What's in a Name?

Emily Lewis

When I started my business, I didn’t have the energy or insight (not to mention the expertise in branding) to devise a clever name. At the time, what I had was my name and reputation, so it made sense to build my business on that. But after hiring Lea, “Emily Lewis Design” didn’t reflect the company we were building.

Enter our rebranding. As Lea detailed, we started with external and internal research that helped us define our company focus and tenets. Armed with our data and new identity, it was time to get down to naming.

Good Old Brainstorming

We started with a deadline, a Basecamp Writeboard and a single rule: list name ideas without any explanations or references. While we kept our internal and external survey results in mind, we didn’t want any limitations on our name brainstorming. We also wanted to capture each other’s unbiased impressions of names on their own.

Once we hit our deadline, we discussed our ideas and shared initial impressions. We then ranked them based on both the serious (reflects where we want to go) and the superficial (the words don’t sound great together)

Finding a Fit

Once we had a smaller list of contenders, our top adjectives from the rebranding research entered the picture: How did these names reflect or support our data and our new identity?

We wanted to make sure that the name was an accurate portrayal of our strengths, while also standing out from the rest of the tech community. This further helped us whittle down the list viable names. At which point, we began to do research.

Trusty Google helped us gauge name usage (in and out of the tech industry), as well as the all-important domain name options. For both the company name and domain name, it was extremely important for us to determine what was in use and to what degree of industry saturation. We also wanted to make sure that the name we chose could extend to other web properties like social media.

In the end, we had to choose a domain name that would be consistent in all platforms. We can’t get perfection with domain names these days, but we can strive for consistency if possible. This allows us to simplify conversations about how to find us online (“we’re ‘abrightumbrella’ everywhere”).

Why Bright Umbrella

All of this research and work (and a bit of pure inspiration) led us to Bright Umbrella:

  1. The word “bright” hits on our top adjectives and perception of smart and positive. Both of these adjectives are a prominent part of our identity.
  2. As for “umbrella,” the object itself reflects many qualities we embody and want to communicate through our brand: reliability, practicality, usefulness and protectiveness.

However, there are also some more subtle, personal aspects to the name (because it can’t all just be data and practicality):

  • We managed to sneak our initials in there: “ella”
  • “Bright” reminds me of home in sunny Albuquerque, while “umbrella” is an easy reminder of Seattle, where Lea lives.

In the end, though, it was the visceral gut feeling that “Bright Umbrella” was “the one” the minute I came up with it. And Lea’s enthusiastic reaction the moment I mentioned it sealed the deal. While we worked hard to avoid assumptions and treat the process as professionally as we would one of our clients, something has to be said about just feeling great about a direction.

Passion in business is as important as the practical aspects. “Bright Umbrella” manages to capture both.

More to Come!

Interested in more of our company processes? Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more details about our rebranding, including our logo and site design. Be sure to subscribe:

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