Making a name for ourselves: Collating internal knowledge to create identities for new digital products


We take pride in developing digital products that deliver superior service to users – but choosing the right name for them is a crucial task itself. 

Several exciting new Hyphen-built tools – including our timekeeping solution – are at various stages of development and some will go online this year. The quest to build a strong brand for each of these products means gathering feedback internally and externally to establish the right identity and properly communicate our values as well as the product’s purpose. 

In this special two-part series, we look at the entire product naming process and share our approach, with this first post delving into the work done internally in the formative stages. 


Fitting in with corporate identity 

Existing brand-defining characteristics must be considered when preparing to launch new products. Consistency is key to leveraging brand equity and loyalty, building customer expectations, and creating a cohesive and efficient marketing strategy. In our case, we approach the challenge of naming these products by thinking about the words we associate with ourselves. 

For example, we considered the word ‘Swissness’ and how that fits in with our identity. Two of our Co-Founders hail from Switzerland and there is a company-wide belief that the Swiss mentality and characteristics, such as precision, excellence and efficiency, match our own. 

As such, we also looked at things synonymous with Switzerland to help develop ‘families’ of name ideas. We did not restrict ourselves purely to this but thinking about core traits does act as a springboard for ideas generation. 


Gathering multi-disciplinary input 

We believe strongly in the value of cross-functional teams, whether that be for client engagements or our own development as a company. That’s why we brought together representatives from our Technology, Design and Hyphen of the Future teams during our Kaş co-working retreat to form a working group. 

Each member of this team approached the same problem from a different direction, giving us a unique collection of perspectives. This holistic approach, though, also ensured that the views of each core internal stakeholder group were represented and that there was internal alignment on the ideas generated. 


Keeping it snappy and simple 

Very few products or brands have long names so whether it be letters or syllables, using them sparingly makes it easier to memorise titles. 

That was something about which we were very conscious and one of the exercises we tried was to keep suggestions down to six letters or less. While we were not absolutely beholden to this, the principle was important in getting our working group to think in a particular way, even when using different languages and meanings. 

Another thing to consider is whether to include the company name in the product one. Assessing whether a name works on its merit and/or alongside the business title is important, but in our case, we wanted to retain flexibility and decided not to put ‘Hyphen’ alongside our products. 


Thinking about personifying the product 

There are now digital assistants, finance apps and even mattresses with human names. While some believe this adds authenticity, it is important to assess how it fits with the product being marketed. 

Keeping the goal of the product in mind is still more important than just going with something sharp so making sure the balance is right is something to be mindful of. In our case, we didn’t think it would be a good fit for what our digital tools and services stand for. 


Building the big board 

Just like American sports teams identifying players for a college draft, every candidate should be noted down and judged on its merits before a prospective number one is chosen. 

We used multiple pieces of software to creatively approach the task and compile a mini-library of names. These were then collectively analysed, split into groups and subgroups, and whittled down further. For one of the products we are developing, we selected a placeholder name that we believed held promise but continued to keep our minds open to other options, some of which were tested externally too. 

Our internal work on naming our products did not end in Turkey, with discussions continuing for months to give everyone time to process. Once we narrowed the field of contenders for each product down to five, we sought to bring in outside input. 

We will detail how we approached this part of the process and how compiling internal and external feedback effectively helped us to finalise the names of our products. Keep your eyes peeled on our website and LinkedIn page for the second part of this mini-series.