How to find the best company naming service to brand your business

Phil Davis

Branding & Naming Expert President of Tungsten Branding

5 Best Practices When Choosing a Business Naming Agency

Whether you are a consulting company, business service provider or entrepreneur, finding a new business name can be a daunting task. Fortunately, company naming services exist to help run the gauntlet of name development, tagline creation, trademark and domain name acquisition.

To find the best naming service, keep this list in mind…

  1. Choose a naming firm that matches your needs

    Naming services range from name generation only, to full-service naming and branding companies. For a few hundred dollars, you have “namers” generate a punch list of candidates for you to choose from. Many times these are unvetted names in terms of trademark and domain availability and work best if you just need a service that brainstorms a quantity of names. Full-service firms will help you establish your brand criteria, brand story, and overall message, and then find available names, fitting taglines and available domains to complete the picture. Think of name generators as a DIY service and full time naming companies as contractors that will build out your brand to your specifications.

  2. Check out their client showcase and references

    Company naming is now a separate sub specialty as the demand for unique business names, matching domain names and trademark availability has skyrocketed. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of marketing and branding agencies, legitimate business naming firms focus entirely on the art/science of creating best in class brand names. They will help guide you through the naming process based on experience (vs. popping out a list of names for you to pick from.) Ask about similar naming projects in your industry and look for successful case studies and client testimonials. By choosing the right naming service, you greatly reduce the chance of needing a future rebrand due to a lack of foresight into your specific needs. These firms know best branding practices from dealing with them on a daily basis and will create congruent, compelling, and timeless brand names.

     

    By choosing the right naming service, you greatly reduce the chance of needing a future rebrand due to a lack of foresight into your specific needs.

     

  3. Establish a sufficient budget to get the job done

    Naming a company can seem like an arbitrary business service, one open to negotiation. But like anything in business, you typically get what you pay for. Think of company naming like you would wedding photography. You can pay someone to shoot hundreds of photos with their iPhone and forward them to you. Or you can hire someone with a trained eye, the right equipment, and the best editing process to provide you with a list of winners. Having expert help can make all the difference between a name that simply serves as an identifier and one that tells a compelling story — one that underscores your unique talents and abilities. With domain names selling in the tens of thousands, it’s not unreasonable to spend $7,500 to $15,000 to properly name and brand a new startup business. That would include the company name, tagline creation, brand story, trademark screening and domain name. The price would typically go up based on the number of decision makers, the size and scale of the project and the degree of vetting and research. But this range would be a good figure for a consultant or solopreneur getting into business.

  4. Choose a naming firm that provides you with the best brand strategy and naming criteria

    In a rush to get to market, the company name can be treated as an afterthought. Without strategizing, the naming exercise devolves into creative dart tossing and looking for a “cool” company name. Business naming should not be a random exercise. For the best results, make a list of everything you want the company name to convey, the key benefits and/or differentiators that make your company unique and special. Then prioritize that list to the top three attributes. A good company naming service should be able to help you identify these key ingredients and distill them down for you. With this list as your guide, you can collaborate to find names that best reflect and highlight your core strengths. This will keep your naming project focused and on track. The question should always be “Does this name meet our naming criteria?” For example, does it convey the notion of rapid innovation? Or proven leadership? Or actionable insight? Narrow in on the names that jump-start the conversation around the things you do best.

     

    A good company naming service should be able to help you identify these key ingredients and distill them down for you.

     

  5. Let the naming service do their job

    If you have done your research and hired a professional naming agency, then be sure to follow their process and listen to the reason and logic behind the names. Rarely do great brand names “jump out” from the pack. Instead, they tend to build over time the more thought you give them, and you begin to see how the name could provide cohesiveness and continuity to your company. Some of the best names get overlooked in the first round or two of names, only to come back to the surface again and again. Ask, does this name meet our overall goal of (insert your branding criteria)? Cute and overly clever names can quickly become trite and tiresome, so look for names that tick all your boxes and allow for you to build a brand story and platform that will expand to suit your needs as the company grows.

Finding the best company naming service is akin to finding a great business partner. They can help you identify your cores strengths and brand message, and then craft a business name that highlights your unique story. In the end, your efforts will pay off in brand recognition, brand equity, and brand loyalty. Instead of a simple naming service, the right naming firm can become a trusted resource and advisor as you continue to develop your overall brand architecture and strategy. And when it comes to branding, that’s the name of the game.


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.

What do I need to “brand my business?”

Branding your business in not making your business famous - a few million dollars can do that. Branding your business is owning a consistent set of positive attributes in the minds of your best customers. It’s building and maintaining a solid, singular reputation.
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