I went from a “company” everyone knew by its initials alone, “CIA,” to a made-up composite word people loved to pronounce with a French twist, “Knoema,” to one that is spelled informally without the second a, “Artifcts.”
You may wonder, perhaps with a hint of exasperation, why, oh, why do companies deliberately misspell their names?
Trends in naming come and go. For a while you saw 'x' replacing letters, like Spanx. You’ve also seen the small first letter theme, like eBay or iTunes, matching the brand name with its means of distribution, as in e-electronic or i-Internet
You likely know many companies that have opted, like Artifcts, to exclude or replace vowels, e.g., Flickr, Lyft, Tumblr, Sweepr, and Swype. Even conferences have gotten in on the game; THRIV and HLTH come to mind.
We asked Maureen Longoria, Co-founder and CEO of LivNow Relocation, another startup from the AARP AgeTech Collaborative, about her brand’s missing vowel. “That’s kind of a funny story. We started out as Live Now Relocation. We soon realized people were calling us ‘LIVE’ like ‘a live concert’ rather than ‘LIVE’ like ‘I’m living my best life'. We dropped the ‘e’ and combined the words to become LivNow, because we want to help people live their best lives by helping them get to a senior living community.”
There are a myriad of other reasons for unconventional spellings, too, including:
- Appeal and intrigue to the curious, playful, imaginative, and young/young-at-heart
- Securing and enforcing a trademark
- Reinforcing the brand, and this is where Artifcts especially shines.
The Missing ‘A’ of Artifcts
Choosing the name Artifcts was an intentional element of our strategy back in the winter of 2020/2021 to reinforce our brand feel and purpose, serving as the lighthouse for all we do: artifacts (aka ‘stuff’).
Artifcts also rolls off the tongue when verb-ified, helping us to emphasize this is not just a product, it’s a way of life. We are Artifcting daily. It’s in our hearts, homes, and habits. Artifcts make our lives richer, more connected-more meaningful, and set ourselves up for less-burdened futures.
Unique Brand Names Can Also Be Uniquely Problematic
We went in eyes wide open to the challenges our brand name would create, although we admittedly thought we could tackle them a bit faster than has proven viable. Chief among those is the disregard of Google for startups and anything outside the norm, including brand names.
Simply stated, Google hates us.
Google insists on autocorrecting the spelling of our name. And this need not be the case! Crunchbase plays nicely; you can easily look us up there. Someday, when everyone knows and loves us already, Google will rethink its anti-startup ways.
Until then we have no choice but to bid on Google Ad Words for our own trademarked brand name or rely on people clicking, “Search instead for Artifcts.” I do this anyway, every day, all day for my searches for other companies, people, and more, so it’s second nature to me. But not all people are so vigilant. Why can’t Google learn faster?!
We humans naturally, mentally autocorrect.
Without a second thought, our brains fill in the rejected 'a.' Thinking 'Artifacts' still grounds you to our core concept of ‘stuff,’ but it can also mean that you suddenly find yourself thinking, “Wait, what letter was missing?”
We know the feeling.
And we’re leaning in to celebrate our rejected ‘a’ and help anyone who maybe can’t remember. Enjoy this playful surprise from all of us at Artifcts, A-r-t-i-f-c-t-s.
© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.