Inventing brand names

I was linked recently by a site called Wordlab, which has a number of programs to invent brand names and other names. It describes itself as ‘Free naming and branding resources’.
The masters of this site hide behind somewhat whimsical names themselves and described me as a schwarzenblawger. I was going to tell them I am Caucasian and don’t know Arnie, but I discovered this was just a combination of wordplay and unfamiliarity with the word blawg (= law blog).

As far as I can tell, the naming tools don’t allow user input, so naming is more of a game – but free. There is a board, on which for example someone wants suggestions for a name for a Punjabi Indian takeaway – among suggestions are the following: Papa Dom’s, The Ideal Naan, Golly Ghee, Tandoor Loving Care, My Bonnie Lassi, and Aloo To You. There are various other resources and excellent links. Obviously there are related paid services – for example, there is a link to Igor Naming and Branding Consultants, ‘co-founded by Wordlab’s very own Snark’.

Another link is to Nametrade, which has useful information on how to create names, such as a list of naming techniques.

Via this, the buzzkiller. net site shows ‘corporate PR speak’. Under Tabla Razza, for instance, there is a table showing Buzzword or phrase (e.g. zero-footprint), As In (We’re a zero-footprint company), What They’re Trying to Say (Our company rents space from a data center), and What They’re Really Saying (We’ve just discovered a cool new term to use when we admit that we can’t really afford to rent our own office.) There’s also a Hall of Shame and an (occasional) blog.

Geoffrey Nunberg’s site was also new to me, although I recognize a number of links. I knew his name and that he was a professor of linguistics – I see he has written a number of pieces on language and law, which I shall probably come back to.

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