How we rebranded our B2B startup in 2 months

Mindsay Logo
Jul 8, 2019
Maud Ricateau
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3 years ago, we chose the name Destygo because we wanted a name that resonated with Travel and that respected the no-more-than-3-syllables rule. It took us about 1 to 3 hours to come up with it. At that time, we did not know exactly where we were heading.

Destygo did not define us anymore. It sounded like a B2C startup selling trips. Actually sometimes people would ask if "we knew good plans for the weekend with our chatbot." We did not have ONE chatbot but many and we did not do any direct sells with them...

We needed a new identity, one that would fit our mission. However, finding a new name and a new identity is a long and uncertain road. You need a compelling reason to change the name of your startup — it is challenging and risky if not rolled out in a smart way.

2 months, 548 slacks, 561 potential names and 42 scoring grids later, Mindsay sees the light. Finding a name suited for a B2B solution is not that easy. Here’s a sum-up of how we made it.

Mindsay Logo Evolution

A new name that reflects a new promise

Few startups find the rare gem at first try. If a facelift occurs, it will certainly happen around the series A (i.e approximately the third anniversary).
Souscritoo becomes Papernest, Hopwork becomes Malt, etc.

That should not come as a surprise. After many pivots, the new company is different from the initial one. 3 years ago, they were 3 founders and 1 intern looking for our first client. Many things have changed since then : 40 more people in the team, new investors, a self-learning technology that is reaching its full potential, 25 customers in various industries.

We’re not just a chatbot company anymore. We’re a conversational AI solution.

It was time to find a name that suited this new promise.
For those who don’t know us, Mindsay empowers brands to build better relationships with their customers by leveraging AI. We’ve built a conversational AI solution used by international brands like SNCF, Iberia, Disneyland or Accor.

"A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another." - Seth Godin

What’s a good B2B name ?

That’s true from a B2C perspective. Buying a smartphone, a car or a bag tells something of who you are. Buying a SaaS does not. B2B buyers are looking for relevancy and efficiency.

To find that kind of name, two approaches are possible:

  1. Trust some kind of oral and visual intuition: Stripe, Slack, Skype, Monday… something sharp & short that will eventually speak for itself once well marketed.
  2. Go for rationality and choose a name that’s a foretaste of what your user can expect. Your name starts explaining what you’re doing: Salesforce, Hubspot, Tableau, Segment…

We believed that a good branding does the job without explanation.

Vueling Bot in Action

There won’t be a “eureka” moment

We’ve been told this countless times. The agency that supported us with the creation and legal part kept saying it. Yet until the end we sticked to the idea that we might have a crush. It did not happen. Our rebranding has been a series of elimination from 561 to 1. Below was the methodology we used to find a name without love at first sight.

  1. Choose your task force
    The best way to go fast and not to get stuck is to build task force of 8 to 10 people. It should include: the founders, the designer, a facilitator (making sure each step goes forward) and one person of each team.
  2. Generate many (many many) names
    Since we decided that our name should reflect the problem we address, we started by choosing the 2 ideas we wanted to embody. Our 2 ideas were : Deep Understanding and Dialogue / Conversation . We started by generating names on our own. Yet we’ve quickly been limited. The names we found were either not that good or already taken by other companies.
    What we realized was that, despite our lack of creativity, there were patterns in the names we found : pieces of words coming back.
    We resorted to a Python script to mix & match all those words, prefix, sufix, synonyms to multiply and create new names we had not think of
  3. Kill most of them
    500 names. Eliminating the first 500 was quite easy. The random mix gives a lot of rubbish: Talktalk, Telltalk, NestOpen…
Company Name Voting
  1. Score and refine
    61 names. We got the names that passed the first filter. Now, the real work started, a granular scoring. How?
  2. skimmings: distributing good and bad points first. Each of us had 10 positive and 5 negative points to attribute. We only kept those above 0. Then a NPS skimming from “I love”to “I hate it”.
  3. Check if you can buy the domain name
    10 names. This step is crucial. We were guided by an agency. Be prepared to be disappointed. First, many names are either not available or legally too close of some other competitor. One of our top three finalist, “Deepgo”, was actually red flagged because of its proximity with both DeepMind and AlphaGo. It represented a long term risk and we did not want to debate with Google’s lawyers…
    Among our 10 last names, other were simply too expensive to buy. Getting the “.com” is important since people will intuitively look for you that way. Yet the bill can get really high. One of the name we really enjoyed was worth 50k€ which we could not afford even with a $10M series A.
  4. Make a story up for your finalists
    2 names... At this stage, we need to build a storytelling for each of them, as the choice becomes rather subjective. Behind every name, what matters is the story.
  5. Have people from different horizons vote
    Still 2 names. 2 names, 2 stories, first logos (The task force had a favorite). We need feedbacks, so we include our employees, investors, close friends & family members both French and English native speaking.

The winner name won’t be the one that gathered the most approvals, but the one that did get the least of negative feedbacks.

The feedbacks were explicit, especially the ones from native English speakers. At the end, it was what mattered most as our ambition was to grow abroad. Our winner was Mindsay.

There is no absolute rule on finding the right name but good guidelines and some advice can help. It’s a long process that needs effort but feels so good when adopted easily by everyone around you.

More to come on how we redefined our mission and values!

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