May 8, 2019

Trust in your autonomous offering begins with your name

Naming your autonomous product, service, or company is challenging—and choosing a name that conveys trust is even more so. But customer perception starts with the introduction, so it’s important to take the time to consider the following.

Factor in your brand personality
Are you Mr. Spock or Oprah? Though one is fictional, both are considered trustworthy—yet they have different approaches. Spock is literal and tells it like it is. Oprah appears more focused on inspiration. Before you begin brainstorming names for your autonomous offering, decide which personality suits your brand best.

Brand personalities that are more like Spock might incorporate words that directly spell out what the company, product, or service does. An example is AutonomouStuff, a shopping hub for all things autonomous vehicles. They offer stuff for the autonomous industry.

In contrast, Oprah-like brands could incorporate words that embody the spirit of the offering, but don’t spell it out quite as literally. For example, Waymo was created as a hybrid of two words in its inspirational mission: “a new way forward in mobility.”

Choosing a name that authentically suits your personality is an important step toward a trustworthy name.

Discover how you’re perceived
Survey your employees, customers, referral partners, and even your social media followers about words and phrases that best embody your brand and instill trust. Ask respondents to select all that apply from a list of positive words and phrases. Not only will this help you brainstorm with decisionmakers armed with some ideas in mind, but it’ll help you uncover words or phrases to avoid, as well. Based on the words that are chosen, or not, you’ll also gain intelligence about whether the offering is seen as trustworthy to start.

Sound it out
Once you’ve narrowed down your list down to the top three name choices, vet them like they’re applying for a government job. Do internet and trademark searches for companies or organizations that are using the same or a similar name in the autonomous industry. You may not care if the name Cuvette is a band, a book, and a self-help website if you’re launching technology to improve the driverless experience. But if it’s also the name of a competitor, it’s likely not the name for you.

Don’t forget to check out potential acronyms—and what alternate connotations they might have. Once vetted, frequently say your name possibilities out loud to hear how they sound when spoken. Pretend you’re the voiceover personality for a TV spot for your product, service, or company launch and say your name options as part of the call to action. “Contact us at YOUR POSSIBLE NAME dot com.” Does it roll off the tongue? Is it memorable? Does it seem credible? If not, nix it from the list.

Spending the time to find a trustworthy name from the starting line will save you headaches later when you’re off to the autonomous races.

eGuide: Marketing your autonomous brand

Instilling trust through your marketing and branding activities