Branding & Naming Expert President of Tungsten Branding
Looking for a great company name? Use these three naming strategies for building an effective and timeless brand name!
For consulting firms and other start up companies, few items are more important than the company brand name itself. That’s where the right business naming strategies make a difference. Without a strong and compelling brand identity, most companies get lost in a sea of sound-alike, descriptive or meaningless names. The most common naming mistake is simply using the owner’s initials or surname (e.g. FJZ Associates or RWJones Consulting.)
Not only are these names forgettable, but they create an additional obstacle if the company grows, the owner wants to take on a partner, or eventually sell the business. What new business owner wants someone else’s name on the front door? No one, unless the name is E.F. Hutton, or a legacy brand that has earned its reputation over time. Most new businesses don’t have the luxury of time to build their brand message. So what are some successful naming strategies for consultants? Let’s take a look…
Rather than taking the predictable path of a common company name, create something unique and compelling that provides a sense of the company’s meaning, purpose and direction. Here are a few such naming strategies, specifically for consulting companies.
1. Build the company name on a key attribute
With this approach, you center the company’s brand identity on a core strength. For example, we named an IT consulting company Altacent, based on its ability to elevate their client’s performance, reach the next level, and achieve peak performance. Agilent Technologies is another company name based on this type of naming methodology.
Key attribute brand names work well if you want to convey more than just what you do – you want to convey how you do it. They differ from purely invented names in that they contain a morpheme, or word part, that has intrinsic meaning. An added bonus to this type of naming exercise, is that it forces you, as an owner, to determine your pivot point, or core value proposition. Think of it in these terms, if your company name could only convey one concept, and only one, what would it be? A key attribute name communicates that message.
2. Base the business name on positive connotations
This is one of our favorite naming strategies. It involves the use of timeless “perennial” or evergreen words to create new, positive sounding, brand names.. OnStar is a great example of how GM used two positive words, “On,” and “Star,” to create a blended name that speaks to intelligent navigation. We recently branded a wealth management company Parkworth, using the positive imagery of a park like setting, combined with the richness of the word “worth.” Together the two words form a name that communicates a sense of natural financial growth, an environment where your financial future can thrive. A mortgage advisor we branded with the name BrightPath. The company identity underscores a sense of guidance and direction, attributes important in the consulting field. Mixing and matching positively associated words that reflect your brand essence is yet another effective naming strategy.
3. Choose a metaphor to develop a new company name
If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then a metaphor brand name can convey a host of attributes with one mental snapshot. If, as a consultant, you are known for being at the leading edge, the point of the spear in your industry, you may use a metaphor such as a trident, javelin or arrow. You may need to add a word to these names to further customize them and obtain the matching domain name, such as ArrowPoint, or Trident First, etc. We worked with a healthcare IT platform we branded Canary Insights, for their ability to forewarn clients of impending reimbursement changes. The iconic yellow bird serves as a “sticky” mental identifier of their company brand in an industry known for sound-a-like names. Another M&A investment banking firm we branded FourBridges, since they “bridged the middle market” and connected companies with capital. It also helped that they had four partners and resided in Chattanooga, TN, a city with four rivers. Using metaphors to name your company provides you with instant visual imagery that tells your story in a unique way.
By utilizing key attribute, positive connotation and metaphor naming strategies for your consulting company, you can give yourself a head start when introducing yourself to potential clients.
Instead of struggling with an awkward acronym-based name, or spelling out a difficult last name, use these strategies to segue from your core strengths right into your product and service offerings. Tungsten, the wire in Edison’s light bulb, often sparks a conversation about clarity, insight and brilliance. So plug in some of these company naming strategies and see what ideas they generate. And if need some extra “juice,” just flip our switch and we’ll provide some company brand names designed to make you and your company shine.
About the author: With over twenty five years of company naming and branding expertise, Tungsten founder Phil Davis is a marketing and advertising veteran, having personally named over 250 companies, products and services worldwide. As a sought after branding expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.
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