Take the World By Storm
With a Name
In a nutshell what NameStormers does… New company, product and service name development, legal and linguistic screening & quantitative market testing.
The naming industry landscape is littered with agencies that make the process seem onerous and intimidating. They tout their unique proprietary processes, advanced research and ideation tools, etc. And then they tell you it’s going to take months and months. Ugh. With Mike and NameStormers, you get a team focused on results. Their approach is practical, thorough and creative. And they can be flexible and lightning fast. If you want results without the headaches, then I highly recommend NameStormers.
David Cameron, Business Public Affairs, Dow Chemical
Our success with our name change and branding has been phenomenal. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. I am ecstatic over it. Our experience in working with NameStormers has been so good let’s just call them again and let them handle this next project for us.
Bill Macey – CEO of Valtera, formerly Personnel Research Associates
NameStormers navigates the creative process of brand name development with your organization’s team to generate a business name that cuts through the noise and gets you noticed. Let’s get started.
Testing our K-12 children is becoming more frequent and more rigorous. Mastering a wider variety of subjects is both stressful and boring. Pearson just rolled-out a new tool, called Zeos™, to change all of this on March 30th: The Zeos name is short and catchy. It is also fun as is the offering itself… “Zeos … read more
On Feb 22, 2012, Maritz Research introduced its Capella(tm) platform, a new way to measure the complete customer experience. This solution promises to revolutionize how you can improve your customers’ interactions with your firm, products, services and people. It is moving the industry away from tools that just report data to tools that help drive needed change … read more
“Consumers are not buying based on price alone,” led a recent article from Brandweek. Personally, price is always a factor for me, but only decisive when all other things are equal. I agree – “there is a price-value formula consumers use to calculate brand differences” when deciding which brands to buy. Otherwise Chi straighteners ($100) … read more
Name development starts at $8000
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Amfac Parks & Resorts wanted to change its name to distance itself from the bankruptcy of Amfac Hawaii. It needed the new name to span its incredible portfolio of national park lodges and resorts like those in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and the Everglades . It was looking for something new, more contemporary and innovative sounding. A name that set it apart from other parks and resorts but that was also rich in story.
And, finally, the name had to fit Amfac’s reputation of environmental friendliness and overall excellence as reported in Hotel Online:
The company is known for finding innovative ways to preserve the environment while operating facilities in remote areas of the country. Last year, the company’s programs garnered the attention of both the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Travel Industry Association (TIA). The Department of the Interior awarded Amfac the Department’s 2001 Environmental Achievement Award. The company was the only concessioner – and one of only 13 winners in three categories – to receive the award. Just 24 hours later, the Travel Industry Association, representing the $582 billion travel industry, presented the company with its 2001 Odyssey Award in the Environment category in recognition of “excellence and exceptional achievements in travel and tourism.”
So NameStormers coined Xanterra. Pronounced “Zanterra.” It was derived from “Xanadu,” from the Kubla Khan poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about an “idyllic, beautiful place,” and “terra,” as in “the earth.”
Andrew Todd, President of Xanterra, had this to say about the name: “As the stewards of some of this country’s national park treasures and operators of resorts throughout the U.S., we felt we needed a name that was more reflective of the spectacular destinations in which we operate.” And while Xanterra might create an expectation of something truly extraordinary, it just takes one trip to the Grand Canyon to see how well the name fits.
A Low-Carb Family Brand Name
With the popularity of the low-carb diet a few years ago, Frito Lay created a new low-carb line of salty snacks.
A short, punchy name that tended to “pop” off the package was desired. Something that would complement rather than usurp the major Frito-Lay brands like Doritos and Tostitos. The name also needed to fit an innovative and better-for-you snack positioning.
NameStormers recommended Edge as a possible name. Edge was so short that it tended to produce a “billboard effect” on the package, drawing the eye and popping regardless of how crowded the shelf space might be.
Its multiple meanings also gave consumers many reasons to identify with the sub-brand:
1) An edge is an advantage, as in a new low-carb snack that gives you all of the taste without all of the carbs.
2) An edge could suggest extra energy because you are eating healthier, better-for-you snacks.
3) Edge also implies a margin of superiority over others.
4) Edge is a point of transition, as in transitioning or switching from a higher carb to a lower carb snack.
5) Lastly, edge relates to keenness or zest, which fit the positioning and helped convey the personality of this new family brand.
Edge provided multiple reasons for this product line to stand out from the crowd of low-carb competitors.
An Ergonomic Office Chair
Herman Miller needed a name for a new office chair. The chair was designed with the human body in mind, offering a wide range of ergonomic features. It was flexible and resilient enough to support the full range of seating positions and body movements throughout the day.
The name needed to be short, preferably a single word. It needed to support an upscale, more premium brand positioning. It also had to reflect the unique ergonomic design that differentiated this chair from competitive offerings. Finally, it needed to work well around the world.
Many initial name ideas failed NameStormers’ domestic and international trademark screenings. Also, the NameStormers listened to over 20 key Herman Miller professionals in sales offices around the world, soliciting their feedback after each round of creative naming. NameStormers was particularly interested in comments on potential linguistic problems, contemporary usage issues or cultural concerns. Feedback was collected and tabulated, key comments were highlighted by country, and names were ranked based upon overall worldwide acceptability. This information was shared with the Herman Miller core naming team throughout the process, and ultimately the Mirra name was selected.
Mirra, derived from mirror, leveraged the idea that the chair mirrored the movements of the body and joints. Mirra also came from the root “mira” as in “miraculous” flexibility, comfort and durability. It has proven to be a distinctive and memorable name around the world.
SK C&C USA, a subsidiary of the $65 billion South Korean SK telecom giant, came to NameStormers needing a new masterbrand and naming architecture, including the development of key family sub-brand names.
The new names and architecture needed to span all of SK’s mCommerce apps for every supported platform and work well in selected languages. The names needed to engage customers in the B2B space while sounding solid, reliable and relevant.
NameStormers developed the Corfire name as the over-arching masterbrand. Cor, as in central and essential + fire for rapid deployment, power and action. A cool and edgy style of name that has been well-received. And Corfire allowed for sub-brand build-outs like CorPay, Cor360 and CorTrust. Go to Corfire.com for more information on this mobile commerce suite of products.
KSS was a meaningless acronym for most customers and employees alike, easily forgotten and lacking in emotional engagement. It also had some legal restrictions on its usage.
The KSS management team wanted a new name that had some subtle linkage back to KSS but conveyed more about who they were and differentiated them from the competitive set.
We worked with Bob Stein, CEO, and with his senior management team on many ideas until Kalibrate was selected. Here is what Bob has to say about the new name:
I am very pleased to announce that KSS Fuels has changed its company name to reflect the integration of Market Planning Solutions Inc. (MPSI) and the launch of a revolutionary new suite of petroleum retail decision support solutions. From now on the company will be known as Kalibrate Technologies and will do business under the shortened name Kalibrate.
We’re very excited about this development as it heralds a new era for the company, building on more than 20 years of delivering products and services to our clients in over 68 countries around the world. The launch of our new integrated suite of petroleum retail value chain solutions will be happening soon and we look forward to sharing our vision and roadmap with you.
Dictionary: “to measure in an exact and precise way; to adjust to take external factors into account or to allow comparison with other data; carefully assess, set, or adjust”
The key to petroleum retail success lies in understanding your market and customers and calibrating your business to fulfill their needs and demands. This is what we do at Kalibrate – we provide petroleum retailers with intelligence tools, software and services to analyze their operating data as the basis for defining and managing strategies to deliver on performance goals.
Kalibrate = retailer knowledge + domain expertise + best practice + data + advanced analytical decision-support tools.
Built in the 1930’s in the art deco style, University Towers is located in the university district in Seattle (akin to the Fillmore District in San Francisco).
As part of a major renovation, the owners wanted to rebrand the property with a more hip look and with-it name that fit its architecture and proximity to the university fraternities and sororities.
The Hotel Deca name was chosen after reviewing dozens of ideas because it:
- Tied back to the art deco style
- Deca is from the Greek for “10,” appealing to the local fraternities and sororities and their social chairs
- It differentiated the property from all competitors throughout Seattle
- It was easy to say, spell and remember
- It was short, easily fitting on signage and other brand touch points
An Elegant Name for a Powerful CEM Platform
Maritz Research introduced Capella as a new way to measure the complete customer experience. This solution revolutionizes how companies improve customers’ interactions with their products, services and people. It moves beyond tools that just report data to tools that help drive needed change by constantly monitoring and fine-tuning the customer experience.
We are proud to have played a part in the development of the Capella name. So what inspired the name?
Capella is a double, bright star in the sky. Maritz uses this metaphor to talk about how Capella delivers the clear AND powerful voice of the customer. The name is potentially very differentiating in the CEM (Customer Experience Management) space. It rolls-off of the tongue and conveys a degree of elegance and sophistication that fits the product and what it
delivers to Maritz clients around the world.
For an overview of Capella’s capabilities, go to: www.maritzresearch.com/Capella.
Shoe Carnival asked NameStormers to name some of their everyday women’s footwear lines. The new brands needed to span a wide variety of shoes, from sandals to boots, that would be value-priced and fashion-forward. Distinctive, easy to pronounce, fairly short names were preferred that conveyed style in a hip and fun way.
And so Cabrizi and Solanz were born. Cabrizi sounded casual, breezy and easy to wear. With the root Sol (sun or sole), Solanz worked especially well for sandals.
Used Car Retailer
Many consumers felt that buying a used car was an unpleasant and seedy experience. Circuit City wanted to change that perception and make this type of purchase more enjoyable and professional. They hoped to create a unique atmosphere for the buyer where all the cars had warranties, a set price and documentation on past repairs and maintenance. The staff would be well-groomed, well-dressed and provide outstanding service in an attractive car-buying environment.
Circuit City preferred an easy to understand, automotive related name. Something short enough to really pop on signage and billboards but suggestive enough so that prospects driving by would have a pretty good idea of the concept. They also hoped for a name that supported their positioning of an optimal car-buying experience.
After the NameStormers presented a variety of names, Circuit City selected Carmax. It was short, easy to spell and not likely to be mispronounced. The “car” prefix directly related to the automotive business and the “max” suffix suggested the maximum value in a used car. The URL was also available and the name cleared preliminary trademark hurdles. The rest is history, with Carmax stores now a common sight in many markets around the country.
Environmentally Friendly Refrigerant
United Technologies had to name their new environmentally sound Freon® replacement. Freon was being eliminated from air conditioners because of environmental worries such as global warming. This project presented some challenges. The new name needed to:
- Sound similar to Freon to simplify adoption
- Be easy for dealers to explain to their customers
- Be short to provide a “billboard effect” on trucks
- Sound greener than the Freon name
Puron was the winning name. It had the same number of letters as Freon and had the same “-on” suffix, making it easy for retailers to explain to customers.
The “Pur-” root sounded friendly, environmentally correct and connoted to consumers a clean and safe refrigerant.
Puron worked globally and helped United Technologies establish a strong, memorable brand name that is giving their Carrier and Bryant products a competitive point of differentiation in the marketplace.
For more information, go to www.puron.com.
A Digital Technology Company
CABC needed a new corporate moniker. Their existing name was too often confused with ABC. No one could remember what the individual letters stood for. The name didn’t convey anything about their revolutionary new digital technology and the disruptive effect it was having in the marketplace.
They wanted a new name that fit their cutting edge positioning. Something that created some excitement and had a high level of energy. Of course, they needed an easy-to-remember name. A name with emotional connectivity that fit their young, vibrant, on-the-go personality.
NameStormers suggested Ignite. It fit the disruptive technology positioning. It was short, snappy and easy to say and spell. It connoted to potential clients something exciting, something that might start a whole new industry trend, something that “explodes” old standards and limitations. Ignite also lended itself to exciting visuals and attention-grabbing colors.
Ignite quickly grabbed mindshare and replaced the less evocative, less compelling and less memorable CABC.
NatureSweet … A Celestial Story
NameStormers helped create the Cherubs name for a new variety of grape tomatoes. Cherubs deliver sweeter flavor in an ideal size for snacking or salads. The Cherubs name proved successful for NatureSweet, offering many advantages including:
- a distinctive brand
- great graphics
- lots of fun copy possibilities
- a celestial theme to work with for future names
NatureSweet also introduced two other celestial tomato varieties that fit the theme: SunBursts and Glorys. And then more recently, they developed a cute little snack package for Cherubs named Cherriots, courtesy of NameStormers. Another spin on the heavenly theme.
The celestial theme has helped NatureSweet tie their brands together, leverage their brand-building dollars more effectively across a common theme, command a premium price, and outperform the competition.
International Investment Banking Firm
When two members of the alternative investment unit of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Switzerland decided to form their own international investment banking firm, they asked NameStormers to come up with a new, elegant name. A name that would inspire confidence in prospective investors. The new firm would provide highly desirable, unparalleled personal service to a very exclusive clientele, namely, individuals with over $100 million in liquid assets. The name needed to sound classy and prestigious, and to convey exclusivity: a feeling similar to joining a club with a very limited membership.
Each client of this new firm would receive attention tailored to their unique needs, including true 24/7 access to an account manager. For this reason, they also wanted a name that could support a personalized, customized, first class service positioning.
Investors at that time were disillusioned by recent scandals reported in the world press about giant organizations that seemed more focused on their fees than on investors’ returns. The new firm’s owners needed a name that would reflect ethical business and high integrity: a solid, stable firm that would be around for the long haul.
All of these requirements needed to be packaged in a short, expressive name that was easy to remember, say, and spell, yet still sound elite and exclusive. Word-of-mouth would be a top lead-generation vehicle.
Calibria was the perfect fit: an elegant twist on “calibre” that relates to merit and excellence as well as measurement and exact analysis.
Leveraging Data to Improve Patient Outcomes
“We are focused on improving the US health care system by helping primary care physicians move from a volume-based care model to a value-based care model, enhancing health outcomes, improving the patient experience, and strengthening practice economics.”
Aetna needed a name that would immediately appeal to physicians wrestling with the new health care environment. A name that could span all the services Aetna was offering (through their Healthagen Business) to help physicians stay competitive in the new world of improving patient outcomes while minimizing costs.
So while NameStormers presented a wide variety of names to the management team, Practice iQ was ultimately chosen because it:
- Telegraphed what the company and its offerings were all about: making physician practices smarter
- Was relatively short and easy to say, spell and most importantly, to remember
- Helped convey the hard data orientation and strong analytical foundation without coming across too scientific or nerdy
- Seemed legally available
“Just right for both travelers and government officials looking for a sophisticated stay, The Liaison Capitol Hill brings an element of cool sensuality to the nation’s capital. With an artistic lobby connected to acclaimed restaurant Art and Soul, by celebrity chef Art Smith, The Liaison Capitol Hill also boasts the biggest DC Rooftop Pool & Bar in the entire city.”
“Welcome to your go-to power spot, centrally located between the US Capitol building and Union Station.”
The Liaison name was inspired by its location, the need for a discrete meeting spot for deal-making and lobbying, and the desire to attract tourists who wanted to stay at a boutique hotel that has an edgy, in-the-know and fun personality.
Ivoclar Vivadent, an existing dental products manufacturer based in Europe, needed a name for a new tooth jewelry product. They called NameStormers, explaining that they were looking for something short, easy-to-say and targeted at Europeans.
Skyce was their choice, a snappy combination of sky and ice. “Sky” evoked an image of a clear blue sky, as in “bright as the sky”, and “ice” suggested something that’s hard and brilliant.
Today you can find both a blue and white version of their dental “jewelry” in select European stores.
A Non-Profit Environmental Group in Minnesota
Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ME3), an environmental lobbying and legal advocacy group based out of St. Paul, Minnesota, needed a new name. Many people couldn’t remember what the group’s acronym stood for, including some of ME3’s own employees and key members of the media. Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy was often cited in the press as just “a local environmental group in St. Paul.”
The new name needed to speak to the vision and goals of the organization, which included promoting renewable energy. It also needed to stand out from a crowd of other alphabet soup, environmental group acronym names.
The “renew” root was evaluated for inclusion in the new name but dismissed as overused, not evocative enough and not ownable as a trademark. The NameStomers decided to apply some of their cross-industry experience to this project, considering words and phrases that had gained traction with the public in other industries. One of these industries was food and beverage, which ultimately yielded the Fresh Energy name.
Fresh Energy put a new spin on renewable energy, bringing lots of positive associations immediately to the table. Fresh equated to good for you, good for the environment and good for the economy. The word “fresh” also tied in nicely with “green” as in friends of the environment, less pollution and the energy of the future. It also lended itself to some very appealing, inviting graphics and visual associations.
Fresh Energy has moved forward with their new name, quickly capturing the attention of legislators and the general public.
A Premium Passenger Tire
Michelin wanted to develop a new name for a line of premium passenger tires that would be used as original equipment on new vehicles like the Honda Odyssey.
The tires had some of Michelin’s best engineering behind them, offering a good balance of handling, traction in all kinds of adverse conditions, superior wear, sound deadening and quick, responsive braking. The tire offered all this engineering innovation at a very reasonable price.
While the NameStormers discovered through its legal research that many initial name ideas were already in use, some unique ideas started to surface after field trips to various tire retailers. The ultimate winner was Symmetry. It supported Michelin’s reputation for superior design and engineering. It was a real word that suggested a good balance between many different features. It was relatively short, easy to spell, say and remember.
At different automotive dealers across the country, Symmetry tires can now be found on a variety of new vehicles.
Backup Power You Can Always Rely On
Sevin Rosen Funds helps finance start-up companies. Ben Rosen needed a name for a new turbogeneration company. The new company would be making turbines that serve as back-up to electric power systems for hospitals and other facilities that couldn’t afford a blip in power. The turbines come online immediately if there is a loss of electricity to ensure continuous energy.
The name “Capstone” was chosen because it started with a “C” like Compaq and many of the other Sevin Rosen start-up investments. Also Capstone is defined as a “crowning achievement, point, element, or event.” It sounded solid and stable. Perfect for a company that would be building potentially lifesaving equipment.
Today, “Capstone Turbine Corporation® is the world’s leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems, and was first to market with commercially viable air bearing turbine technology. The company has shipped thousands of Capstone turbines to customers worldwide. These award-winning systems have logged millions of documented runtime operating hours.”
Arby’s needed a fun, easy to understand name for their new Angus beef sandwich.
A name which would telegraph premium quality beef with lots of extra goodies that when all combined together, deliver incredible flavor.
A name that was more distinctive and ownable than just something like “The New Angus Sub.”
Of course, the NameStormers team had to visit a local Arby’s as well as competitive venues to sample the sandwiches and checkout the menu boards.
While consuming an incredible quantity of roast beef a number of names from the very simple to the almost absurd were developed and considered.
And after testing the top names with hundreds of consumers from around the country, the Ultimate Angus Philly name was selected with both hard data and many anecdotal comments supporting this choice.
Identity Protection That Still Lets You Do Business
Privacy Inc. needed a name for a web-based software application that guarded against identity theft and protected personal identification information.
This app allowed users to conduct business online while keeping their personal information hidden from unknown third parties.
The name had to speak to the product benefit but be distinctively different from the myriad of firewall and identity theft products currently on the market.
Privacy, Inc. also preferred a short, easy to spell, memorable name that related in some way to how the product worked. Words like identity, ID, security and privacy had to be avoided because of overuse.
We recommended the real word, Opaque. Opaque’s meaning conveyed how the software worked in a non-technical way. That is, you could see a person’s outline but not all the specific detail. The new name was relatively easy to say, spell and remember since it was a real word.
A Home Networking System
SMC, a provider of networking products thoughout Europe, had developed a new networking system to be sold in several key European Union countries. It was unique in that it allowed homeowners and small business owners with no technical experience to quickly and easily connect many appliances into a single network. SMC asked NameStormers for a name that incorporated the ideas of “variety” along with “quick and easy to use”.
Multigo was a short, snappy, quick read name that fit both requirements: “multi” as in “many appliances and connectivity options”, and “go” as in “on the go”. It also worked well in various European languages.
Jantzen was launching their swim line for the season and wanted a new brand that suggested it might make women look a little slimmer and more in-shape but still sound comfortable. Also, they were trying to make the online swimwear buying experience quicker and less painful.
NameStormers proposed Suits Me as one of many possible names. It was a short, familiar phrase and a play on words that increased engagement and catchiness. It related to swimwear, suggested a personal fit and worked well in the online environment.
Rosewood Sand Hill “is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and is one of the finest hotels near Stanford University. Situated on 16 acres of gardens and courtyards at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, guests are within easy reach of a diverse and rich choice of arts, entertainment and experiences to suit all interests.”
The authenticity of “sand hill” given the construction site and surroundings, as well as the name’s simplicity & understated elegance, helped in its final selection as THE name
Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ
Noble House Hotels & Resorts acquires existing properties in coveted locations around the United States, refurbishing and renovating them to meet their standards — upscale, yet accessible; sophisticated, but welcoming and whimsical.
After converting the two-star SunBurst in Scottsdale, Arizona, into a four-star luxury resort with a $9 million plus renovation, Noble House hired NameStormers to come up with a new name that would reflect the resort’s changed personality, which included lots of intimate spaces, charm, and warmth. Rather than the corporate feel of nearby properties, this new resort was designed for intimate gatherings. It had an authentic, yet not trendy, Southwestern decor with creative, eclectic touches and lush gardens.
The new name needed to invoke a complete experience and create emotional ties to the customer. It needed to relate to the senses in some way: the sight of the three-story fireplace, the smell of wood burning, the sound of running water from the fountains and water fall. It also needed to be mythical, unique and fun, but hint at intimacy and romance.
Ultimately, “Caleo”, (“to be warmed” in Latin), was chosen. It was distinctive and upscale, while still sounding friendly and inviting. Being short, fun, and easy to pronounce tipped the votes in its favor.
Cirrus Logic Semiconductors was rolling out a new family of chips to be used in MP3 players and other audio devices. The chip wasn’t just another boring, evolutionary next-step-up, but represented a breakthrough design when compared to what was offered by competitors.
New Family of Semiconductor Chips
Cirrus Logic asked NameStormers to come up with a name that would meet a variety of criteria including:
1) Appeal to the designers of the audio players and devices, mostly located in the Asian and Pacific parts of the world, who ultimately specified which brand of chip went in the devices.
2) Reflect the product’s position as a revolutionary breakthrough, not an evolutionary step-up.
3) Easy to spell, say and remember.
4) Tie back to the Southwestern United States where Cirrus Logic had its roots.
Maverick was the top choice because it met all these criteria. The term “maverick” brings to mind someone who is out trying new things, and perhaps coming up with cool, novel ideas. It was memorable and engaging, embodying the romanticized image of rough and tumble American cowboys and pioneers on the edge of the frontier that many of the Asian and Pacific target found very appealing.
Morning commuters are serious about their coffee. As the world’s largest convenience retail chain, 7-Eleven is serious about commuters, and therefore, their coffee.
They are serious about the names they give their coffee, too. For a new premium coffee blend they developed, they wanted a name that spoke to its great taste and high quality in a way that actually produced an emotional response, enticing even hurried customers to give it a try.
The new smooth coffee was a medium strength blend of Columbian, Brazilian and Central American beans. The new name needed to consist of only two or three words, but had to help differentiate from existing well known blends of key competitors. Especially coffee brands found in other convenience stores, fast food restaurants, donut or bagel shops, delicatessens, and coffee houses.
Heavenly Blend, the name 7-Eleven ultimately chose from the many NameStormers proposed, fit all of the criteria. It conveyed something smooth and soothing yet unique and divine. The absolute best. What could be better than something related to the heavens? Who could resist trying a “heavenly” cup of coffee?
Perhaps inspired by the name, 7-Eleven gave away cases of Heavenly Blend coffee to churches, Temples and other houses of worship over the winter 2008 holidays.
7-Eleven, Inc., the world’s largest chain in the convenience retailing industry, sells a lot of coffee. Their mission is “to consistently serve the changing needs of customers for their convenience.” It only makes sense, then, that they are continually developing additional coffee blends to meet their customers’ needs.
New products need new names. With the introduction of a rich, robust coffee blend, the kind usually offered only in coffee houses, 7-Eleven turned to NameStormers. They needed a name that would denote bold flavor and superior quality while evoking imagery of the high mountains of Central and South America.
South America … high mountains … large. Brazil, the largest country in South America. Brazil … brazen. Brazen … bold. Bold flavor. Brazilian Bold. The name 7-Eleven decided best fit its new blend, but just one of the numerous names proposed by NameStormers.