Topic: Zinzin

New Clutch review by Zinzin client Éclair Naturals

A new Clutch review of Zinzin by our latest wonderful client, Éclair Naturals, has been posted to our Clutch profile page. Here is an excerpt:

“Overall, Zinzin was very easy to work with and collaborative, which I’ve found is not common in this space. … We were very pleased with the process and the result. We’re very happy with the name. I feel like I developed a friendship with Jay and the rest of his team. We definitely stay in touch, and we’re inviting them to our launch party.”
—CEO, Éclair Naturals (case study here)

In case you have not yet heard of it, Clutch, a company that we named (case study here), identifies leading software and professional services firms that deliver results for their clients, through the process of conducting extensive research interviews with the clients of said professional services firms.

Seven of our fantastic clients have been interviewed so far by Clutch researchers for reviews about their experience working with Zinzin, which you can read in full on our Clutch profile page, or download a nicely-formatted PDF of all our client Clutch reviews on our Resources page.

Zinzin founder speaking at Re:Design conference in Palm Springs

Re:Design Conference

Zinzin founder Jay Jurisich will be speaking at the Re:Design / Creative Directors conference in Palm Springs, CA, on Monday, November 3. He will be one of 24 featured speakers giving 15 minute talks followed by a 45 minute interactive dialog. Notes Re:Design:

The theme for 2014 is Adaptation: How we change (and what we change) has ever greater importance and ever greater meaning. Whether translating ideas from one medium to another, morphing old infrastructures into new platforms, or reinventing entire careers, adaptation is the choice between what becomes the future and what remains the past. RE:DESIGN/Creative Directors convenes designers, artists, writers, strategists, inventors and thinkers to explore and explain the role adaptation plays in shaping their creative practice, their clients’ businesses, and themselves.

Here’s what Jay will be speaking about:

Bacteria, Brands and Ballyhoo

The language of brands is the new avant garde, the rapidly evolving bacteria of culture. How the meanings of words and brand names mutate, adapt and evolve over time, and how chance, layering, distraction, humor, misunderstanding and chaos contribute to the mutation of language and the creation of transient poetry in the moment. Adaptation will be put into action as we discuss how adaptation has been put into action.

Here is the full schedule for the conference. Tickets to the conference may still be available. If not, but should you find yourself wandering around the California desert, stop in during the evening and say “hi.”

‘Raising McCain’: Not Your Mother’s Talk Show


NPR’s Michel Martin interviewed Pivot’s “docu-talk” host Meghan McCain recently. Here is a brief excerpt and you can read or listen to the complete interview as well as watch a clip of the program at Tell Me More.

Meghan McCain comes by her maverick credentials honestly. As the daughter of Arizona Sen. John McCain, she is no stranger to the political limelight. But that doesn’t mean she always agrees with her dad or Republican political orthodoxy.

It’s that unique perspective that is at the center of her new television show, Raising McCain. The newly launched Pivot network describes the program as a hybrid “docu-talk” show. Each episode features a different co-host and is filmed in a documentary style. But don’t expect crying on couches or gift baskets under the seat. She’s tackling topics like feminism; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; and young people in the military with an eye on her millennial target audience.

On her inspiration for Raising McCain

I’m such a child of the ’90s. I grew up watching MTV News and watching their “Choose or Lose” correspondents interview my dad. And I always thought they were such interesting, cool people. Tabitha Soren has had such a profound impact on my life. … I just wanted to do a talk show for young people that was discussing serious issues, but not doing it in a way that talks down to people that don’t have it all figured out.

On being an advocate for LGBT rights

You know I’ve never considered myself a journalist, ever. I’ve always considered myself a commentator. I mean I was born into a bias. … If someone wants to watch a more even opinion about coming out in America or gay rights, I’m not the girl for you. I have such a strong opinion. … What I’m always secretly trying to get is that young Republican kid in the middle of the country who is maybe struggling with how he feels about social issues and just knowing that there are other people out there that struggle with that.

On the government shutdown

The government shutdown right now — because we have this innate capability to compromise and work together — it makes me so sad. I don’t know when we’re going to this tipping point where hopefully things will come back around. But I was just talking to my father on the phone right before I came in here to do this interview and he’s saying that this is the worst time in Congress he’s ever seen in his entire career. I mean, what does that say?

On who is to blame for the current political climate

I blame cable news. I blame politicians as well. But at a certain point, I don’t understand some portion of the American public that supports radical personalities. I’ve never understood it. I always want to compromise, and I always want to find the other side of the opinion and see if I may be wrong. I’m open to my opinion being changed. I’m open to the idea that I could be wrong. And it’s just scary, crazy times that we’re living in. And Congress is a bunch of petulant children that can’t work together.

More: Read our Pivot Case Study.

Pivot TV, named by Zinzin, launches today

Pivot logoWe are excited to announce the launch at 6pm ET today of the new television network from Participant Media, Pivot, named by Zinzin. Pivot is a social action and general entertainment TV network for millennials, and is all about thinking on your feet, adaptation and informed change. The old ways of thinking and relating to the world aren’t working. It’s time to Pivot. Read the Pivot Case Study.

Coincidentally, today is the 32nd anniversary of the launch of MTV, which debuted on August 1, 1981. Less coincidental is that Pivot will launch with a new version of the video that MTV launched with, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by the Buggles. (Remember them? Of course you don’t — after all, they never became radio stars, and MTV stopped playing music videos long ago.) From an Entertainment Weekly story about the new version:

For its update, which celebrates a new generation’s creative power, Pivot recorded independent artists live all over Los Angeles, including Run River North, Goldspot, London Thor, Far and Away, Musical Mammal and Rainbow Jackson. Watch it below.

Here’s the new video:

The EW article continues with Pivot president Evan Shapiro, formerly of IFC TV and the Sundance Channel, discussing what’s to come on the network: the imported Australian comedy Please Like Me; Friday Night Lights; Little Mosque on the Prairie; TakePart Live; Raising McCain, hosted by Meghan McCain; Jersey Strong; and coming next year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRECord, and Will, an hourlong drama series imagining William Shakespeare in his early 20s. Check it all out, on Pivot.

And just for fun and sadistic reference, here is the original Buggles version of “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

The youth of today cannot compare with this — and that’s a good thing!

Follow this link to Find Pivot on TV in your area.

Zinzin news and updates

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.
~Charles Lamb

Happy April Fools Day! But no foolin’, here’s a roundup of recent Zinzin news and website updates:

pivot logo

New name: pivot (lowercase) is our name for a new social action and general entertainment TV network from Participant Media. Pivot is all about thinking on your feet, adaptation and informed change. The old ways of thinking and relating to the world aren’t working. It’s time to pivot.

Read the pivot Case Study.

Larky - perks rewards app

New name: Larky is our name for a company and mobile app that keeps track of all your perks and reward program memberships in one place. Larky plays off “lark” — a carefree or spirited adventure, harmless prank, or family of melodious songbirds — in fun, playful, singsong way, and also conjures up a “lucky” feeling.

Read the Larky Case Study.


New name: Gravy is our name for a hyperlocal event listings mobile app. Gravy is the good stuff, the “secret sauce,” a source for discovering all the juicy things going on around you. The brand embodies — and the new name demonstrates — a rich and flavorful experience.

Read the Gravy Case Study.

New CAN entries: We have added new entries to the Compendium of Amazing Names (CAN), with more to come soon. The CAN is where we highlight great company, product and services names, wherever in the world we find them.

Some recent articles:

Announcing our latest name: Gravy

We are proud to announce the launch of our latest name, Gravy, a hyperlocal event listings mobile app. Gravy is the good stuff, the “secret sauce,” a source for discovering all the juicy things going on around you. The brand embodies — and the new name demonstrates — a rich and flavorful experience.

Read the Gravy Case Study.

Announcing our latest name: Quandary

We are proud to announce the launch of our latest name, Quandary, for a UK-based content marketing agency that solves the paradox of companies that have become too busy to create the valuable content that made them busy in the first place. Read the full Quandary case study.

Stay positive!

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 14: You have to set a positive tone for this exercise right from the start – if you’re stuck in a miserable naming rut and the experience seems like torture, realize that you are doing something wrong, and change your approach.

Disrupt routine perception by slowing things down

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 21: The key to getting noticed in the turbulent sea of cultural messages is not to speed up, but to slow down. If your name can disrupt someone’s ordinary routine, they will stop and pay attention.

New additions to the CAN: Yelp and Fondu

New additions to our Compendium of Amazing Names (CAN): Yelp, the customer reviews website and app, and Fondu, a “social food experience” app and service.

New addition to the CAN: Lore

New addition to our Compendium of Amazing Names (CAN): Lore, which we named. A renaming project transforms an education service company into a powerful brand. (Lore case study.)

Lore lore: This week’s Lore news

LoreLore Repor: Our latest name to go live, Lore, launched this week, and the reception has been tremendous. Students now have a first-rate tool with an inspired and inspiring name to help them create and manage the 21st Century education experience, in college and beyond.

Here is a round-up of Lore reviews with excerpts.

Northwestern Business Review: Can Lore Revolutionize Education Through Social Networking?

The concept of the social network has revolutionized the job search, personal photography, and the way people share music. The founders of Lore, formerly known as Coursekit, are hoping that the way that students interact, with teachers and among themselves, is social networking’s latest disruptive innovation.

…Lore is a social network, and as such, its aim is to facilitate a conversation that goes beyond the classroom. With a course “stream” similar to a Facebook “wall”, Lore encourages students to share information related to the course that might not fit into a lecture. More specifically, students can post videos, articles, and study tips to the stream so that educators can capitalize on the sharing that is so deeply embedded in social networks. Lore imagines that these contributions would then be recorded to comprise one’s online profile, which they hope would follow students throughout their academic careers.

In an era when qualifying academic progress has gripped the educational community, a Lore profile could become a method by which both students and institutions measure progress in a substantive way. Academic achievements such as research papers and lab reports could likewise be made available to the public as potential credentials for graduate programs or potential employers. Lore, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other recent Internet sensations, is thus branding itself as a platform that gives individuals the opportunity to build their own brand.

PandoDaily: Coursekit is Now Lore: Rebrand Reflects Expansion Beyond College Courses, With New Investment from Peter Thiel

Coursekit is dead; long live Lore.

Launched in the middle of the Fall semester last year, academic social network Coursekit is already in use at more than 600 colleges. And even in its early days, Coursekit co-founder Joseph Cohen noticed adoption wasn’t limited to just college classes.

Belly dancing instructors use Coursekit. Bible study groups use Coursekit. General Assembly uses Coursekit. NYU professor Aswath Damodaran used Coursekit to teach his class to 3,000 people around the world. College students use Coursekit to continue engaging with classmates over the course material after the semester ends. People have thrown together hacks to use the site for things it wasn’t designed for.

Any smart founder knows what to do when that happens. You embrace it.

BetaBeat: Coursekit Is Now Lore; Peter Thiel Invests

In a brief phone conversation, Mr. Cohen told Betabeat that his team had come to feel the name “Coursekit” was too confining. He and his cofounders started the company while in school, as a way for professors to better manage their courses and for students to connect outside of the classroom. But since then, they’ve covered a lot of ground–they’ve dropped out, they’re at $6 million in venture funding and in 600 institutions–and along the way, their thinking has evolved. “Our vision is to be a platform for learning in whatever form,” whether a course-specific study group or broader school community, Cohen explained.

“We don’t think there are many inspiring brands in the area, and we want to be that,” he explained. “We’re looking to build a big company here, and we felt that our name was limiting.”

So why Lore? Well, there are the practical aspects: “It’s short, simple, sweet, but we could also fill it with meaning because not that many people use the word very often.” But the term also has bigger implications: “Lore means knowledge shared between people, which is what we do.”

Despite the name change and the seeming broadening of focus, Cohen refused to reveal any upcoming alterations to the offering itself: “As of today, we’re not announcing any product changes.” That said, “you should expect things to get better and bigger and evolve over time.”

Forbes: PayPal, Facebook Investor, Peter Thiel, Buys Stake in Lore

Joseph Cohen, Lore’s co-founder and CEO, said “As a name, Lore gives us freedom to grow, and reflects our belief that learning is about connecting people. We aim to build a lasting brand that inspires a spirit of learning.”

…According to Thiel’s statement, “The Internet is reshaping how people learn, and Lore is one of the companies making that happen. My course at Stanford is using Lore and we can see dynamics changing already.”

In an interview with Cohen, I learned that Thiel has about 250 to 300 students in his class and Lore lets students submit their assignments, lets Thiel see what students are discussing, and helps him with grading.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Coursekit changes name and logo

Its new logo consists of the product name arranged in a square formation within a red circle. “We love this mark because it has power through combining fundamental elements and represents our belief in changing norms — a square peg in a round hole,” the website reads.

…”We want to build a company that inspires the spirit of learning,” Cohen said, adding that the name change is “a long-term move.”

Cohen also noted the word Lore was “more abstract” and “it is not commonly used, so we get to inject our own meaning into it.”

See also our original Lore announcement post and the Lore Case Study.

Lore. Born April 23, 2012.


Zinzin is very proud to announce the birth today of our newest name: Lore, a re-branding of the online education and learning management service Coursekit. Lore is knowledge acquired through education or experience, shared between people and passed down across generations. Literally the body of knowledge, especially of a traditional, anecdotal, or popular nature, on a particular subject. Learning, knowledge, or erudition that transcends book learning. That which is known about a specific subject or situation: data, fact (used in plural), information, intelligence, knowledge. A body of traditional beliefs and notions accumulated about a particular subject: folklore, legend, myth, mythology, mythos, tradition. That which is known; the sum of what has been perceived, discovered, or inferred: information, knowledge, wisdom.

Lore starts with word-of-mouth, it ends with common wisdom. And lore isn’t just about ancient history. It can also be contemporary: film lore, music lore, sports lore. Whatever lore you’re talking about, it’s clear that people need and love their lore. And soon all college students and professors will too. Lore is the perfect name for a company that is changing the game of managing higher education, from courses to a sharing of knowledge between professors and students, and from student to student. Think of it as a powerful social network for learning.

And speaking of love, it is no coincidence that Lore is only one letter removed from Love. You can see this graphically in the fantastic Lore logo, with its echoes of the famous Robert Indiana LOVE painting (1966) and subsequent sculptures (beginning 1970). The LOVE series is nearly as iconic as Milton Glaser’s I(heart)NY logo, and a great way to at least subconsciously connect the service Lore provides with a feeling of love. The students and professors already using Lore certainly love it, but it also taps into the higher aspirations of love of learning, love of knowledge, and love of sharing knowledge. There’s a whole lotta’ love behind Lore.

Lore is the perfect name for this transformational company and service. It stakes its claim as the the one to beat in this growing market, and while competitors may offer alternate ways to exchange educational information, only one can ever facilitate the exchange of lore. More than information, more than data, more than the functional tools and building blocks of college education today, Lore can become the go-to network for the exchange of  knowledge, a very powerful idea.

Welcome to the world, Lore.

(Here is our case study for Lore.)

Focus on the brand positioning

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 12: The key is to focus on the positioning of your brand, and then look for names that best support that positioning, being careful not to filter out potential naming directions or, conversely, to allow anything and everything through.

Differentiate first with your name

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 18: It’s a very simple calculus: if your competitors are all doing the same thing, then you will stand out if you do something different. And the first and most visible point of differentiation is with your name.

Solutions are not the solution

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 25: When creating a brand name or any collateral messaging, avoid vacant, overused words like “solutions.” A quick web search will confirm that you can find a solution for nearly every problem, except perhaps for the problem of having too many “solutions.”

What are the epic stories behind your brand?

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 9: Which archetypes – The Hero, The Great Mother, The Mentor, The Guardian, The Herald, The Shadow, The Trickster – does your brand most closely align with? Discover the epic ideas behind your brand and they will lead to your unique story and positioning.

Watch out for naming experts

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 26:  Beware “experts” who cloak their methodology in the jargony garb of fancy proprietary “black box” naming “solutions.” Naming is hard work, and to do it right requires focus, passion and persistence, but rocket surgery it is not. If a consultant has a rigorous process for creating names, they shouldn’t be afraid to share that with the whole world.

Here comes Zinzin

Zinzin light drawing

Zinzin has emerged from the underground. After months of development, I am excited to announce the launch of the naming agency Zinzin and our new website at We believe in the emotional power of names, names that become art and poetry, not just commodities that nobody can remember. From a rigorous process, we create powerful product and company names to propel and differentiate brands beyond their competition. We want to set your brand free.

For the past nine years I have been the co-founder and creative director of the naming firm Igor, and have created Zinzin to expand into new directions and further advance my vision of the power of names. I have assembled a great team to help me realize this vision, and together we are driven to create amazing names for our clients.

I believe that the Zinzin website is now the deepest resource available for understanding the nuts and bolts of naming companies and products. The site includes a detailed Process section; the Naming Manifesto, which lays out our philosophy in numbered bites and will continue to grow; a rich Portfolio of the names we have created; a Press section with the articles we have appeared in; and our Blog, Observations (&Inspirations), where we will have an ongoing dialog about all issues related to naming, branding, art and culture. You can read about Our Story, Our People and Our Name, and Contact us if you’d like to learn how we can help you with your naming project.

Another feature of the Zinzin website is The Compendium of Amazing Names (The CAN), a regularly updated collection of the greatest and most powerful company and product names, as we see them, together with a brief analysis of why each is so effective. We created The CAN because we and others in the naming community often talk and write about what we think makes for great brand names, but other than a few examples, no larger sampling of such names has ever been assembled. Until now. We believe The CAN will be a great reference for understanding how mere names can be transformed into successful brands with stopping and staying power. The CAN is also a celebration, sort of a “Names Hall of Fame,” which will hopefully help us advance our larger mission of seeing the world filled with great names, no matter their origin.”

Our website also includes a Downloads page, where you can download our Naming Guides in PDF format, along with a nicely designed PDF version of the Naming Manifesto.

We are pumped up, excited about the future, and already helping clients navigate the adventure that is naming, on their way to achieving the ultimate goal: having a powerful brand name that propels itself through the culture and gives their marketing efforts an enormous boost for years to come. Zinzin has arrived.

Jay Jurisich
Founder / Creative Director

Zinzin name in light

[Image: that’s me drawing Zinzin with light, July 14, 2011 at the end of the mile-long Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon. 80°F above ground, 42°F in the cave.]

Naming the brand positioning

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 8: The positioning of a brand is the set of core messages the brand demonstrates to the world, through tone, personality, emotion and narrative…. You are not naming a company or product – you are instead naming the positioning of a company or product.