The first thing that comes to mind when you look at the names of this latest mobility trend is that they all use a maximum of four letters. The most well-known operators to date - Voi, Lime, Circ, Dott, Bird, and Tier - obviously keep it short and sweet. The newer e-scooter start-ups and cooperations also follow this common denaminator: Wind, Hive and Jump.
Quite apart from the meaning of the name itself, it's very striking that they all seem to stick to a common secret code: Only short and mostly simple words can be used as names. Basically, there is nothing to say against short names, they go quickly into the ear and eye and seem simple and uncomplicated. Exactly what the mobility of the scooters is supposed to suggest: to get everywhere quickly and easily. Besides, the space in an app symbol is sufficient for a short name, which is an important criterion in this day and age.
Equal Among Equals
But do such short names convey a message? And if everyone uses such similar names, don't they disappear into the crowd instead of setting themselves apart from the competition? And what do they even mean? At least with the information provided by the companies themselves, there is little or nothing to find read about the background of the names.
A small survey among fellow humans who use e-scooters has shown that people tend to think in colours rather than in names. "Voi, is that the red one?" or "I think the greens are the best." If you ask for the meaning of Voi some find the link to "voyage" or, if they know Spanish or Italian, to voy = I go, or volar/volare = fly. Quite suitable therefore to a means of transport. Some people, however, think of the abbreviation "Value on Investment" and are rather confused - or can't do anything with the three letters.
The start-up Circ recently changed its name from Flash to Circ, because Flash was "too much associated with speed and this doesn't fit the company's goal". Circ is now intended to express safety, responsibility and convenience, among other things. Hmmm. Can this be achieved convincingly with a four-letter abbreviation? Users surveyed spontaneously associate the abbreviation with "circle". Which is quite suitable for a device that is constantly in the cycle between parking, recharging and passing it on and with which you can "circle" through the city. The pronunciation, however, is described as less "round" than rather bulky.
Animal Trend with Naming Scooters
Two operators rely on animal names: Bird and Tier (the latter is the German translation for “Animal”). To swarm through the city with the lightness of a bird is a fitting, easy to explain picture. However, the name is not particularly creative or novel.
The first thing you notice about “Tier”, which is officially called myTier, is that it's the only name that comes from the German language, so this makes it kind of "different". An “animal” on which one rides through the city? Why not - but hopefully it doesn't bite!
Accordingly, the people who load the scooters are called "rangers" - i.e. foresters who look after and feed wild animals. If you look around on the sidewalks, the thought of a herd of wild animals that has attacked the cities is unfortunately also obvious.
Freshness in the Name
There are also various associations with Lime, such as "fresh", "summer", the German saying "sour makes fun" or "tyre", since the round lime with the subdivisions in the logo is reminiscent of a wheel with spokes. Some think of a cocktail that leads to the theme of going out and having fun. But of course you shouldn't drink one before the ride. Here the creators succeeded in finding a new and unusual name for a technical device that stands out and creates different, but quite fitting and positive associations. Similar to the picture of the apple at Apple - maybe even a bit fresher?
The bottom line: The names all have something positive and comprehensible, but don't differ much from each other and are perceived more by the colours than by the appropriate name. If you still want to enter this market, a completely different name that stands out among the competition would be advisable. For example - totally crazy - start with six letters in the name or even with a combination of words.
Join us! The E-Scooter Name Collection
How else could you creatively name e-scooters? Do you have an idea for the best, weirdest, most funny or coolest e-scooter name? Then send it by email, Twitter with Hashtag #escooternames or simply in the comments below. Give me the rolling names :-)
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