What name should I give to my product? (rebranding)

In a nutshell: My voice-controlled home automation system was named ModernSteward (I'm stupid). The confusing part is: when you are giving a command, there should be a keyword. The keyword is Melissa, so you can say "Melissa, turn the lights on". Melissa is very catchy and since we have a lot of publicity with it, we are seeking for another name of the product. Obviously, "Melissa" is not OK, because is registered. We were thinking about something like See the current website:


I like the name "Melissa" — but I wouldn't use a website URL like because it just doesn't feel "natural" — I would choose something that implies what Melissa means to us... For example: "Ask Melissa" or something like that.

Good luck!

Answered 10 years ago

What if I don't like Melissa - or the bad guys discover that is the magic keyword? Surely I can pick my own name? Ted, Frank, Melinda? So company name should be different - like modernsteward or (better still.. it is for sale for a small fee from Brighter Naming)

Answered 10 years ago

A voice-automated home automation system probably has broad consumer appeal, since it applies to so many of us (potentially).

Given that fact, I think your domain should do more than just fit the command word you're using. It should be memorable, of course. And it ought to convey relevant information and make the right first impression. Ideally it would do more than those things too, by facilitating passive online discovery.

Thumbs down to Sorry.

Answered 10 years ago

The reality is, no matter what alternative domain you land on, you're going to have to buy it. I like the domain, but of course, someone owns it.
What's more important for you is building more an audience/following. A short form product video is critical. The only videos I can find, take a full minute before I see "Melissa" do anything. Longer, before I see what the hardware/form-factor looks like. You would really benefit from a video like this one:
Something like that would be more shareable. You've had some nice press- but it's not very sharable- which might explain the small following you currently have on your social pages.
Hope that's helpful, would be happy to chat more.

Answered 10 years ago

Melissa has 3 syllables. Fewer is better. Siri has 2 syllables and 4 letters -- and it's easier to say (phonology).

MelissaHome sounds like a command to a dog or a deprecating command to a child: "Melissa, go home." Wait, forget about the "go." "Melissa, home!"

Never start with publicity. Start with what is right for your audience, right for your brand, right for what you want to evoke. MelissaHome does none of these things. Go back to my previous post. If you do stick with "Melissa," for the sake of argument, put a verb in front of it. When I did a project for a high-end antioxidant drink company, they had a catchy brand name but a difficult to spell ingredient (can't say here for confidentiality reasons). The website I suggested and that they use today was Drink<BrandName>.com -- because that's what they wanted people to do: Drink It! The ingredient was a feature, but not a benefit in and of itself and moreover, it was insuperably difficult to spell or pronounce.

You should think along the same lines.


Answered 10 years ago

Give her a last name. MelissaFoden, MelissaGustavson, MelissaGunnion, MelissaNordyke, and MelissaChristopher are all available as dot-com URLs, while can be had for a mere $18,000. Wait, wait - are you choosing your product name by whether or not you can get an exact-match URL? That's a mistake. Choose the name of the thing first. The name has certain important jobs to do. It should not be compromised for the sake of a domain name. You can create the right URL later - get the name of your product right first. Though MelissaGunnion does have a certain lilt to it, don't you think?

Answered 10 years ago

Melissa has too many potential pronunciations

Here are two, in IPA (


Consider something that's a little more internationally pronounceable in order to avoid having multiple names for your product across the globe as you expand.

Definitely don't exceed three syllables, but two is probable a goal. "Siri" is two, "OK, Glass" is three, and "OK, Google" is four. You know what's easier to say quickly!

Answered 10 years ago

While I like Melissa, as others have mentioned there are international as well as phonetic issues with it. Many languages don't have 'L' sounds--which could lead to user issues. Also using a common proper name will have some issues as well... One of which you've already discovered domain names, the other may be the Melissa's of the world not being to pleased with their name being associated with a digital servant.. While their is a shortage of great available domains. For longevity, you may want to consider looking at your entire product experience and branding and align them into a more coherent system that can evolve as your business shifts and changes.

Answered 8 years ago

Melissa is a good name or not you are the best judge of it, my job is that I will guide you on how to rebrand your product so that you can maximize your profit. Let us look at the step-by-step process of rebranding, but before that let us look at some of the companies and their rebranding.
Successful Rebranding Without Changing the Brand Name:
1. Target: Twenty years ago, Target was a commodity discount retailer that was undifferentiated from the likes of K-Mart, Sears and JC Penny. To separate from the cutthroat world of competing on the basis of price, Target began creating partnerships with designers like Missoni and Alexander McQueen, becoming affectionately known as “Tar-zhay” for the chic discount offerings and growing to be second only to Walmart in its market share.
2. Apple: Nearing bankruptcy in the 1990s, having become a niche computer manufacturer for designers and schools, Apple rehired founder Steve Jobs and refocused on style, introducing the iMac and killing their PC-like beige box computers. While not a typical rebrand handled by an agency, Job rebranded the entire company by focusing on innovation and creating completely new products and services, turning Apple into one of the world’s most valuable companies.
3. Ciroc: Vodka is practically a commodity; taste tests show that most consumers cannot differentiate their product in blind taste tastes. Thus, many vodka brands differentiate via their brand positioning. Ciroc was initially launched for the North American market in 2003 and marketed to nightclubs and entertainment venues in the U.S., with a heavy focus in Atlanta and Miami. Sales struggled. Brand owner Diageo, owner of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Sterling Vineyards wines, partnered with Sean Combs in 2007, giving him the lead on all brand management decisions for Ciroc and sharing the future profits of the brand growth with him. Combs’ personal style and creativity propelled Ciroc sales from 40,000 cases per year in 2007 to 2,100,000 cases per year in 2012.
Successful Rebranding with a New Brand Name:
1. SUBWAY: In 1965, Pete’s Super Submarines opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A year later, it changed the name to Doctor’s Associates Inc., after co-founder Dr. Peter Buck, a nuclear physicist. After little success under the two previous names, Buck and co-founder Fred DeLuca gave it a third try using the name Subway. Today it is the world’s largest submarine sandwich brand with over 40,000 locations around the world.
2. PayPal: Before it was called PayPal, the company was called Confinity – a name representing the merged words of “confidence and infinity.” While the company’s initial focus was on Palm Pilot payment and cryptography, the company chose the brand name PayPal after a Confinity engineer developed an online demo that allowed people to email payments. The company was later acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in July 2002.
3. Accenture: Accenture was the new name applied to the spinout of the consulting division of Andersen Consulting in 2001. It is a controversial rebrand that was criticized initially for the made-up word. However, after Arthur Andersen was convicted of obstructing justice in 2002, the entirely new branding allowed it to escape the negativity associated with the Andersen name.

Step-by-step process of rebranding is as follows:
1. Quantify the reasons for the rebrand and conduct a brand audit: What are the reasons for you rebrand? Are you launching a new product or service? Expanding into a new market? Changing the vision or mission for your company? Focusing on differentiating and gaining a competitive advantage? Or moving on from a negative event? The reasons for your rebranding will affect the creative decisions you make for your brand positioning, brand creative and brand visual identity. Conduct a brand audit to understand the current perception of your existing brand and quantify the work required for your rebranding project.
2. Assess the risks/ROI: Always conduct a marketing ROI analysis before starting your project. Do you have the resources and budget? Have you quantified all of the costs associated with your rebranding? What type of return do you think it will produce? Here is a list of common items you’ll have to create/recreate:
i. logo
ii. website
iii. corporate identity
iv. signage
v. print materials
vi. ad creative
vii. marketing materials
3. Naming – Are you selecting a new brand name: If you are changing your brand name, do not start by choosing your name first. Start by creating your brand strategy so you know exactly what your name should represent. THEN complete the process for selecting a new brand name. While this is the opposite approach from the way many businesses proceed, having a clearly defined brand strategy can help give you clarity and daring when selecting a great brand name.
4. Determine your new brand positioning: If your brand positioning is changing, map your competitive positioning to understand where you hope to fit in the future marketplace. This can help you to avoid entrenched competitors and give your team a clear roadmap of the mindshare you wish to own for your brand.
5. Define your brand architecture: The essence of your brand strategy is your positioning and what you want your brand to stand for. Sometimes that’s clear, and other times it takes some work. If you are unsure, this brand architecture exercise can help you to define your brand architecture – the three things your brand should mean to your market and, eventually, the mindshare you wish to own.
6. Summarize your brand strategy and write your creative brief: Now, pull it all together in a summary report and add your brand inspiration, brand differentiation and brand personality traits. Create a compelling brand story and outline your ideas for your brand visual identity. This document should include all the key elements of your brand strategy. Your creative team will rely on it for direction and you can use it to judge the effectiveness of their results.
7. Select your creative team: Even if you are small, it’s wise to include a professional agency. If you complete steps 1-6 of this process before selecting your agency or creative resources, they will have a much clearer understanding of what to create and you’ll save a lot of time and budget on the strategy design.
8. Evaluate, test, and protect: Evaluating creative and brand messaging is an iterative process, best completed by a team that solicits real-time market feedback. Continue to gain feedback throughout the process but beware of over-relying on focus groups. Over-reliance on focus groups gave us New Coke. Balance market feedback with your reasons for rebranding and the strategy that your team develops. Try tools like Usertesting or Usabilla to capture feedback. Protect your name by filing for federal trademark or service mark protection.
9. Create your launch plan: About three to six months before your brand is ready to go-live, create your launch plan. How will you unveil your brand to the market? What promotional activities will you use? Think about your website launch, digital and social media promotion, events – live and online, customer notices, media/press/bloggers/social influencers. Build excitement by letting your audience know that something new and exciting is coming.
10. Execute your Launch plan: The culmination of all of the hard work of your rebranding project is your launch – perhaps the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) event for any marketer. Execution is all about the details, so carefully plan your activities on the calendar, give clear instructions to your team, measure all feedback and metrics and adjust and refine when required. Not everything will always go according to plan, so stay flexible and adjust when needed.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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