It may seem like a simple name: Keysight Technologies. It couldn't be that hard to come up with. Right?
There were 4,500 contenders when Agilent Technologies executives began the hair-splitting process of choosing a new name for its electronic measurement division, which will be spun off into a new company later this year.
On Tuesday, Agilent announced it had selected a name for the company, which will be based in Santa Rosa.
The new name had to convey a message. It had to be easy to pronounce. And it had to be a name that wouldn't cause unintended embarrassment when translated into another language.
So that long list of creative ideas was hacked down quickly after the many monikers were checked for website availability, possible trademark violations, and the potential of unflattering translations in dozens of other languages. A pile of about 30 survivors remained.
“Picking a standard, off-the-shelf word is almost impossible,” said Ron Nersesian, the Agilent executive who will become CEO of the new company. “The first thing was to really figure out what do we stand for as a company, and to really understand what our values are.”
So Nersesian tasked Mike Gasparian, vice president of marketing for the electronics measurement division of Agilent, with assembling an international name-vetting team within Agilent and finding an expert to help tag the budding company, which traces its roots to Hewlett-Packard.
“The internal naming team was multi-regional, cross-functional, cross-level and multi-generational,” Nersesian said. “I wanted to make sure we had people who were relatively new employees as well as people who were very seasoned represented.”
A day or two after Agilent announced the spinoff in late September, Gasparian got on the phone with Laurel Sutton, principal at Catchword, a naming company in Oakland that he'd found through his research. Sutton drove up to Santa Rosa and the naming team debriefed her on the company and what it wanted to convey.