Wow, 2022 was a blur.
Compared to 2020 and 2021 (or because of?), this year flew by.
And that’s a good thing.
Getting back to a more normal state.
Being able to more easily visit clients, teammates and friends.
Feeling more optimistic about the world (despite lurking uncertainties).
2022 was also a great year for us — as individuals, as a team and as a partner to our clients and agency friends.
Here’s a recap of what happened.
More Amazing Clients
This year we have the chance to collaborate with brands across so many exciting sectors. We went deeper into industries we know well. We shed new light on entirely new landscapes of brands. We learned a lot, and are proud of the work that has — or will — hit the market soon. Here are a few areas we saw heat up this year:
2022 proved to be a wild year in the streaming wars. Rapid expansions followed by glum performance news, and equally rapid change-ups across massive players. We had the opportunity to work with a significant brand in the streaming space, helping them think through positioning and naming for a series of new brands likely to reach beyond US borders.
Fintechs are constant innovators. This year we focused on naming new fintech startups entering niche segments, payments of course being the most common link among them all. As interesting as naming in this sector is, it becomes more and more challenging by the month given the rising number of new entrants. We see this as an opportunity creatively to buck traditional trends in naming, and branding more broadly, so clients can stand out and ahead of competitors.
We have a legacy portfolio of gaming-related work, and love getting deeper into all sides of the industry — titles, platforms, accessories and beyond. This year we worked on several projects: one from a Korean giant soon to release a global P2P fantasy fighting game; the other a new-to-market startup that bridges fantasy sports, strategy and NFTs. We will certainly see more intriguing gaming brands come online in 2023.
More Tech Platforms
From career-focused technology and community platforms, to sleek marketing platforms, to real estate and iBuying platforms, even staffing... we created new names and brand language for a variety of new platform brands. Each industry has its own uniqueness, but given the proliferation of different types of platforms across all of our lives, we’ve seen brand owners value the power of a great name and a clear story to help them scale.
On several fronts, we saw digital consultancies go for significant rebrands. In each case, a legacy name was holding the brand and business back (in different ways, of course), and the path forward required retooling the very heart of each brand — its name. We saw this trend begin to emerge in 2021. Perhaps we’ll see more in 2023?
Other Cool Projects
Given our focus on naming and brand language, we are exposed to clients across all kinds of categories. This year was no exception. Notable new areas we touched included crypto (!), education, automotive, real estate, sports apparel technology, health and wellness, architecture and engineering, plus nonprofits focused on important issues that have a positive impact on our world.
New Work Going Live
Whether it’s creating an entirely new name for a new brand, or renaming an existing brand, we had a lot of names launch in 2022.
A few highlights include:
- Orium - Renaming a formidable player in composable commerce to reflect the future of the brand. This name channels a futuristic, cerebral vibe we’ve embraced in naming recently.
- Transpond - Renaming a marketing automation platform to tell a richer story and better connect with consumers. It has a more technical yet accessible feel that we’re seeing an appetite for in certain categories.
- Swoops - Naming an amazing new NFT-based basketball strategy game backed by Gary Vee and Alpaca VC. This moniker has a fun, energetic vibe that felt right for a number of new brand names coming out of 2022.
- Chestnut - Developing a go-to-market name for a VC-backed startup making waves in the financial and insurance advisors space. There’s a quirky warmth to this name that we think makes it stick.
Other faves include:
- RQD - Naming a clearing technology business and brand that spun out of Volant Trading
- Treewalk - Renaming an up-and-coming accounting consultancy to tell a fresh new story to clients and talent alike — it’s all about growth and finding one’s way
- Tend - Renaming a medical device from a technical, not-so-consumer-friendly brand name to a softer, gentler one
- Fello - Renaming an iBuyer in competitive markets to show how they’re putting agents back at the heart of real estate transactions
- Scholarus - Naming a holding company to tell a better story around a collection of education-specific brands
- Rainforest - Naming a fintech startup that is reinventing how software companies get paid and grow
- Curio - Naming a new children’s savings account and financial educational app for a regional credit union
- Ownership Works - Naming a new non-profit focused on revamping how companies and investors help employees reap the rewards of shared ownership
2022 was a year of exploration and creativity within Tanj as well. We’re particularly proud of two areas of focus.
Upping Our Content Game
As a smaller, independent agency, we’ve always struggled to balance our clients’ needs with promoting our own thinking and our own brand. In 2022, we rolled up our sleeves and heavily focused on creating new content and IP (thanks to Liz Yap for leading the charge! And Jill Stanewick for helping pump out great posts!).
Notable results include:
- Going from virtually zero to at least some engagement in social (yay!).
- Creating several new content properties for our blog. They include:
- Between Two Names - A new series that takes a lighthearted look at two brand names we’ve spotted in the wild. We contemplate, compare and contrast how names work, and what it means for you the next time you name a brand.
- Lay of the Land - These are sector-specific deep dives into naming, looking at trends and opportunity for brands in competitive sectors. We surveyed everything from EVs to Femtech.
- Releasing our first ever Brand Naming Review, which we published in late 2022 to take a look back at what happened with naming over the course of the entire year. We also made some predictions about what we think could happen in naming, and branding more generally, in 2023.
This month, Open.AI announced ChatGPT — the third generation of its chat-based AI. This took the tech industry by storm, and the same for our imaginations and curiosity. Given ChatGPT’s significant capabilities with writing and language, we quickly figured out that the platform could be a useful tool to explore within naming.
So during a 10-day sprint in late December, we built our first version of an AI-based naming tool built off the ChatGPT API. It’s called Chatnamer. You'll be able to access it from navigation menu on Tanj.co. Or just go directly to Chatnamer.com.
Why did we build a tool that could seemingly put us out of business? We’ll write more about this soon after the holiday. But the short story is… it’s fun! We would be foolish to not embrace new technology that clearly shows promise as a tool for our work. And while we don’t think it will ever be able to create truly novel, soul-stirring names like humans can, it’s still interesting to play with it and learn. Plus we like putting out some good vibes and new experiences into the world, so we have made it free for now.
Speaking of good vibes… Thank you so much for reading this far. From the team at Tanj, we wish you and your loved ones a safe, joyous holiday and very Happy New Year!
Scott Milano is the founder & managing director at Tanj.