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What Makes a Good Brand Name?

Josh

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In evaluating possible company names I have come up with the following criteria which I used to choose a name for our new game engine.

Spelling and Pronunciation
The name should be unambiguous in spelling. This helps promote word-of-mouth promotion because when someone hears the name for the first time, they can easily find it online. Similarly, the name when read should be unambiguous in pronunciation. This helps the name travel from written to spoken word and back. Can you imagine telling someone else the name of this...establishment...and having them successfully type the name into a web browser?:

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Shorter is Better
Everything else aside, fewer letters is generally better. Here is a very long company name:

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And here is perhaps the shortest software company name in history. Which do you think is better?

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The Name Should "Pop"
A good company or product name will use hard consonants like B, T, K, X, and avoid soft sounding letters like S and F. The way a name sounds can actually influence perception of the brand, aside from the name meaning. The name "Elysium", besides being hard to pronounce and spell, is full of soft consonants that sound weak.

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"Blade Runner", on the other hand, starts with a hard B sound and it just sounds good.

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Communicate Meaning
The name should communicate the nature of the product or company. The name "Uber" doesn't mean anything except "better", which is why the company Uber originally launched as UberCab. Once they got to a certain size it was okay to drop the "cab" suffix, but do you remember the first time you heard of them? You probably thought "what the heck is an Uber?"

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The Leadwerks Brand
So according to our criteria above, the name Leadwerks satisfies the following conditions:

  • The name "pops" and sounds cool.
  • It's not too long.

But here's where it falls short:

  • Ambiguity in spelling (Leadworks?)
  • Ambiguity in pronunciation. Leadwerks is pronounced like Led Zeppelin, but many people read it as "Leed-works".
  • The name doesn't mean anything, even if it sounds cool. It's just a made-up word.

These are the reasons I started thinking about naming the new engine something different.

New Engine, New Name
So with this in mind, I set out to find a new name for the new coming engine. I was stumped until I realized that there are only so many words in the English language, and any good name you come up will invariably have been used previously in some other context, hopefully in another industry or product type. Realizing this gave me more leeway, as I did not have to come up with something completely unique the world has never heard before.

Our early benchmarks indicate the new engine is a performance monster, with incredible results I did not even dream were possible. Together with the rapid development pipeline of Leadwerks, I knew I wanted to focus on speed. Finally, there was one name I kept coming back to for weeks on end. I was able to obtain a suitable domain name. I am now filing a trademark for use of this name, which requires that I begin using it commercially, which is why I am now revealing the name for the first time...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep scrolling. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How does this name stack up?:

  • Unambiguous spelling and pronunciation.
  • It's short.
  • The name "pops".
  • It communicates the defining feature of the product.

Now think about our goals for the new engine's name. Will people have any trouble remembering this name? Is there any ambiguity about what the product stands for, and the promise it makes? If two developers are at a Meetup group and one of them says "I made this with Turbo" is there any doubt what the promise of this product is, i.e. massive performance?

The name even works on a subconscious level. Anyone having trouble with their game performance (in other slow engines that aren't Turbo) will naturally wonder how fast it could be running in ours.

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The fact that the name has a positive emotional response for many people and a strong connection to the game industry is a plus.

Turbo Game Engine is an unambiguous brand name that takes a stand and makes a clear promise of one thing: speed, which is incredibly important in the days of VR and 240 hz screens.

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Something to apply for, since Leadwerks will have support for a few years, and will last forever at Steam I think it is necessary to have help documentation to download with the engine and use it in Local.

For now we can only hope to see the birth of TEG.  ( Turbo Engine Game)  :)


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Hmmm perhaps then go with an 80s theme with the logo as well? In fact here's some concept art! No need to pay me now but I'll gladly accept a free copy of TGE :D

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Cargo Joe reminds me of Super Turbo Turkey puncher 3 from Doom 3 :)

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TGE - not exactly the abbreviation you want your new engine to be associated with, is it? a failed engine that died a bloated mess that became so commercially unattractive they made it open source? and wth is TEG- just stop.

On 6/8/2018 at 6:04 PM, Yue said:

For now we can only hope to see the birth of TEG.  ( Turbo Engine Game)  :)
 

 

Honestly, the more I say it out loud and look at this- I agree with cangojoe initial response. 'Turbo' seems dated and maybe since I'm old I can remember the 80's where everything had turbo as its name or feature to the point that it really meant nothing. It's like the 90's version concerning the usage of the word 'EXTREME'. Or maybe thats your plan. Version1 is turbo, version2 is super turbo, version3 is extreme turbo... 😖 Dunno. I think its a shame you are abandoning a brandname with recognition and reputation because some person might not be able to pronounce it correctly the first time they come across it in print. I just hope your idea here doesn't turn into New Coke ™️

Edit -- Not trying to be rude here, just upfront and honest with you. You seem to get a lot of fanboyish, yes-men feedback here. But if memory serves, some of the people I see posting here about how much they like this name are some of the same people that encouraged you to make LE3 initially for mobile.

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On 6/8/2018 at 10:15 PM, EdzUp(GD) said:

I would have something like "Lightning game engine" or "Shock game engine".

Lightning engine sounds really good to be honest. Fast as lightning, 

16 hours ago, macklebee said:

Honestly, the more I say it out loud and look at this- I agree with cangojoe initial response. 'Turbo' seems dated and maybe since I'm old I can remember the 80's where everything had turbo as its name or feature to the point that it really meant nothing. It's like the 90's version concerning the usage of the word 'EXTREME'. Or maybe thats your plan. Version1 is turbo, version2 is super turbo, version3 is extreme turbo... 😖 Dunno. I think its a shame you are abandoning a brandname with recognition and reputation because some person might not be able to pronounce it correctly the first time they come across it in print. I just hope your idea here doesn't turn into New Coke ™️

Edit -- Not trying to be rude here, just upfront and honest with you. You seem to get a lot of fanboyish, yes-men feedback here. But if memory serves, some of the people I see posting here about how much they like this name are some of the same people that encouraged you to make LE3 initially for mobile.

It is is good of you to give your opinion macklebee, that is what is needed to make it better. I agree that giving up Leadwerks as a brandname is a bit of a shame. Purely changing the name for pronunciation sake would not be my main reason though. I see it more as a fresh start. I have been pronouncing Leadwerks like 'leedworks' in my first year with Leadwerks. A message from Annika changed that when she corrected me on it. I think the name change to something shorter and using a more universal existing word was the right thing to do. However, I do see your point on the word 'Turbo' being an 'outdated' word. Like CangoJoe, the first thing that came to mind when reading the word 'Turbo', was Far cry blood dragon with its neon style. Since Josh has trademarked the engine and bought an expensive domain name, I just don't think it is going to change. 

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16 hours ago, macklebee said:

Edit -- Not trying to be rude here, just upfront and honest with you. You seem to get a lot of fanboyish, yes-men feedback here. But if memory serves, some of the people I see posting here about how much they like this name are some of the same people that encouraged you to make LE3 initially for mobile.

Honest opinions are always welcome. I agree, this is the biggest risk. But like I said, there's no new words, so any good name I choose will already have some existing associations at first.

The reason I feel strongly about this name is that the entire name together has a sort of brainwashing effect. It's not "____ Game Engine" it's "Turbo Game Engine". Just saying the name suggests that the technology is of an entirely new caliber. This is why I chose the domain name www.turboengine.com and not "Turbo Dev", "Turbo 3D", or something like that.

There's a difference between something being true, and the general public knowing that something is true. If I deliver on the performance, then this name injects the idea of speed right into the subconscious of anyone who reads or hears it. It's like the crane kick from Karate Kid, the mind has no defense against it. I do not think the same is true of names that just add a word in front of "game engine".

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Fair enough - and I hope you are correct. I'm probably in the upper age percentile of your user base, so my perception of the word 'turbo' probably has a different connotation than what maybe the other younger users have with that word. 

10 hours ago, AggrorJorn said:

However, I do see your point on the word 'Turbo' being an 'outdated' word. Like CangoJoe, the first thing that came to mind when reading the word 'Turbo', was Far cry blood dragon with its neon style. Since Josh has trademarked the engine and bought an expensive domain name, I just don't think it is going to change. 

Heh. What's funny about that is you associate it with a 2013 far cry game that is purposely emulating an 80's style whereas I am just associating it with the 80's. Thanks for making me feel old. :D Then again I am sure half the people that read Josh's response about Karate Kid, first thought of that horrible remake with the Fresh Prince's kid. And I am pretty sure only a handful of people here understood my New Coke™️ reference without googling it...

In any case, I do hope Josh is right and I do agree with the decision to stay away from 'Turbo 3D' - it would be too much like a motel today promoting it has color tv's or a 2018 movie boasting to have technicolor. I would vote for Turbo Engine / turbo / TE as the possible ways to reference and stay far away from any TGE usage.

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Hmmmm that is a good point. Turbo Game Dngine is more explicit but Turbo Engine is pure neuro-linguistic programming.

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to be honest the whole Turbo thing doesn't sell to me after all Borland already done that with Turbo Fortran, Turbo Pascal, Turbo C++ and Turbo Basic.

 

So anything language based with Turbo in the title will be associated with that. In all honesty I would seriously think about that. 

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And they have not thought of the word "Speed Engine Game", ("SEG")??

I think the word Speed is more convenient. Am I mistaken?


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I'd be careful about using Turbo Engine as your name.

Google it and you will get lost in a long list of car related sites.

I must be of similar vintage to Macklebee as I get 80's type vibe from the word Turbo.

 

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Yeah, I agree that the full Turbo Game Engine name is best for SEO purposes.

However, any good name is going to have existing associations. If it wasn’t in use in another product at some point, it’s because it’s not a good name. I could call it Shock / Lightning / Speed / etc. and the name would be a blank slate because those names are not good, thus no one has ever wanted to use them in the past.

There was another name I was kicking around and my friend couldn’t remember it a couple weeks later. No one will forget this name, and no one will misunderstand the meaning.

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I would seriously think long and hard about this as rebranding has in the past cost more than its worth, yes some come back from it but some companies don't.

What is wrong with Leadwerks yes it's not Microsoft BUT it's remembered for the engined it has, maybe investing in advertising to get the word out maybe more prudent than rebranding to get lost in the noise of all the other "Turbo engines"?

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I think Leadwerks is a brand already positioned, original and recognized by many. If it's about doing something new, then the right name, I think, would be.  Turbo Engine Leadwerks, (TEL), or Turbo Leadwerks. 

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On 6/24/2018 at 1:20 AM, cassius said:

how about leadwerks 5 turbo?

I am thinking in terms of a new person who has never heard of Leadwerks.

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