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What’s in a name?

Well, a lot.

Choosing the right name for your new company can go a long way in putting it on the map.

I recently became CEO of a new blockchain computing company. One of my first tasks was to rename the company. Here is a brief story about how we went about it.

Choosing a name for a new company is hard.

My previous two ventures had a bit of a story behind the names.

My first venture, TheoryCenter, came from the Cornell Supercomputing center where some of my co-founders and I spent a great deal of time during our undergraduate and graduate tenures. In fact, we called it “The Theory Center,” until our PR firm suggested to drop the “The” from the name. (Does that sound familiar?)

FirstBest was named after an insurance term — the first-best quote. It describes when an insurer returns the first quote within the range of a broker’s client expectations. We heard it so often during our 18-month research phase that we decided to coin the name and use it as our company name.

Each of these names served us well and left a lasting impression on our customers and the markets we served.

When I was asked to consider taking the helm of the new venture now known as Soluna, the first thing I did was ask if Brookstone was open to renaming the company. The original placeholder name was more of a descriptive name, not one we could build a unique lasting brand around.

When they agreed, we decided to hire an excellent naming company, Catchword.

After reviewing 100+ names through a very creative and collaborative process, we chose Soluna. Ironically, it was not among our highest voted names in the beginning. We selected a group of about ten finalists.

Our goal was to create a name that represented our ethos, our ambitious plan, and one that was unique in our field. Other things that influenced our approach to name the company included the following themes:

Renewable Energy
Innovation, Forward Thinking
Serious (mature players, not young, inexperienced folks)
Blockchain Infrastructure Company [like Amazon, Cisco, Akamai, Intel of the Internet] We own our destiny (Power)
Distinctive Ethos (beyond just money$ — helping to create the global blockchain ecosystem.)

The Soluna name and the fantastic design created by our design firm, Clarke, grew on us.

A coinage of sol [sun in Latin] and luna [moon in Latin], Soluna elegantly meets our brand objectives.

Brand themes and story: Soluna tells a rich story, evoking humanity’s most fundamental aspirations — looking up to the high light in the sky. The sun is ultimately the source of all life, energy, growth, transformation. The logo’s use of a triangle, the symbol of change (delta), for the final letter, a, in the name, further expresses the transformational nature of the brand.

Little is as permanent as the sun and moon, yet their cycles indicate dynamism. Referencing both sun and moon in the name suggests a stable source of power at all times, day or night.

Soluna expresses the renewable resource of solar energy, while more generally evoking the sustainability and beauty of the natural world.

The name recalls “solution,” which the company provides to the problem of energy-intensive computer applications.

The name also recalls “una” (one), suggesting the comprehensiveness of the company’s all-in-one energy production and computer processing model.

Personality, sound, tone, style, construction, audience, competition: Soluna sounds human, approachable, while its Latin base suggests seriousness, sophistication. It stands out clearly from other names in the general space.

Its alternating consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel construction and initial sibilant convey flexible strength and make the word easy for an international audience to pronounce. The Latin base also makes it easy for a global audience to understand and remember.

Its layers of meaning and metaphor unfold as the customer interacts with the brand, rewarding continued engagement.

By focusing on the company’s vision, the name is not limited to any platform or technology and can successfully serve the company as it evolves.

Finally, we chose Soluna for the brand because it tells our story the best.

Soluna, powering the blockchain with clean, renewable energy that we own and control.

By Published On: September 17th, 2018Categories: Branding, MarketingTags: , , , ,

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About the Author: John Belizaire

John Belizaire is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. He is also the founder and managing editor of CEOPLAYBOOK — an online publication dedicated to exploring what it means to be a startup CEO. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter. Subscribe to his popular newsletter — Mental Candy — read by over 500 CEOs.