The key to knockout names, monetizing monikers and appetizing appellations
Looking for a good reason not to hire a million-dollar company naming agency? Here’s 22:
Company taglines punctuate your promise.
Company taglines, also called positioning lines, theme lines and slogans, have been a passion of mine ever since I started in advertising over two decades ago. That’s because it’s your company tagline that rounds out your introduction. Your name and logo say hello; your tagline punctuates your promise. While clever word play serves as a wonderful memory aid, my real objective these days is a bit more nuanced. I seek to create a company tagline (or campaign theme line) for you that perfectly captures your distinct personality, your point of view and the uniqueness of your offerings. I want to help you elevate the entire company with a brand spanking new company tagline.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.
What does a naming agency do?
A brand naming agency is different than a business naming agency. A brand naming agency seeks to use the opportunity of a name not just as an identifier of the business but as a signal to the broader brand story, the emotional and experiential benefits in store, etc.
Do naming agencies vet for available domain names?
Reputable naming agencies vet for available domain names, but just because the domain is available doesn’t mean the trademark is clear. You should always consult with a trademark attorney for proper legal guidance on company and product naming.
What about name generation robots and crowd naming services?
Name generation robots (algorithms) and crowd naming services promise to deliver an inexpensive solution to what is, frankly, a costly, multifaceted problem. Though “even a broken clock is right twice a day,” nobody who understands the full impact branding and naming exerts on a business would resort to such cut-rate hackery. In theory, they both sound full of potential. In practice, not so much. After scrutinizing the name portfolios of completed projects coming out of these websites, here’s what I concluded. If you’re even the slightest bit tempted to take their bait, please:
1) Take notice of the unnatural (unpronounceable) arrangement of consonants.
2) Notice how domain availability seems to trump storytelling or connectivity.
3) Notice how often silly puns and poor stabs at portmanteaux show up in the output.
4) Notice how many of these companies would also like to sell you an off-the-shelf logo and remember that “off-the-shelf” is about as far away from authentic branding as you can get.
Do naming companies retain rights in the name they develop for me?
Naming companies sell their full intellectual property rights in the chosen name to you. Some naming firms may retain rights to display the name as a work sample, and some naming agencies may retain rights in the options you choose not to pursue. Other than those intellectual property exceptions, it’s what Pat Sajak used to say, “Once you buy a prize, it’s yours to keep.”
What are the most common business naming mistakes?
Business naming mistakes are most commonly made when branding and naming objectives are misunderstood, when companies and owners believe the equity they have in the current name outweighs the benefits of re-branding and re-naming, when there are too many people in the room, when puns pass for cleverness, when names aren’t pre-checked for matching domain availability, etc. When naming for global companies, language translation issues can lead to some pretty embarrassing situations.
How can I find an available domain name?
Many domain name registrars also hold auctions of available domain names. If you are in search of a brand name that also has a suitable domain name, work with a naming agency that only presents viable naming options. Then, consult your trademark attorney to ensure your favorite name won’t encroach on another company’s intellectual property.
What does it cost to name a company?
Company naming fees vary based upon many factors, including the complexity of the assignment, the number of name generation options you would like to see, and the naming firm’s track record. The larger naming agencies regularly charge anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000. For small businesses and un-funded startups, Articulated Brands® offers special packages that range from $3880 to $12880. Please call for a firm quote.
What is a tagline?
A tagline is a phrase that serves to summarize a company’s position in the marketplace. It serves together with the name and logo to comprise the brand identity. The word “tagline” is also used to describe short headlines used on websites and in print marketing pieces, but these are technically headlines, subheads and captions, not taglines. Similarly, many television campaigns are built around and drive to theme lines, but these are specific to each campaign. Companies should have only one primary, dominant tagline at the brand level, but they can have taglines for service groups, business units and products, as well.