The Articulate brand name sector review: 100 EdTech companies
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The Articulate brand name sector review: 100 EdTech companies

Posted by Maddy Leslie
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‘Great companies make meaning. A company has a name, but its people give it meaning.’

Richard Pascale, author and business advisor

What’s in a name? A whole lot, as it turns out.

We’ve written about naming things like projects and companies before. There’s a tremendous amount at stake with a company name, in particular. It is the central hub of your brand, your culture, your logo, your messaging… how you are perceived, how people find you, what people remember about you… it bears a significant relationship to your product, competitors, audience and industry… already, that’s a huge amount of meaning to squeeze into one or two words.

Then again, Steve Jobs supposedly called his company ‘Apple’ because he liked fruit. Maybe naming a company is that simple.

A name is, often, the first thing you have to come up with, after ‘The Big Idea’. (Sometimes it comes even before that!) So, it is a reflection both of your company’s origins and its future ambitions. It sets the tone.

What is this brand name review?

This brand name review is the first in what we aim to make a series in which we analyse each brand name of one hundred businesses in a given sector using our unique framework.

The intention is to provide you with some insight and context for your own brand and naming decisions.

Today, we’re looking at EdTech companies.

The framework

output (6)

To be clear, this framework is something we’ve developed at Articulate because we think it is a useful and ‘truthy’ angle (to borrow a term from Stephen Colbert) from which to assess multiple brand naming trends.

Worth noting that we’re not here to judge these names as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This review is to show how these names can be broken down and analysed, to observe patterns and to understand why people might make certain naming choices.

The framework consists of a scoring system across four criteria, which we will explain shortly:

  • Composite
  • Singular
  • Allusive
  • Rationalised

‘Composite — Singular’ are on one axis and ‘Allusive — Rationalised’ are on the other. So, a name might score as ‘Composite and Allusive’ in one quadrant, or ‘Composite and Rationalised’ in another. Or, alternatively, ‘Singular and Allusive’ in the third quadrant, or ‘Singular and Rationalised’ in the final quadrant. This is on a sliding scale.

Hopefully, our overview of your sector will help you either come up with a thoughtfully chosen company name based on your goals, or evaluate your existing company name or a competitor’s name within this framework. It will tell you something about trends, approaches, types of businesses, styles of operating and so on. It’s an insight into the makeup of your sector from a branding perspective.

So, what do these four criteria mean?


Composite names are made up of several meaningful parts, or elements, combined. In the case of EdTech and lifelong learning technology companies, this might look like ‘[word] Learning’ or ‘[word] Campus]’ or perhaps one word made of parts, such as ‘EduLearn’.

Why do EdTechs choose composite names?

These kinds of names are particularly practical for EdTechs because education technology is such a broad sector with a huge variety of audiences. For example, an EdTech might provide an adult learning platform for accountants — ‘Accounducate’ (we checked, you can have that one). Or, they can add a named person — ‘Bertsch Innovation’ — or a positive, actionable descriptor to an industry term (as you can tell, we like this use case!).

Examples outside of EdTech:


On the other end of the spectrum to ‘Composite’ is ‘Singular’. These names are comprised of a single idea, word or name. Amazon. Peacocks. Harrods. Such names can also comprise multiple words if they are centralised on a singular idea, e.g. ‘The Ambassador Platform’.

Why do EdTechs choose singular names?

These kinds of names are bold and memorable. If you can hit the right note, they are even ‘verbable’ — how often do you ‘Google’ something, for example? (This is not to say a composite name cannot be verbable too, such as ‘Photoshop’.) They can refer to the name of a person or simply be a sound, made up or otherwise.

Examples outside of EdTech:


Allusive brand names obliquely allude to something, usually to evoke a shared meaning or metaphor, often to adopt the positive association of something outside the normal associations with that sector. This often appears in the form of wordplay (a groan-worthy favourite of fish & chippies in the UK, e.g. ‘The Good Plaice’, but this can be done more artfully). Allusive company names are often emotive.

Why do EdTechs choose allusive names?

These kinds of names are popular among EdTechs and tech companies generally, simply because they can evoke multiple positive associations in one fell swoop. Of course, you can choose to lean into eye-catching or provocative associations, too — take Virgin Airlines, for example. For us, ‘Articulate’ conjures up associations of technical complexity, movement, linguistic fluency and so on. Allusive names appeal to certain audiences because they are often inherently playful and creative, so may be popular with EdTechs trying to reach younger audiences.

Examples outside of EdTech:


Rationalised brand names are often descriptive and pragmatic. They have a clear rationale, in other words, without necessarily relying on hidden meanings or allusions. Included in this category, they may have no meaning at all, such as ‘Kodak’ — the meaning is something that is rationalised by the company, but without any allusions baked in.

Why do EdTechs choose rationalised names?

These kinds of names are popular with EdTechs that prefer clarity of meaning over the potential for positive or notable associations. These companies want the name to do the explaining for them. Or, for the name to stand out as something new and different. That way, they get to define the brand’s meaning.

Examples outside of EdTech:


Each of the EdTech company names in our list has been reviewed in this context and given a score of between 1 and 5 across each axis:

  • Composite — Singular: for example, a score of 4 on this axis means the brand name is closer to a singular style than a composite style.
  • Allusive — Rationalised: for example, a score of 2 on this axis means the brand name is more allusive than rationalised.

In this example, the brand name, therefore, sits in the singular and allusive quadrant:

EdTech brand (1)

Our brand name sector review: EdTechs

brand_positioning_graph (1) (1)

EdTech brands as a table

Name Link Composite — Singular Allusive — Rationalised
Amplify 4 3
Great Minds 1 5
Bright Horizons 1 2
Skillsoft 2 5
Guild Education 1 2
Multiverse 3 1
Duolingo 2 3
Paper 5 1
DreamBox Learning 1 4
Newsela 1 5
Everspring 2 1
Aceable 3 4
Pluralsight 1 1
AllCampus 1 5
2U 2 4
Cambly 5 5
Course Hero 1 3
GoGuardian 2 2
BrainPOP 1 4
Quizlet 3 4
Remind 5 3
Saturn 5 5
Zearn 4 4
Brainly 4 4
Udacity 4 2
Panorama Education 1 3
Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) 1 5
Classkick 1 3
Seesaw 3 2
MasterClass 3 4
Unibuddy 2 4
Optimism 5 2
Preply 4 4
PowerSchool 1 3
Voxy 5 1
Knewton Alta 1 2
Civitas Learning 1 2
Labster 4 5
WolframAlpha 1 1
Kahoot! 5 1
Simplilearn 2 5
Flip 5 2
Infobase 2 5
Watermark Insights 1 3
Edmentum 2 2
Rosetta Stone 4 1
iAM Learning 3 5
MeLearning 3 5
The Ambassador Platform (TAC) 4 4
Ayoa 5 5
SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security (SANS) 1 5
Education software solutions (ESS) 4 5
Demosphere 2 2
PrimaryTech 2 5
Age of Learning 3 5
Turnitin 4 5
B2W Group 3 5
Inspera 5 2
Skillcast Group 2 4
FutureLearn 1 4
Safecall 4 3
Scandlearn 1 5
Atom Learning 1 1
RoleplayUK 4 5
ACI Learning 1 5
Zavvy 5 3
Vernier 5 1
Playbook 5 3
inclusio 5 2
Swing Education 1 2
Questeq 1 1
Campus Works 1 5
Synergy Learning 1 2
School of PE 4 5
Skilltec Training 1 5
AFI Group 1 5
Litmos 5 1
People People 5 3
Classical Learning Resource Center (CLRC) 3 5
Coursera 5 4
Udemy 2 4
Skillshare 1 5
Blueprint Prep 2 2
Outschool 2 4
Instructure 1 1
CareerDash 1 2
MEL Science 2 5
Fuse 5 1
Administrate 5 2
MyTutor 3 5
Kortext 1 1
pi-Top 1 2
Bibliu 4 2
Perlego 5 1
Family Learning Company 3 5
School of Marketing 4 5
Smart Steps 2 4
Small Business Pro University 3 5
myQuest 3 1

EdTech brands by quadrant

  • Composite and Allusive (28 brands): Brands in this quadrant use composite names with multiple meaningful parts whilst evoking positive associations.
  • Singular and Allusive (21 brands): These brands have bold, singular names that evoke shared meanings or metaphors.
  • Composite and Rationalised (37 brands): Brands here have composite names that are clear and descriptive without relying heavily on metaphors.
  • Singular and Rationalised (14 brands): These brands use single, impactful names that are clear and pragmatic.
Composite and Allusive Singular and Allusive Composite and Rationalised Singular and Rationalised
Bright Horizons Amplify Great Minds Cambly
Guild Education Paper Skillsoft Saturn
Multiverse Remind DreamBox Learning Zearn
Duolingo Udacity Newsela Brainly
Everspring Optimism Aceable Preply
Pluralsight Voxy AllCampus Labster
Course Hero Kahoot! 2U The Ambassador Platform (TAC)
GoGuardian Flip BrainPOP Ayoa
Panorama Education Rosetta Stone Quizlet Education software solutions (ESS)
Classkick Inspera Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) Turnitin
Seesaw Safecall MasterClass RoleplayUK
PowerSchool Zavvy Unibuddy School of PE
Knewton Alta Vernier Simplilearn Coursera
Civitas Learning Playbook Infobase School of Marketing
WolframAlpha inclusio iAM Learning  
Watermark Insights Litmos MeLearning  
Edmentum People People SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security (SANS)  
Demosphere Fuse PrimaryTech  
Atom Learning Administrate Age of Learning  
Swing Education Bibliu B2W Group  
Questeq Perlego Skillcast Group  
Synergy Learning   FutureLearn  
Blueprint Prep   Scandlearn  
Instructure   ACI Learning  
CareerDash   Campus Works  
Kortext   Skilltec Training  
pi-Top   AFI Group  
myQuest   Classical Learning Resource Center (CLRC)  
    MEL Science  
    Family Learning Company  
    Smart Steps  
    Small Business Pro University  

Highlights from our EdTech brand name review

  • From our evaluation, the largest portion of EdTechs prefer composite and rationalised names. Brands in this quadrant balance practical naming with direct communication. They cater to broad audiences while ensuring the name clearly conveys the company's function. This is most true for established brands that are targeting lifelong learners, suggesting a trend towards the ‘serious and searchable’ in order to draw in this audience from organic traffic sources.
  • Many brands also use composite names with allusive meanings to reach diverse audiences, opting for a bit of flair. This is the second-most populated quadrant, indicating a trend towards practical and audience-focused yet creative naming strategies in EdTech. Newer companies tend to use such names to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. This follows a broader trend in B2C tech companies towards this style of name.
  • The third most popular naming strategy is singular and allusive names. These brands are memorable and evoke positive associations and also tend to be newer companies, often US-based, which reflects the naming strategies more popular in America vs a more rationalised approach in the UK. They also tend to be more extreme in that they are highly singular, highly allusive. It’s an ‘all-in’ tactic to cut through the noise, but the overall trends are more in line with a moderate, balanced approach outside this quadrant.
  • Singular and rationalised names are less common, but are chosen for their clarity and directness. These brands focus on straightforward communication, often preferred by older companies aiming for a distinctive identity or those companies ambitiously looking to create meaning in the brand name, rather than rely on established associations.
  • Some brand names appear to be at one end of the scale but are actually at the other. For example, ‘Newsela’ actually refers to ‘News’ and ‘ELA’ (English Language Arts) and is a provider of classroom content in these areas. Therefore, in fact, it is highly rationalised and composite while sounding allusive and singular. Depending on your perspective, brands that do this either gain the best of all worlds or lose out on the distinctiveness of a more binary choice.
  • Unsurprisingly, the word ‘Learn/Learning’ appears in 13 percent of the brand names in this list. ‘Education’ appears four times. While such words more readily signal to the audience what these companies do, and are more readily surfaced on search engines based on keywords, they are also likely to blend in with similar-sounding brands (This may be the reason why more companies do not include such words in their brand names.).

So, where does your EdTech sit within our framework? What does that say about your company and, most importantly, does your marketing messaging align with how you want your brand to be perceived? If you need the support of expert marketing strategists to help you differentiate your brand and get your name out there, then get in touch with award-winning agency, Articulate Marketing.

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