This is part one in a series of three blog posts called "The Melody Fusion Story."
At Infront Webworks, we've been building websites for 18 years. Over this time, the company has grown and changed significantly. These days, we don't just build websites; we design them, build them, optimize them, and market them. Late last year, we began work for a new client that has one of the more ambitious projects we've seen: they wanted to create an online community for musicians where people can upload their songs, share information about the band, and sell their music online. Since it's still under development, we can't give away all their secrets, but I wanted to share our process for helping them brand the website and choose the right domain name.
The client is a company based out of Australia, and the company name is "RedVox Pty Ltd." Their initial thought was to call the website "RedVox" just like their name. That was a perfectly reasonable idea, but since this was going to be a website that we would be marketing heavily once it's launched, we started digging into the marketing process and decided we may have some confusion with a name like that.
As a marketer, I had four initial concerns: 1) the name sounded very similar to "RedBox," which is a DVD rental service in the USA, 2) when you say "RedVox" out loud, a bystander may think he's just heard you say "Red Fox," which causes confusion, 3) the domain www.redvox.com was already taken, and 4) there was nothing in the name that immediately told you what the website was about. All of these could potentially cause confusion, and confusion is bad for marketing.
Knowing this, we asked them what the reasoning was behind the company name, and were happy to find out that they'd chosen it simply because they liked it as a company name, and they weren't married to the idea of using the same name for their website. The thought behind it was very simple: red was just a color that the partners all liked, and "vox" is Latin for "voice" which is a musical term of sorts. When we brought up our concerns about the marketability of their name, they were very gracious in saying "Ok. That makes sense. Can you help us come up with a better name?" What a great response! Our marketing team was just given a really fun challenge. We were going to be able to work on branding a musical service from the ground up. How cool is that? Rarely do we get to help clients decide what the name of their service is going to be—normally, we're brought in long after those decisions have been made.
We decided that since the company's name was going to be so heavily intertwined with the domain name, we'd have to do some serious research to choose the right domain. Because of this, we had the ability to be creative, but had to work within the confines of finding an available domain name, which is not an easy task in 2012! Most of the domain names we could think of were already reserved, so we had our work cut out for us. We went about it in a methodical and collaborative manner: we had five different people on our staff create a list of all the relevant musical terms they could think of, and then we met with each other and compared notes.
There was a lot of crossover between our lists; most of us had independently come up with the same musical terms. This was a great sign! We then went over all the different terms and discussed all the associated imagery we could think of for each term, and asked whether it helped us or hurt us. For example: the term "stage" is musical, but has connotations of performing music, not necessarily sharing recorded music online. We scratched off all the terms that had too much baggage or were too technical. For another example, "treble" is a highly musical term, but was just too technical for our marketing purposes.
We then combined as many of these unique musical terms we could think of with other adjectives and nouns to create 2,800 different mashups. We had to keep in mind that these word combinations with integrated musical elements and imagery would have to be easy to to create a brand with, including a logo (which was our next step). (Note: I didn't want to be responsible for creating a brand name that would be impossible for Amanda, our Designer, to create a logo for!)
From our list of 2,800 names, we spent hours whittling it down to what we decided were the top 100 potential matches. We had to consider the words themselves, the meanings behind the words, the way the words looked together, the way they sound when you say them out loud, any possible ways you could mishear or misspell them, and more.
We also had some technical criteria for choosing the domain name. We decided that whichever domain we ended up with needed the following:
- Must be a .com domain
- Must be available (one that isn't registered, or "parked")
- Must be relatively short (ideally 15-20 characters)
- Must not contain any hyphens
- Must not sound like a knockoff of an existing brand (example: www.etunes.com)
- Must not contain—or sound like it contains—an apostrophe (example: www.musician’splace.com vs. www.musiciansplace.com)
- Must not be hard to spell or easily misheard
- Must not have an unintentionally “dirty” URL (Example: www.musiciansexchange.com can be read as either "musician's exchange," or "musician sex change")
- Must not already be branded in search engine results
After filtering out all the domains that didn't work, here were the final 10 that followed our rules:
So we sent the list to our client, and waited to hear back. I must say, I was pretty nervous. After all this time we'd spent, what if they didn't like any of our ideas? What if they sent us back to the drawing board? What if they felt like we'd wasted their money? We presented them with the options via a conference call, and then waited for about a week while they thought it over.
When we called them the next week, I imagined a drumroll as they said "the winner is... www.melodyfusion.com." Whew! I was relieved. They liked one of them! And they'd decided! It was official—we had a brand!
We asked them how they went about choosing the final name, and they told us their process: they had all looked over the list right away, and scratched a few names right off the bat. From there, they spent several days stewing on the rest. They repeated the names out loud, asked their kids what they thought, asked themselves which one they could imagine seeing printed on t-shirts and other merchandise, and weighed each to see which they had the most confidence in. Slowly, they took each name off the list, one by one, until they had three finalists and then decided on the winner: MelodyFusion. MelodyFusion it was!
It fit all our requirements, it had a musical name, the domain was available, it was easy to say, and it wouldn't be hard to spell. After we got off the phone with the client, we then joked with each other about how we were now able to start working on the project... and that was right! We'd only taken step one, (or step "zero" in a sense). Now we could actually begin designing a logo, designing the website, developing the website, and then marketing it to potential customers.
Because this website is still in progress, we'll keep you up to date as it happens. Next up: "Designing a Logo." (Coming Soon)