Longform blog – On branding
WHAT'S IN A NAME: BETA HATCH
When you are the founder of a startup, it's your baby. From creating a product or service to developing the framework to talk about your brand, early-stage entrepreneurs are entrenched in every aspect of the company. Like a parent, you need to pick a name that sets your progeny up for success. Effective B2C marketing is challenging enough, perhaps doubly when dealing with insects.
Enter Beta Hatch, a woman-owned startup located in South Seattle founded by Dr. Virginia Emery. The company concept intrigued us, so we ran the name through our extensive naming analysis.
Overview of Company
Beta Hatch is an agricultural startup that grows mealworms (or insect protein) for use in animal feed. They also capture the frass (waste) to sell as a nutrient-balanced fertilizer. That’s right, Beta Hatch grows darkling beetles with plans of selling the bugs and their poop to you to spread on your gardens.
Beta Hatch utilizes a descriptive, and quite literal, naming technique by combing two words from different disciplines. It has a playful twist in that it describes the stage of the company (in beta or prototype) and a lifecycle step of the product it produces (the hatch, which means “to emerge from eggs or be born”). Interesting sidenote, Beta also happens to be the name of Virginia’s dog.
Whether you can stomach it or not, there is a growing industry for insects as fertilizer. Competitors in the insect agricultural category include Enviroflight, AgriProtein, Ynsect, Protix, Enterra Feed and Entomotech.
Rating and Analysis — 2.5 Stars
Strategy: Quite frankly, Beta Hatch is strategically limiting. The average consumer probably won't purchase this product on name alone. Therefore, the company will need a clear market position and consumer-friendly messaging and packaging to stand out. And the word “beta” acknowledges that the product is still in a primitive state. Should Beta Hatch scale or expand into different bugs and products, the name won't reflect the full offerings of the brand without heavy lifting from messaging.
Concept: Within the category, Beta Hatch has one of the more interesting names. The layered meaning behind "Beta" gives it more impact than other names, and there is the potential for a conceptual presentation of the brand's larger promise in future logo design. For that we gave it one-half of a star.
Look: There is symmetry between the letterforms B and H, and it's easy to read the name at a glance because of its brevity. The natural space left between “Beta” and “Hatch” leaves room for future metamorphosis of logo design if the brand matures full cycle. Without careful consideration, a rigid and capital “H” may invoke visual dissonance when stacking the two words in a logo.
Sound: Audibly, Beta Hatch is straightforward and built on two strong syllables. You can take or leave the Beta, but Hatch ends with a bold, effervescent pop when you say the name.
Distinction: With proper positioning and design efforts, the name Beta Hatch will look at home in upscale retailers ranging from boutique gardening stores to Whole Foods. A logo redesign will be a key component in the success of the brand, but we added a star for not forcing a one-word name out of two combined bug terms.
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