Summary of Hello My Name Is Awesome by Alexandra Watkins

  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:August 18, 2022
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Summary: 5 minutes

Book reading time: 2h48

Score: 8/10

Book published in: 2014

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Takeaway

  • A great name should be suggestive, meaningful, and emotional.
  • A great name should not be blank, restrictive, hard to pronounce, or hard to spell.
  • The Internet is your best friend when looking for names.

What Hello My Name Is Awesome Talks About

Hello, My Name Is Awesome is a book written by Alexandra Watkins. It’s a complete method to find great names for companies and products. The author provides two tests that every name should pass in order to be validated. Finding a great name is more about the time you spend looking for it than any other creative skills.

Watkins is a copywriter and name finder.

Her book is an important book for entrepreneurs and marketers because the name is such an important part of a brand.

Overall, it’s an interesting read but nothing she says is revolutionary.

If you suck at coming up with new names, read this article.

8/10.

No need to get the book, the summary will be more than enough.

But if you really want to buy it, you can do so here.

Table of Content

About

Summary

Introduction
Chapter 1: The 5 Qualities of a Super-Sticky Name
Chapter 2: The 7 Deadly Sins
Chapter 3: Strategies, Secrets, and Silliness
Chapter 4: Your Brand Name Roadmap:
Chapter 5: How to be an Idea Machine
Chapter 6: 12 Rules for Building Consensus
Chapter 7: Name Changes: Pros and Cons


Summary of Hello, My Name Is Awesome Written by Alexandra Watkins

Introduction

Finding a brand name has become a “science” with “scientists” using “math”. These “scientists” create weird words for brands and products that they think will work.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t work because this is too rational and it lacks emotions.

A great brand name should pass two tests.

The first test the name should pass is SMILE. SMILE stands for:

  • Suggestive: the name should make you think of something.
  • Meaningful: it should resonate with the audience.
  • Imagery: it should trigger an image in the customers’ minds.
  • Legs: it should be possible to connect a great name to other things.
  • Emotional: self-explanatory.

The second test is SCRATCH. SCRATCH explains what a name should not be. SCRATCH stands for:

  • Spelling challenged: the name should be easy to spell.
  • Copycat: it should not resemble another name.
  • Restrictive: it should not limit growth.
  • Annoying: it should not be annoying.
  • Tame: it should not be flat, descriptive, boring.
  • Curse of Knowledge: the name should make sense without needing external information to understand it.
  • Hard to pronounce: it should be easy to pronounce.

Chapter 1: The 5 Qualities of a Super-Sticky Name

Suggestive

A name can’t say everything, but it should suggest images or feelings related to your brand/company/product/service.

Not in a descriptive way, but in a creative way, like Amazon.

Amazon suggests “big”, if not “enormous”.

Jamba Juice, Twizzlers, and Zappos suggest something positive. These are great names.

You can add trust to your name by adding other words like “global, “industries, “associates”, etc.

Other examples of suggestive names:

  • Leaf
  • Kickstarter
  • Ninja
  • Fitbit

Meaningful

Meaningful, in this case, means “that conveys the meaning of the company easily”.

Eg: Yelp.

A meaningful long name is better than a meaningless short name.

Don’t name a company after yourself. Your personal name is meaningless to your customers. And it will be difficult to sell your company once you leave it.

Imagery

Eg: Timberland; Range Rover

Get your brand name to evoke an image.

Legs

Make a name that can be extended to name other stuff.

Eg: Google’s employees are called Googlers, and using the company service is called googling.

Eg: Eat my words (company name)

Try to develop a naming theme for your products early on.

Eg: iMac, iPod, iTouch, iPhone, etc

It’s best to name/differentiate products that often change with numbers or letters (iPhone 10, 11, 12, etc). It’s boring, but it’s clear.

Emotional

Make your name emotional.

Eg: changing “chicken soup” on a menu of a restaurant to “Grandma’s chicken soup”.


Chapter 2: The 7 Deadly Sins

Just because a name is different doesn’t mean it’s a good name.

Unique ≠ creative ≠ good.

If you want a great name, make sure it avoids the seven deadly sins.

Spelling Challenged

Eg: Häagen-Dazs

If you need to spell it for people to understand it, it’s not a good name.

Don’t add numbers in the brand name.

The test if a name is well spelled, tell the name to Siri. If Siri gets it right, good! If not, change it.

Copycat

Don’t copy another company’s name.

Not only do copycats confuse customers, but you could also get a lawsuit.

The exception to this rule is when two companies with the same name are radically different.

Eg: bolt.com, a payment company, and bolt.eu, a mobility company.

Restrictive

Eg: Taxify. A name like this one will force you to stay in the taxi business.

Don’t use the same name for your product and for your company.

Your company name should be open enough to welcome any other name under it.

In fact, name your product first, and the company second.

Be careful also not to start a series of products you can’t finish.

Eg: iRobot made the Roomba, the Scuba, then they were stuck. There were no good words ending up with “ba”.

As for the 24h Fitness, they aren’t always open for 24h.

FitForFree isn’t free.

Annoying

Matching two words together rarely works.

Don’t be mysterious.

Don’t use initials for your name.

Tame

Eg: DocuSign

Don’t be shy or boring. Don’t use a descriptive name.

Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge is a bias outlining that it’s difficult for people that know something to adapt themselves to people that do not.

Maybe a name can have a special meaning for you because you know X and Y, but it will be meaningless for people who do not.

That means that industry jargon, specific words, and acronyms won’t be welcome by customers.

Furthermore, make sure that whatever word you come up with is not a curse in a foreign language.

Hard to Pronounce

Foreign names are often bad ideas because people don’t know how to pronounce them. Avoid names that can be pronounced with two different pronunciations.

Do not spell your name with all capital letters either.

Eg: SAP.

And don’t get a name that is the backward version of a real word (in most cases, at least).


Chapter 3: Strategies, Secrets, and Silliness

No one cares about domain names. If you can’t get the exact domain name you need, don’t worry.

Here’s how you can go around the fact that your domain name is taken:

  1. Add another word or two: buy, get, app, etc, or any descriptive word.
  2. Use a creative phrase: eg: ilovepeanutbutter.com for a peanut butter brand.
  3. Get another extension: net, biz, org, etc.

Furthermore:

  1. Not all names are taken. Make sure you do thorough research.
  2. You can buy a lot of names for cheap. Just make an offer to the owner.
  3. Buy misspelled names, so if people type it misspelled, they will end up on your website.
  4. URLs no longer need keywords for SEO.
  5. Longer names are no problem.

Here are 5 things you should not do.

  1. Don’t spell it creatively: Flickr will always have to be spelled out for people to be written properly the first time.
  2. Don’t use a specific domain extension to spell your name: eg: linktr.ee.
  3. Don’t use .org if your business is for-profit.
  4. Don’t think that owning the domain = owning the trademark. Don’t purchase a domain before checking if the domain has been trademarked as a brand.
  5. Don’t buy a domain before making sure it looks good. Eg: Pen Island becomes pen*sland.com

Chapter 4: Your Brand Name Roadmap

Before you brainstorm for names, you need to have a creative brief.

The creative brief helps you map out your research.

There it is.

Goal of assignment (what do you want to achieve?)

In a nutshell (sum up your brand/company in 140 characters or less)

How do you want your brand to be positioned in the marketplace (who is going to buy from you?)

Consumer insights (situations in which people consume your product, feelings and emotions they assign to your product, etc)

Target audience

Competition

Desired brand experience (fun, happiness, feel good, etc)

Brand personality (5-12 adjectives that describe the tone of the brand)

Words to explore: list of words you’d like to have in your name

Ideas to avoid

Words to avoid

Domain name modifiers: words that will help you with your domain name

Name style likes and dislikes: list five brand names that you like

Name five brand names that you don’t like

Write how your brand name would be used in a sentence

List anything else worth adding regarding your brand name


Chapter 5: How to Be an Idea Machine

Executive brainstorming sessions suck due to the environment (grey offices).

The best way to brainstorm is to do it by yourself, using the internet.

Here are three tips

  1. Open Your Mind…and let it run free.
  2. Write It Down: write down all of your ideas. Then order them into categories (those you like and those you don’t).
  3. Use the creative brief

First, start by reading the creative brief.

Second, write 12 adjectives related to the brand that popped into your head after reading the creative brief. Choose one of these words.

Third, get to a thesaurus and write down all of the synonyms of the adjective you have chosen. Choose one of them.

Fourth, type that word in Google Image.

Five, whatever google image shows can likely be attached to a glossary of terms inherent to that practice. Look through these glossaries.

You can also get your original word into an online dictionary providing you with synonyms, antonyms, quotes, etc.

Explore places, movies, songs, and book titles, related to the original word attached to your brand.

Once you’re done, repeat this process with the other eleven words from the beginning.


Chapter 6: 12 Rules for Building Consensus

You will likely come up with too many names. Here are 12 rules that will help you choose just one.

Rule 1: ask for feedback from individuals in your team.

Rule 2: ask yourself the question is the name right when reviewing it.

Rule 3: focus on what works in the name, not on what doesn’t.

Rule 4: keep in mind that a name cannot convey everything.

Rule 5: print the list you are reviewing, don’t read it on screen.

Rule 6: don’t ask for feedback from outsiders.

Rule 7: your name will never appear “naked”. It will appear with its logo, etc.

Rule 8: don’t be afraid to be different.

Rule 9: don’t look up for domain name yet.

Rule 10: anyone helping you review the names should select 10 in the list

Rule 11: don’t fall in love with your name before you make sure you can use it (trademark, domains, etc).

Rule 12: have fun.

Don’t use focus groups.


Chapter 7: Name Changes: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • You can refresh your brand.
  • You will have higher chances that your business keeps on existing.

Cons:

  • May be hard to convince everyone that you should change it.
  • Could be expensive.

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