Legal pressures to rename
Shifting business model
With descriptive names, your audience doesn’t have to work very hard. Take Microsoft, General Motors, or the Cheesecake Factory. There’s no guessing involved — which, from a branding perspective, is the safe route. And that’s something that SafeTrek knows a thing or two about.
So-called safe names are appealing to a lot of brands because they’re easy, but they’re also not very engaging, and they’re more likely to be in use by someone else. The latter is why SafeTrek came to us, not because their name hadn’t served them well, but because it was too similar to a major sports equipment brand who had sent them a cease and desist letter. So they needed a new name, and fast.
SafeTrek began as a safety app for students on college campuses, and it had since evolved into a widely used platform for anyone with a smartphone and a desire for peace of mind and personal safety. When they came to us, they were continuing to expand their business model — which included developing a serious backend and a set of APIs that could talk to other consumer devices beyond phones. Soon, they’d be partnering with major companies like Nest, Amazon, Google, and Fossil, allowing users to have all of their devices — and even their homes and cars — capable of alerting someone when they need help the most.
Casting a wider safety net would mean greater peace of mind for all users, and an emotional payoff to which a descriptive name just can’t do justice.
Avoid common safety terms
Focus on emotional impact
First and foremost, if SafeTrek was going to partner with some of the largest tech and ecommerce players, we knew this would be a high-profile name that they’d need to be able to confidently own. And beyond legal viability, the name needed to signal a bold departure from the other safety apps out there. For both of these reasons, terms like safe and secure were ruled out from the get go.
Noonlight offered an alternate, well-lit path towards the same themes as SafeTrek. By trading common safety terms for a more poetic and lesser-known word, we were able to communicate similar themes in a more thought-provoking way.
Meaning “the light of noon” or “the brightest daylight”, Noonlight describes a time of day when visibility is at its peak. When it comes to safety, few things are more reassuring than light and the heightened awareness it allows. Noonlight felt like a guiding presence — or illumination in a difficult or scary time. It captured the sense of relief we feel when we know what’s around us, and as a name, it extends that feeling across all hours and settings.
Since its rebrand, Noonlight has already permeated the press and solidified itself as a premier safety platform across devices. Sure, the name doesn’t tell you what it’s about — because it’s more effective for the brand to show you.
Another great naming case study is just around the corner. See what else we’ve done and the fantastic partners we’ve worked with.