Tech Company or Snack Food: Anatomy of Naming

Tech Company or Snack Food: Anatomy of Naming

By Gary Golden | Senior Copywriter

If you’ve ever named another human being, you know what a hassle it can be. Did I say hassle? I meant honor.

Either way, it’s usually decided by committee, under deadline, and guided by hypersensitivity “We can’t name him Raymond I knew a Raymond in elementary school who ate glue.” This is why we invariably wind up with names like Todd and Bruce. And Raymond.

As a guy named Gary, I feel qualified to speak about this.

Of all the assignments that get plopped in a copywriter’s lap, naming is among the toughest. Some people have tried and true methods for naming exploration. There’s the musical route, which gets you names like Arpeggio, Coda, Cadenza. There’s astronomy, with names like Apogee, Helios, and Uranus (that one never gets old).

My approach is to work with our strategists to understand what the client hopes to accomplish with the name, who the audience really is, and any other direction I can get. Maybe there’s an established family of names like Dodge Caliber, Magnum, and Uzi. Maybe the name is supposed to describe the product, like Ray-Ban, Groupon, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

At HMH, I’ve helped named products, services, and sales events, and every one is different. But there’s one category of naming I can’t wait to tackle: Tech companies. The way I see it, if it sounds like it’s a snack food, you’ve got a winner. Don’t believe it? Take the “Snack Food or Tech Company Challenge” to see for yourself.

  1. Qwest
  2. Smarsh
  3. Quisp
  4. Baroo
  5. Ding Dong
  6. Cloud Cakes
  7. Yodels
  8. Sponch
  9. Blekko
  10. LunchBadger
  11. MoBagel
  12. Nutty Bar


tech: 1, 2, 4, 9, 10, 11

snack food: 3, 6, 7, 8, 12

both: 5