Actionable Naming Strategies for Founders
By Darpan Munjal, CEO and Founder, Squadhelp.com
Establishing a strong brand identity is key to success in the cyber defense space, and it’s becoming more difficult as the industry grows and more businesses open.
Cyber defense businesses are built on trust, and that trust is often created through strong branding. This poses a challenge in a couple of ways – firstly, standing out in any crowded market is hard, but in a market that hinges on trust any big, unexpected branding or naming moves that would usually be a logical way to differentiate yourself as a business have to be approached carefully. Secondly, as naming conventions are so strong in cybersecurity and cyber defense, names are simply running out!
Many names that evoke safety, for example, are taken. The name “Check Point”, as in Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, is one example, creating an idea of a vigilant and proactive approach to cybersecurity. It conveys the idea of safeguarding and controlling access to critical points within a network.
Other more modern naming conventions within the cyber security industry, such as mixing evocative images with the usual conventions of safety and security, have also been around for long enough that many names using this method are taken. FireEye is an example of this sort of name. “FireEye” is impactful and attention-grabbing. It conveys a sense of urgency and alertness, symbolizing the detection and response to cyber threats. The term “fire eye” evokes imagery of intense scrutiny and surveillance, indicating a focus on monitoring and identifying malicious activities.
These narrow conventions and the recent proliferation of new players in the industry in no way means it’s impossible to name new cyber defense businesses, but it does mean that as a cyber defense founder you’ll have to employ new strategies to come up with brandable, trustworthy, appropriate names. One of those strategies is using AI as a tool to generate great cyber defense naming ideas. We’ll look at this, as well as other useful naming strategies for cyber defense businesses.
Creating Trust Through Naming: Choose Names Cyber Defense Customers Will Believe In
According to research, customers associate certain words with reliability, expertise, and security – using this insight, cyber defense businesses can craft names that inspire confidence while setting themselves apart from competition. Here are a few tips to maximize the psychological effect of a name in the cyber defense space:
- Evoke Emotion: Naming that stirs positive associations such as FortifyShield or SecureHaven can evoke feelings of safety and trust with customers on an intimate level. By emphasizing emotional connections through your name, your business could reach customers further down their psychological spectrums.
- Create Familiarity and Authority: By including words or phrases which evoke trust from potential clients such as CyberExperts or TrustShield, businesses can establish credibility and gain their confidence. At Squadhelp, we’ve found that our customers lean towards the following root words for cyber security and cyber defense names: Secure, Encrypt, Firewall, Safeguard Protect, Lock, Shield, Defense, Privacy, and Fortress
- Stick with Simplicity and Clarity: Simply stated names are easier for customers to remember and project an air of professionalism, while omitting difficult terms or technical jargon will increase accessibility while broadening its appeal. Names like McAfee, BAE, and Sisco all achieve this.
- Know the Norms: As I mentioned earlier, the cyber defense space is not a place to wildly innovate with naming and branding. So, before you name your business, you should be aware of industry norms.
Usual name types for Cyber defense firms include:
- Made Up/Abstract: Sisco, Sofos
- Acronyms: IBM, BAE
- Mashup: Fortinet, Mimecast
- Founder name: McAfee, Kaspersky Lab
- Evocative: Forcepoint, CrowdStrike, CyberArk
Integrating AI into the Cyber Defense Naming Process: The Possibilities and Limitations
Language models, such as ChatGPT, can be used to generate naming ideas. By providing prompts and parameters, you can tap into the creative capabilities of AI to generate a wide range of potential names for a cyber defense venture. Specifically, AI is great at the brainstorming stage. You can ask ChatGPT to provide words similar to the names of cyber defense firms with names you think are great, for example, or words on a theme such as strength, security, or power.
You can then search for available names that have these words as a part of them or use them as a prompt for an AI-powered name generator such as Squadhelp’s to find hundreds of available names and domains suitable for your venture. It’s important to note here that AI is a tool and should be treated as such. While AI can generate a vast number of naming options, the human element is still crucial in making appropriate and original choices. Creativity, intuition, and cultural sensitivity are all needed to pick a genuinely great name that aligns with your company’s vision and values and resonates with your target audience.
Trademarks and Cyber Defense Naming
It’s important to keep trademark checks in mind when naming, particularly in a crowded industry. My advice is always to run trademark checks and audience testing on a handful of names before getting too attached to one. It may simply be too close to another business name in the same sector, particularly in an area like Cyber Defense where naming trends are strong and don’t change at speed.
Modern Naming: Challenge and Opportunity Come Hand in Hand
Naming a cyber defense business in 2023 presents unique challenges due to growing competition and an ever-evolving industry landscape. But by understanding trust psychology, leveraging language norms, and welcoming innovative new technologies as solutions, businesses can effectively navigate these hurdles.
Crafting compelling yet trustworthy names helps establish brand recognition, and strong brand identity elements around a name – such as logos and taglines – can give you that extra push you need to stand out in the cybersecurity and cyber defense sector. Remaining adaptable and forward thinking are necessary traits necessary for cyber defense companies’ lasting success, so integrating AI into their naming processes for new businesses and products is a logical step forward for the industry as a whole.
About the Author
Darpan Munjal is the CEO and founder of Squadhelp.com, a brand-naming platform with more than 30,000 customers and 300,000 creatives globally. Munjal is a serial entrepreneur and has over 25 years of experience leading internet-focused businesses.
Darpan can be reach at @darpanmunjal.