What's in a Name?

in Nov 14, 2021


Hope you are enjoying the extended weekend!

Earlier this week, I was wondering what is the go-to beverage (not counting water) for people to start their day with. For me, it’s usually a cup of green tea or a cup of freshly brewed black coffee. I would love to know what beverage you prefer - cold coffee, protein shake, smoothie, masala chai, etc. I might try another beverage to start my day, after hearing your preferences.

If you haven’t checked out or tried Vahdam Teas, I suggest you do it right away. I love their teas. 

My favourite coffee brand(s), I won’t reveal unless you reply to this email. It’s a bit of a secret! And believe me, you would want to know this :D

For all those people, who subscribed to this letter, this week, welcome and thank you. It’s becoming more of a ritual to write a letter every week to our community and we’re sort of having fun while doing it. BTW, our tribe is growing and we are now a community of 1936 people. 10,000 doesn’t seem too far away!

Today, I want to talk about something that is an extremely crucial part of conceptualising a brand. How did we decide on our brand name - “Perfora”? Did we settle on other names before we came up with this name? What does Perfora even mean? What things to consider while deciding on a brand name?

When Tushar and I started working on this project, we didn’t even have a code word. It was just called “Oral Care Research”. However, as things started materialising, we started thinking about potential brand names.

For us, the starting point was we wanted our brand name to have a strong connection with the brand philosophy and something that is easy to remember/pronounce. We started researching and after discussing a few names, we settled on “Naked”. Yes, we know this sounds weird though we did have a logic behind this name.

And the next obvious step was to book a domain name. And this is where the struggle begins. A basic domain search made us realize that any good/generic domain name like naked.com or naked.co or naked.in isn’t available. 

We dropped “Naked” as a brand name and settled on a few more names like Potent, Alwys, Glee, etc. before we realized domain name availability isn’t the only thing we should be worried about. Another important thing to consider is the probability of getting the brand name trademark registered. And we did hit the roadblock again. None of the above names had a clear window of getting the trademark registration because the identical or similar-sounding name was already registered. From a trademark’s perspective, not only should your name be unique in how it is spelled but also it shouldn’t have the same pronunciation. For instance, Alwys or Always are pretty much the same in the IP law. 

By now, we felt a little bit of fatigue and spoke to a bunch of different people - entrepreneurs, lawyers, brand consultants, etc. on how we should go about the brand name. One piece of advice that stood out and felt like the solution was to go for a made-up word/something that isn’t common. No domain name issues and a higher probability of getting the trademark registration. 

So, we started again and penned down the following names - Resper, Shtick, Marro, Lark, etc. And for some reason, people in our network really liked Resper. They felt it has a good sound, is short (6 letters, 2 syllables), and is unique. Resper is a made up-word that we coined from the following 2 words - responsible & person. Though a few people also shared, this doesn’t sound like a proper word.

And somewhere in our hearts, we were not 100% convinced of the word “Resper” despite getting the desired domain name and a go-ahead from lawyers for trademark. 

By now, we were tired of thinking of so many names and decided to seek some expert help. We worked with a design studio for our brand identity and they came back to us with a list of shortlisted options that they felt will do justice to our vision. And this time, along with our shortlisted name, we let people vote for their preferred name. Here is the link - https://bit.ly/3j8a09W to the post for reference and if you would like to see the final name shortlist. 

And to our surprise, 44% of people voted for “Perfora” as their 1st preference. That’s it. We decided then and there that our brand will be called “Perfora”. This word does justice to what we intend to build - Performance Driven Oral Care and has only 7 letters, is easy to pronounce, and domain name availability, and trademark registration wasn’t a concern anymore.

That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed reading this letter. If there is any feedback, please write to me. 

And if you are in the process of deciding on a brand name or would want to know more about this process, hit me up. I’m doing some pro-bono consulting in helping other people decide their brand names :)

See you soon!