Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in launching a new business or startup is coming with a name, especially if you're a designer (aka perfection-freak). After all, the name of your startup is a reflection of your brand, your character, and the first point of interaction with your target audience. In short, a startup name can be considered as a point of differentiation. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to nail it right from the beginning, because you will be stuck with it forever: you will be using it, pronouncing it, seeing it, being associated with it in every single day of your life - unless you're willing to go with the expensive efforts of rebranding later on.
So, how did we come up with "Blue Hat"?
After establishing the founding pillars of our business, such as: setting up our lines of offerings, defining our target market, articulating our values and ethos, amongst other details that constitute our business, Judy and I spent countless hours working on the name. In deed, it was challenging. For those of you who are going through a similar phase, take a look at how we did it, and feel free to follow our lead:
We started off with an informal brainstorming session at our local and favorite coffee shop (Starbucks... in case you're wondering). The tip here is to enjoy sipping your usual cup of coffee and unleash your ideas and creativity in a carefree environment. Right from the start, we agreed that we both need to stay away from cliches and traditional agency-like names. We were fed up with "Digi-this" and "Interactive-that". Even during our networking events and the numerous seminars we attended in London with influential professionals in the field, it was clear to us that there was a common acknowledgement amongst experts that the current market is flooded and highly saturated with companies whose names include: Digital, Interactive or Agency etc... Additionally, if you examine the most successful players in the digital and design spheres, they all have veered away from such terminologies and associated themselves with distinctive names instead, from amongst our favorites we name: "Razorfish", "Google", "Y&R", "Saffron", "Liquid", and "SapientNitro".
Our informal brainstorming session was soon followed by a mind-mapping technique in which we placed our point of focus in the center, then proceeded to map its ramifications into 9 sub-focal points. Then, we associated each one of these sub-focal points with 9 different ideas. Such a technique has helped bring to the surface what our brand is all about. Afterwards, we conducted a quick five-minute exercise in which each one of us had to come up with potential names and attributes for our new startup. The spontaneity and the rapid pace of this exercise made us stick to the ideas we love the most. Judy and I acknowledged that "blue" was our hero color as it symbolizes blue sky thinking, looking at the future, widening one's horizon and unleashing one's creativity. Once the color was set, it was important to choose the right pantone that will differentiate us from the rest of the market, as we both knew that blue is highly abused in logos.
Well, that explains the color blue. However, you all must be wondering what did "hat" have to do with all this?
During our thinking sessions we were highly inspired by Edward De Bono's "6 Thinking Hats", a parallel thinking process that allows one to explore a topic from 6 different perspectives, and each perspective is usually associated with a specific color as you can see below:
The White Hat calls for information known or needed. It is the hat of "the facts, just the facts."
The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism. Under this hat one can explore the positive aspect of an idea and probe for value and benefit.
The Black Hat is that of judgment - It represents the devil's advocate or used to explain why something may not work. When wearing this hat, one must spot the difficulties and threats and predict what might go wrong. While the Black hat is the most valuable in all hats, it must not be overused; otherwise, it may inhibit innovation.
The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings as well as share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates about a specific topic or idea.
The Green Hat focuses on creativity; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It represents an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process. It's the Maestro of all hats. It controls the thinking mechanism and ensures that all Six Thinking Hats® guidelines are observed and thought of prior to launching a new idea or concept. And that right there was our inspiration!
After revising this genius technique of Edward De Bono, "Blue Hat" was taking over our mind and hearts bit by bit. The more we thought about it, the more it became clear how much Blue Hat echoes our own values as a startup, especially that we are a startup that puts research first, uses design methodologies to devise strategies prior to tackling any project, as well as explore a topic holistically and assess any new business, campaign, or concept from all angles prior to undertaking them.
Let it Marinate... Then, Give it a Test Drive!
Before settling on "Blue Hat" as our brand name, we decided to let it marinate in our heads for a couple of days to see whether or not it will stick with us. The more time we gave it to settle, the more we discovered that it was a perfect fit to our brand ethos. To be honest, we had to see how it echoed once uttered out loud. And so every now and then, we tested it with each other by saying the name under different contexts and occasions, such as: "Hello, this is Elif from Blue Hat, how may I help you?", or "We're meeting with someone from Blue Hat this afternoon," or "I heard that Blue Hat are working on a new e-commerce project...", and so on... The testing process was, of course, extended to include the other Hatters: Elif and Mohamad, who were the first to join our startup. The testing also included our close circle of trusted clients and experts in the field. The name was highly received and was quite intriguing. People liked the sound of it and fell in love with the rationale behind it. The reactions we gathered reassured us that we have made the right decision, and so we proceed with acquiring the name for our startup.
Being perfection-freaks ourselves, we just had to give the new name a final round of testing. This time we assessed the new name against Marty Neumeier's "Seven Criteria of a Standout Name" (from his book: "The Brand Gap). As a result, "Blue Hat" proved to be distinct and brief. Its rationale was convenient to our values as a startup and easy to be pronounced by non-English speakers. Our new name scored high in likability as people were loving it, and because it can easily be extended to areas beyond design, as well as, easily be protected with the proper online presence. Bottom line, "Blue Hat" passed Neumeier's test with flying colors.
So that's how "Blue Hat" was born. Don't hesitate to follow us on social media to keep current with our latest updates: