to conquer the world. 

We first met in 2012 and we have started working together on various branding, advertising and marketing projects. In 2017, we have started to have more and more inquiries from our clients to create names for their brands and products. During those projects we have realized three important things: 

  • There was a true demand on the market for high-quality naming competencies, but only a few agencies were able to offer this kind of professional services
  • We enjoyed a lot to work on these naming projects 
  • We were really good at naming

Therefore, we have discussed at a coffee meeting that we should start Namzya, a specialized naming agency. It was a big change for us due to the fact that we have completely dropped off all of our different branding services and we have started to offer our single new type of service: Naming. 

When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Namzya?

After a short time we decided we will start an agency specialized in naming, we started to think about the name. It’s much easier to talk about your business and your plans when that business has a name.

Namzya is a suggestive-invented name. First, it comes from “naming”. Secondly, we choose to incorporate “z” because it is the strongest letter in the alphabet. “Y” is a special letter in terms of visual appearance and at an international level is more used and catchy than “i”. And the final letter, “a”, is a feminine letter and represents the spirit of Namzya: an agency founded by two women.

How did you get the domain name Namzya.com for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?

Actually, we were quite lucky. Namzya.com was available when we have acquired it. We did not pay any extra fee for obtaining this web domain. 

It was an important criteria for us because we are a global naming agency, we have clients from all over the world, and when we have created the brand name Namzya, we have taken into consideration to be a name “as clean as possible” from the following perspectives: 

  • Global trademark availability
  • .com web domain availability 
  • Number of search results on Google

Do you own any other domain names?

Yes, we do own other domains too, like: namzya.eu, namzya.asia, namzya.in and namzya.ro.

Do you consider available domain names when creating a name for a business? What are the considerations if so?

Sometimes yes, sometimes not. It depends on the type of project and the nature of business. For instance, when we name a new company, a new web app, an online store or any brand that will be promoted as an independent brand, yes, we take into consideration the availability of the web domains. 

But there are also cases when we do not take it into consideration, especially when we talk about a product in a big product range of a company, for instance.

What are some clear signs that a business or product has the wrong name?

There are a lot of signs which may show you that a business or a product has the wrong name, but we think that the most important ones are the following: 

  • The business and the product have the same names, but the owners are planning to launch other new products in the future. This is a very common mistake, especially in the software and technological areas. The founders are confusing the brand name with the name of the first product they are launching and they decide that they should have the same name. But when other products will be launched, the brand name will not be relevant anymore
  • The brand name or the product name is too personal. Examples: Acronyms composed of combinations between the founders’ names, the founder’s birthplace, the founder’s pet name, the founder’s mother name, and so on. Many people are mixing too much their personal hobbies and life with their business life. They believe that if their pet’s name is important, it should be important for their target audience too. But potential clients are not interested in your personal life and we strongly suggest that the brand and product names should not be related to anything personal. 
  • The name has no potential to position the brand or the product on the market. Especially, when we are talking about a start-up, it is important that the potential clients may understand very fast what you are doing or what your product offers. It is mandatory to create a connection between your brand and your target market since the name is heard for the first time. For example, invented names might sound fanciful or interesting, but they are not the best naming choice when it comes to brand positioning. 
  • The name is difficult to pronounce. This is a very important aspect because people tend to dislike brand or product names that are too difficult to pronounce. Our advice is to choose a name that has the neutrality linguistic factor, meaning names easy to pronounce in any language where you are planning to launch your business or product. Avoid local names for globally launched products. And also, a piece of general pronunciation advice would be to avoid names that contain a cluster of too many consonants, because they are usually too difficult to pronounce. 

Especially, when we are talking about a start-up, it is important that the potential clients may understand very fast what you are doing or what your product offers. It is mandatory to create a connection between your brand and your target market since the name is heard for the first time.

Marcela Sărmășan

What are the mistakes you see entrepreneurs make often when it comes to naming?

As mentioned earlier, a very common mistake is to name your brand by taking into consideration personal factors such as: the founder’s name, the children’s name, the place of birth, the pet’s name etc. The name of a brand is about the customers and the target audience, not about the founder. It’s hard to digest, but it’s a fact.

Other mistakes we noticed that entrepreneurs make:

  • Starting to think about a name without a proper brief. A lot of entrepreneurs develop names without having one rational criteria, but only the emotional factor: “I like it / I don’t like it”. Having a well-done brief with criteria to follow when creating a name is crucial. You have to know how you want to position the brand, where you will launch it, who is your target audience, what are your future developing plans. Will you launch new products in the future or expand to new territories? These are rational criteria you have to take into consideration and they are much more important than the classical “I like it / I don’t like it”.
  • Making a brainstorming for the name with the family: husband/wife, parents, grandparents, children, friends, neighbors etc. This is a business, not a Christmas meal, so considering everyone’s opinion is not the best choice. Focus on your target audience and future customers, not on all the family members’ opinions.
  • Not thinking about the trademark factor. If they found an available web domain, that’s it. We have a name. But this is wrong because if the name isn’t available for trademark registration, there are chances you can’t use that name, even if you own the web domain.
  • Taking extremely famous brands as a reference: “I want a name like BMW”. “I want a name like Apple”. Ok, we all love those brands, but let’s face it. Do you have the budget to promote an acronym like KDT, for example? What does KDT mean for your future customers? Nothing! BMW is a giant and has more than 100 years of history. Don’t compare your future brand with such names, unless you have millions of dollars to invest in promoting the name.

Making a brainstorming for the name with the family: husband/wife, parents, grandparents, children, friends, neighbors etc. This is a business, not a Christmas meal, so considering everyone’s opinion is not the best choice. Focus on your target audience and future customers, not on all the family members’ opinions.

Andra Guțui

Is there a difference in naming a business, product, or service? What if so?

Of course, there are many differences between naming a business, a product and a service. And the main differences are the following:

Business Naming

When you are naming a new business you must take into account the following main factors: 

  • The long-term vision and objectives of your company. For example, if you are planning to launch a company that sells women’s apparel, you might be tempted to use a feminine business name. But are you sure that in the future you will not extend your product range to men’s apparel too? Or kids apparel? What if you will also sell accessories or fragrances? You must think very carefully about your long-term business vision and your business name must align with this vision. 
  • When you name a new business, you have the freedom of choosing between suggestive, metaphorical, or invented names which may be more general and are able to sustain future business extensions
  • The business market positioning. For example, you must think at this stage if you will position the business as a premium one, a medium, or a low-cost one. If you choose a fanciful brand name but you will offer low-cost products, people might be scared by the luxurious brand name and they will not go further to discover what kind of products you are offering. 
  • A business name must be time neutral. This means that if you are choosing a name that is mainstream in the present, in the long term your company’s name might seem really old-fashioned. For example, the company that uses the term “cloud” in the present may have a good sound right now, but in the future, they will not be so interesting. 

Product Naming

When you are naming a new product you must take into account the following main factors: 

  • The main functionalities, attributes and benefits which are defining the product. 
  • The best product names are descriptive or suggestive. Metaphorical and invented names might seem too general for products.
  • A product name must be anchored in the present. Unlike business names, for products, it would be better to use terms that are on-trend right now for your industry.
  • A product name must tell to the potential customers really quickly what they can do with it.

Service Naming

When you are naming a new service you must take into account the following main factors: 

  • Unlike a product, a service is about taking action right now. Do it right now! That’s why an interesting hint for service naming is to use verbs as a naming base. For example: Booking. Starting the service name from a verb that drives the client to make an action helps a lot the service positioning on the market.
  • The best service names are suggestive and descriptive and are inspired by different powerful verbs.

How long does the process of naming usually take?

It depends a lot on the type of project, but to share a timeframe, let’s say between a week and a month. For smaller projects, which means local brands, the timing is shorter, because you have to focus only on a local market. But for names that will be launched at international level or even globally, the timing is longer, since you have to make an in-depth research, to check the trademark availability in more territories, make a linguistic screening and so on.

Do you have a favorite amongst the names you’ve come up with?

We have worked on many interesting and challenging naming projects. We have learned something new from each one of them. Of course, we have favorite naming projects, and one of them is Altroz, a new car model named for Tata Motors, the biggest automotive company in India. 

The name is inspired by the magnificent Albatross, an agile seabird that soars for hours and miles with minimum effort. The name stands for agility, performance and efficiency. 

Altroz was launched at Geneva Motor Show 2019, the most prestigious event in the automotive world. 

As a naming agency, it’s always a huge performance and honor to successfully name a new car model. 

What is something you would love to name but still haven’t?

Naming a car was our biggest dream and we accomplished it. What would be bigger than that? Maybe a hypercar or a spacecraft!

How do you communicate to your clients the value of a good name?

We are always trying to share our naming knowledge through different advice, information and examples (positive and negative) to our clients, potential clients and also to every single person who wants to learn more about this topic. 

We usually answer all our clients’ questions and we are providing them all the needed materials, briefs and examples which require in order to understand the value of a good name and which would be the most suitable naming types for them. 

One of the most important parts of our business is the educational side. We are investing a lot of time and energy in order to make naming research, to improve our naming process, to find the best and the worst naming examples and, of course, all this information reaches our clients and our target audience.

What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?

An important advice would be not to follow the mistakes mentioned earlier.

Remember that, in the end, your brand is about your future customers, not about you. If you can’t afford to work with a specialist for your brand name and you want to do it by yourself, it’s fine, but make a brief for yourself in order to clarify what you want to obtain from that name:

  • Which are my competitors? What names do they use?
  • Who is my customer?
  • How do I want to position my brand?
  • What is the X factor of my brand that I want to be reflected in the name?
  • What are my future plans?
  • Where do I want to trademark the name?
  • Do I need a web domain? Which extensions?

Of course, there are much more questions to add in a more complex brief, but at least, start with the answers to these questions. After that, start developing the names.

Where do you see the future of naming?

It might seem maybe too ambitious, but our ambition has brought us here. We see ourselves to become one of the best naming agencies at a worldwide level and we are pretty confident that we will reach there. 

We have a strong desire to bring a substantial contribution to improving the general naming processes followed by companies from all over the world. Also, we are eager to teach more and more people about this fascinating science and art at the same time: Naming. Our passion, our ambition and our life! 

What’s next for Namzya?

To reach each continent on earth with our names.


We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.

Find out more about Namzya

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