In 2012, we decided it was time to scale the company and that our name at the time,
"Loudtalks," didn’t fit the brand we wanted to create. Not enough people smiled when we said, “Loudtalks.” But changing names is messy and means delaying other needs.
This is our story of how we selected "Zello," with lessons for you about choosing your own company name along the way.
Picking the right name was the most important step and took us a few months. The branding forced us to clarify our target market, our users, the immediate value proposition and our strategic positioning. Then, we outlined the brand personality and voice.
We wanted a name that was short, simple, easy to spell, memorable and global. Many companies have the same requirements, which meant the best domains were taken or expensive.
The first step was brainstorming ideas within the team, collecting hundreds of ideas. We also looked for themes. One favorite was an onomatopoeia, giving the company a brand based on how the name sounded. For example, we liked Blip, but it was taken.
We narrowed our internal list with a vote from our team of six. The purpose of the vote wasn’t to pick a name, but to agree on the obvious cuts. We wanted more so we opened a contest on http://crowdspring.com, spending $400 for another 400 names (which included Zello).
We checked domain availability with a whois bulk check tool and marked up another sheet with favorites. Combining these two tasks shortened the list. Next came checking the prices of the favorite domains, which cost between $10 and $200K (!!!).
The candidate list shrunk to 50. Everyone on the team shared the names with family and friends. One interesting discovery: developers often voted on the same names.
We narrowed to about 15 names. We ran a Google AdWords test to compare click-through rates using different copy combinations around b2b products. We searched the set for trademark problems and looked harder at domain availability, then went to a broader set of people for feedback testing.
Zello eked into the last cut, then gained momentum. We found the zello.me domain available and grabbed it and some others, then made a gut call deciding Zello fit our company the best.
Zello push-to-talk lets you talk and listen to one person or a group while keeping your eyes and hands free for a speedier and richer experience.