Shoes of Prey co-founder Jodie Fox reveals the surprising way the brand found its name – StartupSmart

Online retailer Shoes of Prey went through a lengthy process when attempting to find the perfect name for its business, but it was a set of surprising ingredients that inspired the now well-recognised brand.


Wine, sushi and a group of close friends were what it took to find the winning name, according to co-founder Jodie Fox.


Fox shares these insights in the latest video posted on her YouTube channel.


“Naming your company is up there with being as challenging as coming up with the idea,” Fox says.


“It’s got to really present the essence of your brand, it’s got to be memorable, easy to say, it’s got to be something where the domain name is available, it’s got to be good for SEO and SEM, I mean that’s a lot to think about.”


Fox describes the process as “tough but fun” and in the video shares the steps she and her co-founders went through, which involved always keeping front of mind the brand names they loved and why they loved them.


“Usually it was that they were easy to remember and we loved the way they felt when you said them,” she says, reeling off brands such as Mimco, Google and Zappos.


“And often we found ourselves being really drawn to things that were relevant in a clever way. On the very practical side of things, we all kept our laptops really near by to us so we could check the domain and business name was available as we came up with ideas.”


Fox says the Shoes of Prey team went through three phases of brainstorming, starting with developing what she calls the businesses “brand insight” of women being “predators of couture”.


“We then broke this down into a series of territories. These territories were an actual name, like Michael for example; something that related to design; something with respect to hunting; myths legends; and a play on words that were related to shoes,” she says.


But after that first stage, the team had not come up with a name for the business.


So the next step was searching for methods that could help and the they chose was the Igor Naming Guide.


The Igor Guide goes through several steps, including conducting a competitor analysis – “if all your competitors are going down one particular path, then it’s pretty easy for you to start to differentiate” Fox says – and suggesting that you don’t name your business as a description of exactly what your business does.


“A business name will always appear in the context of your business so let your name do its work in other ways,” Fox says.


The Igor Guide also recommends using rhythmic and evocative names, while also being mindful that what is being evoked by the name fits with what the business does, and consider using taglines to add to the name.


But Fox says even after using the guide, her team still had not come up with a name.


So they decided to go back to basics.


“After we had amassed all of this information from the previous two phases, we did what we needed to do,” she says.


“We got a whole lot of wine, some good friends, sushi, and we sat in the courtyard for a few hours and threw ideas and words and phrases back at each other.”


“And then my good friend Lisa who I knew in advertising days put her hands to her temples and just blurted out ‘shoes of prey’ and I said ‘oh my god, that’s it’ and we fell in love with it instantly.”


Fox says even after choosing the name there was still more work to do, including market research.


Eventually Fox says the business decided “we needed to give this a go”.


“It is very difficult to come up with a name and put your whole heart into it … we needed to see it come into its own context and life by putting it into market,” she says.


“It’s very difficult to describe but we come to accept brand names when we know what they stand for by their actions.”


Watch the video below to learn more about the process Shoes of Prey went through to develop its name.



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