It’s the rebrand that became a hot-potato issue. Hasbro made headlines when it renamed its classic Mr. Potato Head line to simply Potato Head. This name change was no small fry. The 70-year-old brand made this decision in order to break away from traditional gender norms and allow for families of all kinds to be imagined. “Culture has evolved,” Kimberly Boyd, a senior vice president, and general manager at Hasbro, told Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists — with the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” — is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.” This particular rebrand is an example of a brand evolving with the times.
The Future of Naming
Today, it’s crucial for brands to be inclusive, or they will be the ones left out. Inclusivity does not solely revolve around brand imagery. Your company’s name and messaging should be built with inclusion in mind.
Embracing diversity is not a trend; it’s the future. In fact, Gen Zers are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, according to a recent Pew Research survey.
Additionally, according to the study, Gen Zers are similar to Millennials in their comfort with using gender-neutral pronouns. Therefore if you want to build a brand that outlasts you, make inclusion a priority.
Here are some guidelines for naming your company with inclusion and the future in mind.
Determine Who You Are
When naming your business, the first place to start is to define your brand identity.
What is brand identity? It is your mission, values, mission, tone, and other similar brand constants. All of these factors contribute to how your customers perceive your brand. Working off your original business plan, you need to determine what your company stands for and how this reflects in the products or services you provide.
Map out themes and ideas that make up your brand or industry. This includes elements that form your business, from your journey to its operations. Elements of your brand identity will lend themselves to relevant name ideas later in the process.
Try to be as authentic as possible, as authenticity is what customers respond to. It’s what will set you apart from the brands that are performative.
After thoroughly evaluating your company’s background and developing a brand identity, you can narrow down your focus even further by determining your company’s value proposition.
Value propositions typically consist of a short one or two-sentence explanation of why people should care about your business. They clarify customers’ pain points or problems your service or product will solve. This human-centric approach is what will lead you to acknowledge and create a truly meaningful brand.
Your value proposition should clearly highlight why consumers should choose your product or service over competitors and how you differ from them.
Highlight any unique benefits your startup offers from innovative technology to price point; the more exclusive, the better. These characteristics will help you uncover a more unique name and brand identity.
After you’ve developed a substantial brand identity and value proposition, brainstorming names is the next step of the inclusive naming process.
During this process, it is important to look past your business rather than just trying to find one or two words that sum up what your brand offers. Evaluate your brand identity and the value proposition you created. Use them to brainstorm name ideas around brand attributes, values, and customer experience.
Don’t forget to get your team involved with this process, as the key to inclusion is to actually include others. Having multiple minds on the same project will help generate exciting name ideas that you would not have been able to think of yourself.
From compound phrases and play-on-words to foreign idioms, the brainstorming process will help foster impactful creativity. Then, if you still need help, try utilizing tools like a business name generator to come up with new and unique ideas.
Feedback Is Key
Review all the keywords, themes, and phrases you and your team have brainstormed. Any repetitive ideas that evoke immediate emotion should be highlighted.
The repetition typically signals a possible name. However, don’t go purely on your gut instinct. Remember, you’re going for inclusivity. You may have a personal bias you’re not even aware of. While it is important to find a name that excites you, it also needs to resonate with consumers as well. An effective way to determine if your name will appeal to your target customer is through audience testing. This can effectively gauge how your favorite names rank with your preferred demographic.
You may also discover that your names are offensive or politically incorrect, a failure you truly want to avoid in today’s “cancel culture.”
Ideally, your startup should reach out to one thousand individuals who match your target demographic. This is a sizable pool that will offer your team relevant and reliable feedback. Then, after reviewing the data from your audience survey, you can confidently move forward with a name you know sets off a positive consumer reaction.
When you finally settle on an inclusive name, the final step is to ensure that you’ve run through a functionality test.
Most importantly, say your name out loud using a few relevant sentences. For example, if you have, or plan to have a sales team, you might say, “This is Tory with [Your Name],” as if you were making a cold call. If you’re launching a fashion store, you might say, “Thank you for shopping at [Your Name].”
Say the phrase slowly and quickly. Better yet, call a friend and say the phrase to them. Don’t ask if your friend likes the name; just make sure they understand what you are saying.
The worst response you can ever get regarding your name ideas is “What?” or “Say it again.” We’ve counseled many clients to scrap the smartest, most meaningful names simply because they were difficult to convey from person to person. But, on the other hand, a highly functional name is one that is easily remembered and can catch on with word of mouth.
Bad names are often made in the business world due to rushing through processes.
Although naming may seem like a small piece of your business, it should actually be seen as the face of your business. The naming process truly requires devotion, time, and energy.
Your company’s name can be the driving force for drawing in customers from all backgrounds. Despite what your product or service provides, your name is the first thing a customer learns about your company. Therefore, it needs to be inclusive.
As the foundation of your brand, inclusive names can literally make or break a prospect’s desire to learn more. By taking the proper steps and delivering a strong and inclusive name from the beginning, you have a greater chance to succeed now and in the future.
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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!