The Problem:

Unpronounceable name
Lackluster story
Needed a dot-com

“Sanskrit,” said K.V. Rao, “is the Latin of India.” He was explaining why the name Gnana had made sense for the sales CRM and analytics company in its early days. It was a common word — the Sanskrit equivalent to “know” in English — and easily pronounceable across the country.

In a global market, however, the name didn’t work. No one knew how to say it, including some of the company’s own employees. So when Gnana called us up, the naming bar was set pretty low: we needed to come up with something pronounceable. Easy enough. Then the bar inched higher: they asked that we consider only short names. Again, no problem: brevity and pronounceability tend to go together, and even if those characteristics narrowed the field, plenty of fertile ground remained.


Then came the kicker: it was extraordinarily important to Gnana that they procure a matching dot-com for the name. Combine that with length and pronunciation requirements, we told them, and the domain won’t come cheap. They told us they had the resources to get any domain they wanted (within reason). We got to work.

The Fix:

Turn to Latinate languages
Dramatize the sale
Get the dot-com

Because Gnana’s biggest problem was pronunciation, naming focused on Latinate languages, where vowels tend to have unambiguous pronunciations. Huge brands like Coca-Cola and Visa count on their Latinate names to be pronounceable across the globe — we wanted Gnana to enjoy the same benefit.

With the field of languages narrowed, we turned to objectives. Gnana replaces the data scientist most companies can’t afford, giving timely advice on managing customer relationships with a huge emphasis on managing and avoiding risk. We scanned for words that belong in high-stakes environments — the idea was to dramatize the idea of risk and advice-giving.

That’s how we found Aviso. It’s a word shared across French, Spanish, and Portuguese, where it refers either to advice or to a special wartime dispatch boat that carries essential tactical information to battleships. The name worked: it was short, it worked on the phone and in board rooms, and the dot-com was available.


Leadership liked how the name sounded over the phone, and while they liked the story, they were attracted to the name because it didn’t beg for explanation. It could be said, understood, and remembered without any background at all, and if the story came up, it was there for the telling: Aviso is timely advice that helps you win the war for new business.


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