What’s in a name? Well a lot apparently. Notwithstanding Juliet’s famous rhetorical question of Romeo, Team Ziplyne is firmly on the side of industry experts who believe that strong branding is a key ingredient for long-term success. There’s a reason why certain URLs command seven figures, while many others are available for the price of a Starbucks order.
Choosing a name for anything almost always sounds like a fun exercise (our friends at Flying Leap Games even have a fun party game coming out soon, The Million Dollar Doodle, in which players collaborate on an entire brand building process), until one actually has to do it in real life.
Over two years ago, we were advised that a rebranding would benefit our company and that it was best to do it now rather than later. Once all agreed to commence the process, we expected that it wouldn’t be difficult to come to a name that we all agreed on and was logistically feasible quickly….We were wrong.
Names that one of us loved, others couldn’t stand. Names for which everyone were on board (more or less) often had additional strings attached to them which ultimately led to their being placed in the no-go pile. At one point, we discovered a last-minute issue with a name that we were so sure was the chosen one while we were on hold with the State of Delaware to finalize the name change (thank goodness for government-related long wait times).
One time I was so sure I had conceived the perfect name that I reserved the URL on the spot to the disbelief of CEO/Founder, Rome Chopra. “You know, you just wasted $12,” he said. “We’ll see,” I retorted, “I’m willing to bet $12 that within a year this will be our company’s new name.” In the end, he was right…it wasn’t the name we went with but I liked it enough that I’ve since renewed the URL and think it could have a use in the future. (Want to know what it is? Send me a nice note at email@example.com and perhaps I’ll tell you 🙂 ).
Like many things in life, we didn’t find our name…Our name found us. It came to us in its due time…when we were ready for it: We are Ziplyne! Like a zipline, we offer a direct, seamless path from one point to another. We are a means to navigate difficult terrains…Intentional plural! Just like no one outdoor zipline scenery/setting is like the other, we recognize that the navigation needs of no two business interfaces will be exactly like the other as well, which is why we’ve taken great efforts to design Ziplyne so that it can fit into your needs, regardless of your size, model or challenge. And once you’ve seen just how much fun we can be, you’ll want to ride Ziplyne again and again.
So in short, I guess the three major lessons here are:
- ENJOY THE JOURNEY AND THE LESSONS OF THE ROAD
Embrace the process, which will likely include some hiccups, near-misses and disappointments. It’s OK, they’re all part of moving you down the road and toward your ultimate destination. Many know that Nolan Ryan holds the MLB record for most no-hitters pitched in a career (7) but he’s also tied for the most 1-hitters in a career (12) and pitched a fair number of 2-hitters (18). Contrary to what many of us were taught in our youth, coming close DOES matter…each near-miss can bring you closer to hitting your target in the future.
- KNOW THAT THERE’S NO RIGHT ANSWER (BUT THERE MAY BE WRONG ONES)
Some of the most successful companies of the day have been named after famous landmarks (Amazon), misspellings of numbers (Google), business divisions (Salesforce), and dated college publications (Facebook). You can find articles preaching to you that “72% of the best brand names are made up words or acronyms” (which also means that they believe that 28% of the “best” brand names aren’t in either category). There are many ways to do this and what’s worked for someone else may not work for you (and vice-versa). Every company is different with unique challenges, unique goals, unique paths and..yes, unique identities! In the end, it’s important to recognize that this is an art and not a science. This isn’t to say that data and case studies aren’t helpful..they can actually be very helpful in knowing what has and hasn’t worked for someone else. But once again, know that someone else isn’t you. Which leads me to….
- BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Perhaps the most important lesson of all: Be authentic! Yes, you want a name that’s memorable and provides a good narrative but it also should also reflect who you are. Can you say “We are ___” in the mirror with either a straight face or a simple smile? The answer should be a resounding “Yes!”
Ziplyne isn’t just our name, it’s our identity…and we’re looking forward to getting to know your truest you as well!