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January 18th, 2017

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Naming the Naming Articles

If I read one more article about product naming called “What’s in a Name?”, I will scream. Curse you, Bill Shakespeare! That is all.

February 20th, 2017

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How to Write an Award-Winning Tagline

This post originally appeared at the Content Bureau blog. Part three of a three-part series. One of the most fun categories to judge at the 2016 LIA Awards was taglines (endlines). This was because—as we say in the naming biz—we had seven words rather than seven letters to play with and consider! The taglines we reviewed were mostly from advertising campaigns, both print and digital, and they varied widely in tone and format. The two winners did excellent jobs of... Continue reading

February 15th, 2017

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Naming Your Small Biz: Interview in NCR’s Small Business Smarts

The wonderful Libby Sile interviewed me for this piece on naming your business. It originally appeared at NCR’s Small Business Smarts in February 2017. *** When it comes to naming their small business, many owners think all they need to do is jot down a few ideas on a napkin. “People leave the naming to the end or don’t put enough effort into it,” said Laurel Sutton, principal at Catchword Brand Name Development, a business naming agency with branches in Oakland,... Continue reading

December 6th, 2016

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How to Write Award-Winning Copy

This post originally appeared at the Content Bureau blog. Part two of a three-part series. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently invited to join the judges of the Verbal Identity panel of the 2016 LIA Awards. Now that the LIA winners for Verbal Identity have been announced, we can examine why those Gold and Silver winners took the honors. I want to spend some time analyzing one entry in depth, in order to show you the points... Continue reading

November 8th, 2016

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How to Enter Your Work in an Industry Contest

This post originally appeared at the Content Bureau blog. Recently, I was honored to be included as a judge on the Verbal Identity Panel of the LIA Awards, held in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the LIA has been rewarding excellence in advertising for 20 years, 2016 was the first year that Verbal Identity was added to the judging categories. I learned a lot over the course of three days, and I’ll share those insights with you in this short series on industry... Continue reading

September 28th, 2016

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How to Find the Right Domain Name: Catchword Video

When do you need an exact .com—and when can you get away without one? How do you go about finding a domain name? Or negotiating a purchase from another party? In this 6-minute video, Catchword co-founder and linguistics expert Laurel Sutton answers these questions and others you probably haven’t thought of yet. She also shares some fascinating tidbits about the history of domain names, as well as Murphy’s Law of Naming. (No, we’re not going to tell you, you’ll just have to... Continue reading

September 28th, 2016

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How To Pick An International Brand Name: Catchword Video

Think you can vet a brand name destined for a foreign country simply by running it by someone you know who speaks the language fluently? Think again. It takes a lot more than that to assess whether a name will fly with non-English speaking audiences, and to spot potentially disastrous associations. In this 5-minute video from Catchword’s how-to video series, Catchword co-founder and linguistics expert Laurel Sutton shares the keys to serious evaluation of international brand names. If you need... Continue reading

September 28th, 2016

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How to Use a Focus Group for Brand Names: Catchword Video

Sometimes, properly conducted focus group research can provide a useful data point when evaluating brand name candidates. On the other hand, ill-conceived research may torpedo your best ideas and lead you to a name that’s bland at best. So how do you know when a focus group is a good idea? And how do you structure it to make sure the results are useful rather than misleading? In this 6-minute video, Catchword founder and linguistics expert Laurel Sutton covers some of... Continue reading

August 30th, 2016

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The Hugo Awards: Tarnished by Puppies?

This post originally appeared at Duets Blog. Have you read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? What about Orson Scott Card’sEnder’s Game? Frank Herbert’s Dune? Maybe Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (coming soon to the cable network Starz)? If you’ve read any of those books, you’ve read a Hugo Award winner. The Hugos (named for Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories) have been given out every year since 1955 and recognize... Continue reading

June 21st, 2016

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When It’s Not Super to Use Superlatives

This post originally appeared at the Content Bureau blog. So you’re supposed to be all casual and authentic when blogging. You might feel comfortable throwing around a few superlatives, like “our product is just the best,” or it’s “best in class,” which you’d never do in more buttoned-up content like eBooks or white papers. You’ve been told that headlines containing superlatives get better results. But even when you’re blogging, what does “best” mean to your customers? When you claim you’re... Continue reading