Company Naming Costs… and the even higher prices you pay when you don’t approach this vital business development initiative with sharp focus.
Sitting at the center of your brand identity and your entire marketing budget, your business name is an infrastructure investment, the cost of which must be amortized over its expected life. In too many start-ups and small businesses there is a “we’ll get to that later” mindset. But when what every start-up and small business needs to create is interest and excitement, is it any wonder that “later” is an opportunity never afforded to them? Think about what you will be spending in marketing over the next 3-5 years. Add that up. Now take a percentage of that for the role YOU think (not what I think) a name plays in solidifying your marketplace presence. Allocate that to your brand strategy work, inclusive of your naming costs.
Now, for the company naming cost deets…
Assuming a certain level of brand marketing expertise and sophistication, the strategic portion of the company naming costs can range from $2500 to $50,000 or more, depending upon the size of the company, how much research is indicated, how many rounds you wish to pursue, and whether it is part of a comprehensive branding process or not. But, again, there’s some very good news for you here: if you have selected the right company naming agency or brand consultant, the positioning work you do will inform, inspire and help streamline much of your future endeavors, so, done well, it’s actually a hedge against wasted dollars in the future. So, like all things, naming costs should have a built-in expected ROI based upon expected proportionate value. As for the added value provided by a branding firm or positioning expert, frankly, making sure we haven’t lost focus in our business development, and that we’re not chasing the wrong marketplace position, should probably be Priority One for all of us anyhow.
Costs for the creative part of the naming process, the name generations, can vary greatly, based upon how extensive your project is and the level of creative marketing expertise you’ve chosen to employ. Many of the big company naming firms employ a cadre of freelance copywriters or namers who submit names that are then filtered by the Creative Director, based upon his/her own internal criteria and philosophy. Obviously, all of this is built into your company naming costs. A one-person shop, brand strategist or freelance naming copywriter may simply dedicate an agreed-upon number of days or hours per round. Expect to pay anywhere between $5000 and $35,000 for the creative naming exploration phase if there is already a strategic brief in place, and, depending, of course, upon the experience level of the talent, the amount of thoroughness you require and, of course, your budget. Many firms do not include domain name availability and trademark searches, so this is something you will need to coordinate with your legal counsel.
You may not have the budget of an Apple® or a P&G® at your disposal, or even the budget of your direct competition, but instead of using that as a reason to take the matter of company naming less seriously, why not instead use that simple fact as your clarion call to work smarter, with more ingenuity and with more of a commitment to authentic brand creation? The more you think of your business as the brand you’re working to build, the more focused your every daily action will be, and the more you will have to show for your efforts in the long run.