Formerly known as M2000, Abound Logic designs and manufactures field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) used in consumer electronics, video, telecommunications, cloud computing, and other applications. To understand the naming assignment, all you really need to know about these particular FPGAs is that they're denser (they have greater processing capacity), more flexible, and more energy-efficient than the competition.
You also need to know that this is a truly multinational company. The fact that it has offices in Santa Clara (Silicon Valley), California, and Bièvres, France, gives only a hint. At the final presentation, the client team members seated around the table in Santa Clara represented Iran, Turkey, Spain, France, and the United States; on a conference-call line were an Italian (in France) and a Polish-surnamed Frenchman (in Beijing). Out in the cubicles were speakers of Urdu, Hindi, and Mandarin.
Obviously, the new name needed to meet broad language criteria, offending no one while inspiring everyone.
But first things first. Why did the M2000 team feel compelled to change the corporate name? Because, primarily, it represented the past: the "M" stood for Metasystems, a predecessor company; 2000 was the year of the original launch. (All those millennial names that sounded so cool and futuristic in 1998 sound quaint today.) M2000 is also, literally, a cipher: it doesn't communicate a benefit. Furthermore, for a global company, the name had an undesirably ambiguous pronunciation: "Em two thousand" or (à la française) "Em deux mille"? Finally, as one member of the management team pointed out, "M2000 sounds like a part number, not a company."
After interviewing the management team and analyzing the competitive namespace, I developed 13 themes for name development: flexibility, speed, interconnectivity, and so on. The theme of density seemed to show particular promise. How best to communicate the benefit of density without sounding, well, heavy? We explored a range of metaphors (e.g., Sardine), word-blends (Bevydense), specialized terms from various scientific fields (Ceanothus, a dense shrub), and foreign words (Ezitu, from a Swahili word meaning density). The master name list included more than 300 unique names across all 13 themes.
From that long list, I recommended 12 names organized into four categories: speed/efficiency, density/productivity, pivotal/breakthrough, and "foreign terms that function as empty vessels." I presented them to the team one at a time, each with a detailed story and trademark notes, Abound—suggesting "plentiful, teeming," and "growing by leaps and bounds"—was an early favorite. After more than an hour of discussion, the team chose three names for comprehensive legal review. To everyone's satisfaction, Abound passed the vetting process. We added "Logic" to obtain the dot-com URL and to clarify the company's role in the programmable-logic market.¹
Read about some of my past naming projects: Sauté Your Way, Amia, BrightScale, TRIA, and New Routes To Community Health. By the way, although I created TRIA as a medical-device name, I'm pleased to report that TRIA Beauty recently became the corporate name as well, replacing SpectraGenics, Inc.
¹ I strongly advise clients to be flexible on this point. The supposedly holy grail of a one-word URL is not all that sacred, in my opinion.