Everyone wants to be the next Uber. The next Airbnb, Google, or Pinterest. In the hyper competitive and explosively dynamic world of tech, having a strong name is essential to establishing relevance, securing funding and achieving mainstream adoption. Unfortunately, many tech startups fail to give the naming process the attention it deserves, and the resulting names are often predictable, nonsensical or just plain forgettable.

After taking a closer look at our own name and that of a brand we greatly admire, we’re turning our attention with this series to a high-promise  brand that could use a little help: ReachNow.

Overview of Company

ReachNow is a car-sharing service and a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW. Once you’re a member of their service, you use their app to find, reserve and unlock the car. It’s positioned as “BMW’s Premium Car Sharing Service,” meant to make renting a car convenient, fast, stylish and fun.

Naming Technique

ReachNow relies on the straightforward technique of combining two shorter words. This technique is fairly common both in and out of the tech world, but the ReachNow name is unique in that the first word is a verb rather than a noun.

Competitor Names

The car sharing economy is quickly growing, with a number of direct competitors to ReachNow including ZipCar, Car2Go, Maven, Turo, Getaround and WeCar.

Rating System Scorecard

Rating & Analysis – 2 Stars

Strategy: The name ReachNow was clearly developed in line with the brand’s promise to the customer: a car within reach, whenever you want it. In fact, CEO Steve Banfield has even described his company’s mission as providing on-demand mobility in an urban environment. It’s an interesting concept and a serviceable brand promise, but the name sets the company up for failure if scale is not achieved quickly on a local and national level. Failure to scale could cause the name to backfire and become a punchline for consumers, much in the way shoppers mock oxymoronic brands like luxury furniture retailer Design Within Reach.

Concept: As a name, ReachNow feels highly aspirational and hints at the potential for service line expansion in the future. If this is the direction the company is headed, there is certainly room for the name to become more relevant as the brand matures. However, the concepts of “within reach” and “right now” feel totally removed from the premium positioning of the manufacturer whose name is associated with the service. If ReachNow wants to lean on their association to BMW as an elite brand, their name should be reflective of the same brand values and promise: excellence in design and luxury finishes. This misalignment is the biggest miss from our perspective.

Look: Sadly, there isn’t much to comment on here. The look of this name is like a gangly teenager. The “hN” in the center of the name makes for an awkward visual juxtaposition. There’s also unnecessary visual noise along the top of the letterforms, which rollercoasters from uppercase to lowercase. Overall, ReachNow lacks visual appeal and eye fluidity, important marks of a memorable name and logo.

Sound: Another unfortunate strike for the ReachNow name is its aggressive and uncomfortable sound. The name utilizes two hard-edged consonants back-to-back. Whether intentional or not, the harshness of the pronunciation has a Germanic quality with the “ch” in the center, creating a rather dissonant affect. ReachNow is not pleasing to say and has a rather unpleasant mouth feel, making it one you don’t want to say repeatedly. Bad for employees, bad for customers, bad for brand.

Distinction: In the context of its competitors, ReachNow does stand out. We’ll give it that. It’s the most aspirational of the names in its category, and one of the only ones that doesn’t make an obvious reference to vehicles. With an updated logo and visual identity, ReachNow could create a stronger connection to its category and soften the harsh visual and verbal qualities of its name. 

For now, the logo and graphic elements involve a series of pentagons and hexagons in random patterns. There is work to be done with this young brand to align the vision of the company to the name and the opportunity in the market. ReachNow is far from perfect, but ripe for rebranding.

Britt Stromberg

Strategy Director

Britt Stromberg is the Co-Founder of States of Matter and our Director of Strategy. When you put your business and brand in her hands, she will think crazy carefully, listen to her gut, sleep on it—then do the research to be certain.

Filed under: What's in a Name?

Tagged with: Naming, ReachNow, Tech