Nancy FriedmanName and tagline developer

I'm a verbal-branding pro in the San Francisco Bay Area with 25+ years' experience in name and tagline development, brand strategy, and naming architecture. I love working with companies that understand the value of a good name and a powerful brand story. I do *not* develop names or taglines over the phone, but I *can* help you clarify your objectives, develop an effective naming brief, and analyze the names you're considering. More about my work at Follow me on Twitter @Fritinancy.

Recent Answers

Focus on your audience, not on yourself.

Focus on the one thing -- not three things, and certainly not fifteen -- that makes your company distinctive from your competition.

Think about your brand personality: cute and perky? bold and strong? serious and thoughtful? Now look for vocabulary and constructions that fit your personality.

Use Twitter to practice distilling your message. Nothing like a 140-character limit to force you to be succinct.

Use the thesaurus tool at Visual Thesaurus to explore constellations of synonyms: In your case, I'd focus on words from the lexicon of music.

See my posts on building a better tagline:

This is indeed a tricky challenge, and you've articulated it well. However, without knowing the missing element ("brand name" / "mother name"), it's hard for me to give you specific guidance.

Does the brand name itself suggest health and wellness (as, for example, "Hygieia Wellness" might), or is it arbitrary (as with Oscar Health, the insurance company) or even fanciful/coined (e.g., AbbVie)? Each of these directions might dictate a different naming architecture.

I'd also want to know how the sub-brands will be identified and promoted. How much interplay will there be among the five verticals?

Finally, how were the five verticals identified under the old company name? Is there an advantage to maintaining the prior sub-brand naming system?

Without that knowledge, I can only comment that "Wellness" has general, umbrella-brand connotations and does not sound "too much like just another one of the five verticals," which are quite narrowly defined.

One last thing: I would caution you and your client about #5 ("health"), which does have a semantic overlap with "wellness." Perhaps this vertical deserves a more clearly commerce-related name -- XYZ Wellness Store, for example.

Happy to chat on a call if you'd like to go into this further!

Reading between the lines, I'm deducing that your question is about domains: should you go with the tried and true .com (which would require hyphenating the business name) or take a bit of a risk on the newer .expert?

Those are reasonable questions. But as Humberto points out, they're not the questions you should be asking. The real question is: Why are you opting for a generic name -- which could be used by any expert site, not just yours -- instead of crafting a name that highlights what's distinctive about your offering (live video)?

I recommend that you go back to the beginning and write a detailed naming brief. (See this post for tips: Then put yourself in your hypothetical user's shoes: what makes your app special, memorable, recommendable? See what vocabulary comes up as a result of these exercises.

If you still need help, schedule a Clarity call to talk about the naming brief and creative directions.

One more thing: "Askan" does not look like "ask an." It looks like the name of a distant planet or a made-up language.

It's certainly not standard practice for large companies. General Motors manufactures cars with the Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick marques. Procter & Gamble's brand family includes Tide detergent, Oral-B dental-hygiene products, and Luvs diapers. Google uses its company name as a modifier for its products: Google Maps, Google Plus, Google Books, and so on.
The Joie de Vivre hotel group gives each property a distinctive name linked to its location and personality -- Rex, Epiphany, Waterfront, et al.

Tech examples? When it was founded in 1982, AutoDesk made a single product, which it could have named AutoDesk--but didn't. Instead, it named it AutoCAD (for computer-aided design). Freed from the corporate name, the growing family of products was able to assume distinct brand identities: Revit for the construction industry, Moldflow for manufacturing, Maya and Mudbox for media and entertainment.

On the other hand, as Steven Mason points out, the combined corporate-product name Facebook seems to be working just fine.

Short answer: there is no "standard practice" but rather multiple naming strategies. To determine which one is best for your company, you'll need to consider your long-range goals and your commitment to branding and marketing.

I agree with Joseph: an objective assessment from a professional will provide the balanced insight you're looking for. You can accomplish that very inexpensively with a Clarity call ... or a couple of calls to different experts.

Here are some of the things we'd want to know (and which you can ask yourselves):

- What does your current name say about your products, your services, your brand? If you think of it as the title of a story, what story does it promise?

- What are the advantages of keeping the name?

- How is the name holding you back?

- Does the name have built-in limitations? For example, is it hard to pronounce? Does it suggest a service offering you no longer wish to be associated with? Have you been faced with a trademark challenge?

I do not advise polling your customers or suppliers. They are apt to prefer the familiar over the new, and if you are contemplating a significant rebrand -- branching into new areas, dropping some key offerings -- you risk tipping your hand.

I'd argue that adding "app" to your domain name *strengthens* your brand by making it more transparent and honest. It's accepted practice; see, for example, and

"," on the other hand, is less advisable: it sounds tentative and uncertain.

For other URL options--slogans, extensions, puns--see my blog post:

You have a couple of good options:

1. Choose an extension other than .com. Dot-co and dot-biz are obvious choices. You might also get more creative: how about, which uses the Iceland country code and gives you an instant sentence? ("Melissa is ... efficient." "Melissa is ... convenient.")

2. Add a word (preferably a verb) to "Melissa" to create an available domain-- for example,

Happy to talk if you want more information -- I have 20+ years of experience in name development.


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