What’s in a name? Considering the recently-revealed Tata Altroz hatchback has a fascinating story as to how it got its name, plenty. In today's competitive environment companies, products and services not only compete against each other but also look to carve out a distinct identity to achieve speedy brand recall in the consumer’s mind. Companies go far in order to connect with their target audience – they even search for names that help their brand resonate with a global audience.
Tata Motors' latest product, which is scheduled to launch in India later this year, has been named by two Romanian entrepreneurs — Andra Gutui and Marcela Sarmasan. The women founded Namzya, a specialised naming agency based in Romania, with a tagline ‘We name The Name’.
Describing Namzya’s journey to our sister publication Autocar Professional, Gutui said the founders, who share the same vision, ambitions and hopes, met seven years ago. “That’s why we started to work together mostly on branding and marketing projects. Two years ago, we started noticing that some of our clients were frequently requesting naming services from us. At the time, naming was only a small part from a bigger branding project. We enjoyed a lot working on different naming projects and we discovered that our naming process is unique globally. So, we decided to make a huge change: we stopped doing any other type of projects by risking everything and specialised only in naming.”
Explaining the traditional method of naming a new product/organisation/project, Gutui says that the most common thing was limited to brainstorming with family, friends, employees and neighbours, at least in the past.
“All the people were choosing some options, usually related to their own life and experiences. Names like their own last name, the name of the husband/wife/child/dog, the name of the birthplace and many other options strictly related to their own experience and past. Usually, these names meant nothing for their target audience, and nobody cared too much about this fact. Fortunately, things have started to change now. More and more companies are interested in creating names connected to the end user; the company’s general vision and mostly names that really mean something for future clients, for their employees and for their business mission. People care about the names and the companies have started to care too,” says Gutui.
Naming the Tata Altroz
For the young company, working with a global automotive player has been a dream. “We knew that someday we will create names that people will see on the streets every day. Fortunately, we managed to accomplish this dream earlier than we thought. This project (naming the Tata Altroz) was a very challenging one. We cannot unveil the strategy behind it, but for sure it was not an easy project. We had to create the perfect name for a sophisticated car, full of personality which, as the tagline ‘Urban Car Redefined’ says, is changing the way an urban car is produced and perceived. This is what Altroz is about: agility, performance, efficiency and futurism. Altroz is a name inspired by the magnificent albatross, an agile seabird that soars for hours and miles with minimum effort,” reveals Gutui.
Sharing some anecdotes from their recent work, Gutui says, “As an European agency, the cultural aspect and the language were the biggest challenges. While working on this project (Tata Altroz), we had to read a lot about Indian culture and the Hindi language. We had to create the perfect name that doesn’t have negative connotations and which sounds good in Hindi. The process took almost two months.”
The entrepreneurs say that for the project with Tata Motors, they researched and studied a lot on the automotive industry. “The general trend is to name the products based on codes or generic words. We truly believe that the companies which start to have a different approach regarding naming architecture and naming strategy of their product portfolio will gain a great competitive advantage. Names, compared to codes, have the power to create emotional engagement with clients, employees and other stakeholders, even in technical field. These days, if you do not create a connection with people around your brand, you lose," explains Gutui.
While Namzya has made its first stride in the automotive world, it is eager to work with the global industry. "We have presented our insights to some global players which will launch electric vehicles in the next few years and we have been chosen to name most of them. The best thing of being specialised only in naming and choosing some industries to work for, like the automotive industry in this case, is the fact that we gain so much knowledge that we can finish successfully any project in that industry, from classic vehicles, to electric vehicles, hypercars, components and so on," signs off Gutui.
The science of naming
Talking about the process of naming something new, Gutui says that the main challenge in their industry is to convince people that “naming is not an art”. She adds that the process is “not all about creativity. Most people believe that anyone can find a name. And that’s true. But naming is not an art. Naming is more a science than an art. Not everyone can create naming architectures, naming processes and methods to connect the new name with the business and emotional vision of the company. A name may be read by anyone. A perfect name will be remembered by everyone.”
In the automotive industry, she says the current trends they see are about “suggestive names with strong stories behind, (names which have) a good sound and (those that are) capable of making the buyer identify his/her personality with the new car model.”
Speaking about the timeline for projects, Gutui says the complex process lasts anywhere between four to eight weeks for Namzya. It involves identifying all the facts about the new brand – history, long-term vision, sales objectives, desired clients, brand positioning, a full profile of the target audience, and desired perception of the brand. This is followed by a complete analysis of the competition in terms of their names and position – finding the best naming directions, discovering or creating the story behind the name, finding the most suitable insights that help the new brand identify with certain naming criteria and creating the perfect names empowered by strong story-telling and future naming perspectives.
Tata Motors, which has recently launched the Harrier SUV in our market, will be looking to achieve the same level of success with the premium Altroz hatchback that models like the Tata Tiago, Tigor and others enjoy. Conceptualised under the Impact 2.0 design language, the Altroz is the first product to be engineered on the new ALFA (Agile Light Flexible Advanced) architecture. When it launches in India, the Hyundai i20, Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Honda Jazz rival will be available with three internal combustion powertrain options – two petrol and one diesel – along with an all-electric option later. The hatchback will also come with a premium and practical cabin that features a large touchscreen infotainment system and a part-digital instrument cluster. Tata is expected to price the Altroz quite competitively compared to its competition.