Did Apple go Wrong With the iPhone’s Naming Structure?

There is no doubt that the received opinion so far is that Apple’s iPhone naming structure has gone off the rails. Following the latest introduction of an ever more confusing hierarchy for the public to contend with, indeed many Apple devotees and customers are in despair. For the purists, the most loyal and those with long memories the worry is that the new structure signifies a regression to pre-1997 naming trends.

An Incredibly Complicated Naming Structure


Here we will take a brief look at the current portfolio and review the new naming convention.

Apple’s 2018 line-up is certainly more complicated than ever before, with three phones being released at once in a way that Apple has not done before. The portfolio includes an updated version of the iPhone X, a bigger version of that same phone and a cheaper model that sits in between in terms of size whilst leaving out many of the more premium features.

Until now Apple’s iPhone naming system progressed on a relatively obvious route of simply increasing the number in a phone’s name, or adding an “s” to it. But this is changing:

The 2018 line-up


  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • What happened to the iPhone 9??
  • iPhone Xs
  • iPhone Xs Max
  • iPhone XR

This is a staggering, and confusing number of a phones from a company that in recent times (pre Tim Cook perhaps) that prided itself on simplicity of offering.

‘You can’t be serious’


From a brand naming perspective there are several very real issues that could arise from the current naming format, beyond any confusion from the absence of a logical or meaningful structure to the new portfolio of handsets.

First is the iPhone XS, an updated version of the current iPhone featuring much of the same design. This name is a little confusing – Apple would have the “X” pronounced “10” (perhaps providing a link to the previous numerical system – but that does beg the question ‘what happened to number 9?’.) In addition with the iPhone XS the ‘S’ is to pronounced as a letter. Which, when spoken in the English language – ‘Ten-S’ – sounds like ‘iPhone Tennis’, a very sporty connotation.

This – in addition to the well documented most direct and obvious association to ‘excess’ that comes from XS. An altogether interesting association to make for one of the most expensive mainstream phones in the world. Not to mention the universally understood XS as a mnemonic for something ‘Extra Small’!

If we move on from the John McEnroe of mobile phones (small, excessive and into tennis) to the other names in this range, we see the iPhone XS Max and XR, which bring further confusion rather than providing any clarity.  A XXX, X-rated handset could not be far away.

What Happened to Simplicity of Naming?


There are plenty of solutions being offered far and wide, but perhaps reverting to something simpler like the existing pre-2018 naming structure would help to bring control and build equity. Clearly an iPhone 9 and iPhone 10 would provide that continuity.

Beyond that, the obvious solution would be to use a similar nomenclature system to that adopted by the iPad and iPod, using screen size as the main identifier via letters or the use of ‘Pro’ and ‘Plus’. But the obvious difficultly is that people hang on to phones for longer and Apple’s annual release is impeded by the selling of these older models, which increases the number of handsets available and necessitates a simple and eloquent naming structure – something that is missing in 2018 – so far..


Do you Have a Consumer Naming Challenge?

Contact us to discuss it further or take a look at our consumer naming case studies.

Gene Therapy – the future of drug development

In a significant move for the future of drug development, regulators recently approved a new gene therapy for one of the world’s largest drug companies GSK.  Strimvelis was granted approval for the treatment of a rare disease called ADA-SCID, which leave babies without a fully functioning immune system and vulnerable to infections.

This is the first approval for a genetic therapy granted to a large multinational drug company and will mark the beginning of many more genetic medicines from the ‘Big Parma’ group over the next few years.

// Gene therapies aim to cure a disease by introducing healthy copies of the gene into the patient, with the key benefit that it only needs to be given once and can therefore provide a potentially permanent cure. There are hundreds of inherited disorders from cystic fibrosis to blindness that can benefit from this, as well as the potential to utilise gene therapy within Oncology and other disease areas. //

The name Strimvelis was developed for GSK by Origin.   Strimvelis is strong/confident sounding with a re-assuring tone, suggesting hope, adaptability, superior results and better disease management.

Gene therapy is an area that will no doubt receive much of the spotlight in the future, from development through to pricing/re-imbursement, the impact that it will have on Big Pharma has the potential to be revolutionary.

Diabetes naming insights

Far from static, the diabetes market place appears quite dynamic with new innovations and challenges to the status quo currently in development.  From new formats to new drugs and superior delivery/dosing options.

There is considerable activity across the industry in the push to provide solutions that can control and stabilise this disease.

Yet, diabetes control is still an unmet need with massive potential, a global problem compounded by the fact that some large markets are currently not fully diagnosed or receiving adequate treatment.  A report in 2012 revealed that China has the world’s largest diabetes population of 92 million with a significant number of people thought to be undiagnosed.

The debate about the best treatment cascade continues, largely driven by the 2 main players NovoNordisk and Sanofi, focusing on earlier use of long-acting insulin, increased use of GLP-1 analogues and new/better combinations of insulins or insulins and GLP-1s.

Recent launches include the GLP-1s Victoza and Lyxumia respectively.  Combination treatments are not far behind and will bring increased benefits and options, providing better control and disease management.


The short term is also likely to see continued advances in traditional delivery methods; finer needles, pain free injections, fewer doses, increased convenience, more tailored/accurate dosing and measuring.  Continued investment and visible results will re-enforce the development of newer and better insulins, GLP-1s and superior combination products with more focused benefits for the patient.

Novel modes of action including SGLT2 inhibitors that work by inhibiting a protein in the kidneys that allows glucose re-absorption into the bloodstream without increasing insulin secretion.  They are distinct from other diabetes treatments as they work independently of insulin.

The development of biosimilar drugs as a number of long-established insulin products come off patent.

Alternative approaches such as Janssen’s portfolio of small molecules and biologics designed to regenerate insulin producing beta cells, hoping to target the cause rather than symptoms of the disease.

Long term innovations may see an increase of diverse modes of delivery from oral to inhaled powder. Despite the failure of Exubera other developments in this area include Afrezza.  Not forgetting the potential for existing drugs to extend their lifecycle through successful transition into other treatment areas (such as anti-obesity).

Therefore, now more than ever, launching with a strong, distinctive brand within this area has become essential in order to create differentiation in the mind of the patient as well as the physician.

The future of drug discovery…

Early in 2012, Margaret Chan the director general of the WHO delivered a speech indicating that the pharmaceutical and by implication the world as we know it, is currently at a significant crossroads in terms of medical development and drug discovery.  Pointing to the potential end of a ‘golden age’ of discovery as we slip into a barren post-antibiotic age.

The speech detailed the increasing resistance of bacteria to anti-biotics, the infection battling drugs that have been, in many ways, the foundation of modern medicine since their discovery.

Without which common infections such as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again become fatal.  In addition routine operations and medical procedures/treatments that depend on antibiotics to fight attendant infections, could become impossible, from hip replacements, organ transplants and neo-natal care to chemotherapy.

‘If current trends continue unabated, the future is easy to predict,’ she told us.  ‘Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era.  No.  This will be a post-antibiotic era.  A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it’.

She outlined different approaches to reduce the threat but was nevertheless adamant that these, in isolation, would not be sufficient.  Measures include; increased hygiene, awareness, containment and perhaps most of all, considered and appropriate use of antibiotics.

Another significant measure that was further discussed in a speech given in December concerning ‘Biological Security’ included the need for accurate and efficient monitoring and the reporting of disease patterns on a global basis.  The threat from highly infectious diseases being a specific concern.

The challenge for the Pharmaceutical industry

The unprecedented rate of mergers and acquisitions over the last two decades has led to an inevitable consolidation of many companies, each with original ideas, different pipelines and diverse approaches.  This has certainly created many advantages through scale and a sharing of knowledge/ideas.  But it has also meant fewer people working on fewer ideas.  An indication of this could include the FDA approval rates for antibiotics, between 1983 and 1987 – 16 new antibiotics were approved, yet between 2008 and 2012 only 2 have been.

This represents a huge challenge for the pharmaceutical industry and the response will be of much interest and debate not just in 2013 – but for the foreseeable future.

In these austere times with reduced budgets and reduced returns on investment, the old drug discovery model will continue to undergo change.  Perhaps Margaret Chan’s statement can be more positively framed as a warning, a call to action, in which the future of drug discovery is less black and white.  By creating a model that can adapt and with appropriate support and regulation, the present challenges being faced, not just by anti-microbials, but throughout the industry are not insurmountable.

Scary Brand Names & Linguistic Blunders

Scary Brand Names & Linguistic Blunders A name that works in some languages may be totally inappropriate in others.  From an English speaker’s perspective, a Bimbo Sandwich, Frog’s Piss Red Wine or Aftertaste Perfume do not appear to be winners! 

View this document on Scribd

For lots of examples of great brand names created by Origin click here!

We feel it is critical to test your potential brand names from a linguistic point of view.  This not only ensures that the name works but also provides you with a deeper understanding of how the brand name works in various languages.

Please contact us if we can help with any naming or design challenges you may be facing. We guarantee you won’t end up with a funny brand name.

Thanks to all of you who sent us examples for our collection. Please keep them coming.


Is there value in developing new brands for biosimilar products??

Branding biosimilar products

Growing importance

In February, 2012 the FDA released three draft guidance documents on biosimiliar product development designed to assist the pharmaceutical industry in developing such products in the USA.

In May the EMA published two documents, detailing how Pharmaceutical manufacturers should develop biosimilar drugs with a focus on those containing monoclonal antibodies.

The first of these: ‘The guideline on similar biological medicinal products containing monoclonal antibodies – non-clinical and clinical issues’ covers how biosimilars using these antibodies should be developed.  The second: ‘The guideline on immunogenicity assessment of monoclonal antibodies intended for in-vivo clinical use’ looks at how patients’ own antibodies react to the drugs and potentially reduce their efficacy or even produce serious side effects.

The recent activity and attention does highlight an area which will gain in relevance and importance over the next decade as more and more patents begin to expire and with more products at various stages of the development pipeline, the number of therapeutic areas catered for by biosimilars will increase steadily.

A biosimilar is defined as a biological product that is highly similar to, or interchangeable with, an already approved biological product, but not the same as its respective reference product.

Unlike traditional generics that follow most prescription drugs made through chemical processes and due to their relative complexity, biosimilars represent a separate regulatory class of medicines to small-molecule generics.

In North America some companies want the FDA to make sure that biosimilars are uniquely identified and labeled to facilitate accurate tracking and tracing in order to minimize risk. Suggestions include names sharing a common root but having an unique suffix and/or prefix to denote biosimilarity and interchangeability.

Value in developing new brands?

On the one hand there is logic in arguing that the need to rebrand, develop a unique name or even an alternative INN for each biosimilar would simply cause confusion.  Yet on the other – there could be a certain amount of value in creating a similar name in terms of look and feel or indeed a modified variant of the existing INN that would enable differentiation and possibly bring enhanced value and equity to the manufacturer.

Despite the parameters yet to be firmly defined and agreed upon and the still somewhat uncertain regulatory and legal environment in many countries and regions. This area is sure to be one with huge potential.

How BP’s targetneutral brand is reducing the Olympic’s carbon footprint.

BP asked Origin Brand Consultants to create a brand for their CO2 neutralisation scheme for road transport.  Origin created targetneutral, something Olympic goers are seeing a lot of!

Read Origin’s Case Study Click Here

As the Official Carbon Offset Partner for the Games, BP is raising awareness about the impact of emissions from travel, and are encouraging Olympic attendees to rethink their travel choices to London 2012 and beyond.

Joining them in achieving this goal are the following London 2012 Partners, National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees. These partners are offsetting all or part of their carbon emissions from London 2012 activities.

Is it possible to obtain descriptive brand names?

Intellisafe – 

Volvo recently announced the launch of Intellisafe a new technology brand for their range of cars, created by Origin.  In contrast to many new automotive launches it does highlight that it is still possible to register and use descriptive marks that are distinctive, meaningful and brand relevant. This type of branding is typically best suited for a certain type of product, technology or service.


More information can be found at

The Olympics around Hampton Court Palace

Origin’s UK offices are about 5 minutes from Hampton Court Palace – the center of Olympic cycling.  The festivities here started with the lighting of the Olympic torch on one of the Royal barges. 

Then last weekend, the men’s and women’s cycle road races went through our town on the way out and then again a few hours later on the way back.  They say about a million people lined the streets and watched the races.


Then on Wednesday the men’s and women’s time trial started and finished at Hampton Court Palace.  We had front row seats as the men cycled past our building…a dream brand identity opportunity!  The whole town was buzzing.

I was also lucky enough to go to a morning swimming session and spend the day in the Olympic park.  Overall having the Olympics in London has been an incredible – once in a lifetime experience.

Where is There Value in Branding Generics?

With many products coming off patent – Is there an increasing opportunity to create branded generics?

On the surface it sounds somewhere between a great idea – an opportunity to realise more value and also a questionable investment.

Within the pharmaceutical industry the traditional models of creating value, when a product goes off patent, have included new formulations and alternative indications.

 But within animal health things appear slightly different.  Of course the right opportunity is needed – having a product and/or company that is trusted and established within the market place helps.


Eliminall and Eprecis are two examples of Origin’s successful animal health generic re-branding for Pfizer and Ceva Sante Animale.

Eliminall, a branded product of Pfizer‘s generic Fipronil for the treatment of flea and tick control in dogs and cats and in its most familiar incarnation known as Frontline.  View Origin’s Eliminall case study click here.

Another example is a branded version of the generic Eprinomection, which Origin re-branded as Eprecis – a new injectable formulation developed by Ceva Sante Animale for dairy cattle.   View Origin’s Eprecis Case Study click here.

It would perhaps be rash to suggest that two such examples constitute an industry trend but it does raise an interesting question – Is there a chance that we could see more of this?

View Origin’s Pharmaceutical brochure for further case studies  click here.

Are You Making Common Branding Mistakes?

Clients often ask us to help them avoid the common pitfalls of branding new products, services or companies.

As a company that specializes in brand naming, design and market research, we know that a challenging process can be made significantly more difficult and expensive if the following issues are not considered:

  • the time required for the development of a short list of potential brand name
  • the linguistic analysis of those names
  • the market research needed to validate the names with the target audience
  • the legal screening and registration that is required (cost and time)
  • the logo design
  • the packaging design

Other issues to consider:

  • preparing a strong brief
  • the requirements for a brand to be globally understood
  • naming anything and everything (no clear brand architecture)
  • aligning the visual identity with the essence of the brand name
  • thinking a name can do everything for the brand

Please get in touch if we can help you with any of your branding requirements.

Janssen Pharmaceutica – Xeplion

Johnson & Johnson asked Origin Brand Consultants to generate a list of names for a pharmaceutical name bank for strategic use within their CNS portfolio.

Along with general brand building attributes several key areas were identified to reflect the functional and emotional benefits and attributes of several key pipeline products.

Janssen Pharmaceutica, a leading company within the J&J global portfolio, selected the name XEPLION from the banked names.  XEPLION is a once monthly, long-acting injectable, antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia.

With a powerful/modern tone XEPLION reflects a shift from existing approaches to treatment.  The use of long-acting therapies enables healthcare professionals to better manage non-adherence, ensuring symptom control and empowering patients to focus on shaping their lives.

XEPLION re-enforces this innovative approach, conveying next-generation control, superior disease management and improved patient well-being.

Pharmaceutical Name Banks

The rise of name bank over the past few years has mirrored the increasing complexities and challenges of bringing products to market from the blockbuster to the line extension.

Name banks are a cost effective tool that provides multiple names with the ability for use across a broad range of disease areas and indications.  The names can communicate a diverse range of potential benefits or provide powerful empty vessels to be filled with meaning.

These names are ready for when time is short.  Of course this doesn’t preclude generating product specific names at the right time that communicate the key functional/emotional benefits and reflect the core positioning(s).  Ultimately – the name bank can provide an exceptionally useful pool of names as either a fall-back position or as first port of call.

Two brand names created from name bank projects were recently launched;

Tebranic is AstraZeneca’s new antibacterial powder for the injection treatment of systemic and/or local bacterial infections within the Specialist Care area.

Xeplion is a once monthly, long-acting injectable, antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia from Janssen Pharmaceutica

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Origin team in the UK (who will be working on Thursday and Friday!).

The olo includes pictures of the statue of Tecumseh and a flag from the US Naval Academy.

The “pilgrims” in the picture are now 28 and 27 years old.


Origin Brand Consultants was asked by P&G to develop an identity for a new global sub-brand for a new line extension for the LACOSTE CHALLENGE fragrance.

Origin’s brief was to both sustain and grow the CHALLENGE HOUSE, offering innovation and attracting new consumers to the brand.

LACOSTE CHALLENGE RE/FRESH communicates that feeling of invigoration and lasting freshness. With high-visual stand out it adds a new dimension to a familiar and accessible word, RE/FRESH is truly global, immediately meaningful and delivers a simple and powerful message.

Syngenta – Vibrance

Origin Brand Consultants created the brand Vibrance for Syngenta’s new seed treatment fungicide.

Tailored specifically for the seed treatment market Vibrance, protects major crops against a wide range of diseases both inside and out as.  Its properties also result in outstanding protection of the entire plant root system.

Powerful sounding with a modern/energetic tone, the name Vibrance communicates the key positioning based on ‘Rooting Power’( stronger/healthier roots and plants).

John Atkin, Syngenta COO, commented: “Vibrance is a major step toward integrated root health solutions and will play an important role in enforcing Syngenta’s global leadership position in seed treatment.”

Elemental Branding

For thousands of years Earth, Water, Air and Fire have dominated philosophy with the premise being that everything was formed from these four elements.  Based on this belief, these elements reflect the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which anything is based.

With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to see how some of the brands we have developed were influenced by these four basic elements of antiquity, i.e. For Earth we have Astrata, Latitude, BlueMotion and targetneutral.

Just as essential elements make up our universe, a successful brand is equally made up of essential elements.  More than just a name and visual identity, a brand incorporates how your clients feel about you, the experiences they have with your business and their perceptions of you.

At Origin, we specialise in the elements that make successful brands – brand naming, identity design and market research.

Scheidel Energy Systems

Origin Brand Consultants created this icon for Schiedel Energy Systems, a new division of Schiedel (part of the Monier Group).

This new division will market innovative and energy-saving building products to take advantage of the huge renewable energy trend that is forever changing modern construction, i.e. low energy houses and passive houses.

Schiedel’s goal?  Prepare Schiedel Energy Systems to become a second important pillar (alongside Schiedel’s chimney and ventilation systems) that secures sustainable business growth.

Origin’s goal?   Build on and tie into Schiedel’s existing corporate design while communicating the new division in a modern and fresh.  Bottom line, create an identity that stands out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Origin’s new icon and new product brand identity makes Schiedel Energy Systems distinct and memorable.  Now its maximum thermal insulation, heat recovery and renewable based heating systems will play a crucial role in profitable business models for suppliers of house technology, building materials, and components.



Plenty Rebrand

SCA asked Origin to develop a new brand identity for Bounty kitchen towel to revitalise and re-launch the brand following its acquisition from P&G.

SCA required a name that would be instantly meaningful and easily understood by consumers

Plenty engages consumers on an emotional level, building on existing brand equity and generating a high comfort level that is further re-enforced by the new design

The development of a compelling visual element was crucial as many shoppers admit that they will often simply rely on visual cues.  The new name and design appeals to a global audience and  represent a natural evolution for a re-invigorated household favourite.


Welcome to Origin Brand Consultants

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website.  The site has been totally redesigned to make it easier for you to view our customer experiences and learn about who we are and what we do.

As part of our exciting new look and feel, we have developed a portfolio of images based on the Origin Olo (like the one above).  Each of these Olo’s has been created from our team’s artwork and photography and reflects the talent and passion that we have here at Origin.

So please enjoy and we look forward to hearing from you soon.