Looking for the best consulting company name? Use these three expert naming strategies to create a unique and memorable brand name.
For consulting companies and other professional service firms few assets are more valuable than the company brand name itself. After all, the majority of services offered by consulting firms are entirely intangible. Without a physical product to sample, there’s even more scrutiny placed on a company’s name, image and reputation. That’s why the right company naming strategies are so vital, and why the company name plays such a key role in future marketing success.
Start By Not Making These Common Naming Mistakes
When naming your consulting company, the natural inclination is to follow the herd and do what others in the industry have done. But keep in mind that established consulting firms have had decades to make a name for themselves. And what worked back in the day may not work in a highly competitive and compressed marketplace.
What are these common mistakes?
In a nutshell, they are consulting company names that are inherently meaningless, and do little or nothing to differentiate your brand, or position your company in a favorable light. These mistakes include but are not limited to…
- Acronym names – Sorry, no one is going to remember JQZ Associates
- Legacy surnames – Unless you only plan to sell to another family member
- Geographic names – What happens when you’re not in Kansas anymore?
- Names that are too niche – SAP Consulting limits you to… well SAP
- Names that are generic – Data Services covers a lot but says nothing
- Names that are misleading – Pipeline Consulting might refer to a sales pipeline, but you could also get customers calling for, well, pipes.
Without an effective company naming strategy, most startup consulting firms get lost in a sea of sound-alike, descriptive, generic, confusing, niche or meaningless names. Don’t be one of them!
Follow These Top Three Consulting Company Naming Strategies
So just what are some successful naming strategies for consultants?
Let’s take a look at company name ideas that will work for both the short and long haul — company names that attract attention and build value over time.
These types of names work because they are grounded.
These names serve as a bridge, a gateway and an introduction to you and your firm. They provide a hint of not only what you do, but more importantly, how you do it. Here are a few such naming strategies, designed specifically for consulting company names.
1. Build the company name on a key attribute
With this approach, you center the company’s brand identity on a core strength. Ask yourself, what is the true end benefit you deliver to your clients? Is it speed, innovation, assurance, reliability, value? The list can be extensive, so boil it down to one word, the one thing you deliver above all else.
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. The client’s main attribute was their ability to deliver over and above expectations. So we played with word part that indicated height, elevation, reach, etc. We combined those words with Latin-esque endings to create this attribute based name.
From high performance to intelligent insight, we named another Jacksonville based firm Brillium, based on the same naming strategy. Brillium had an added element of scientific certainty to it. With Brillium, you now had the power to know better. Another client in healthcare we named Sympova, harmonizing healthcare. The “Sym” evoked symphony and sympathy, as well the key attributes of orchestration and coordination.
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.
These types of consulting company names differ from purely invented names in that they contain a morpheme, or word part, that has intrinsic meaning. Here is a sample list of initial prefix words that we refer to when naming consulting companies…
Combining these types of prefixes with intuitive suffixes creates a broad range of potential consulting company names to choose from. An added bonus to this type of company naming exercise is that it forces you, as an owner, to determine your pivot point, or core value proposition. In other words, if your company name could only convey one concept, and only one, what would it be? A key attribute brand name communicates that singular theme.
2. Use an “Evergreen” Strategy for a Timeless Name
This is one of our favorite strategies, especially for consulting company names. It involves the use of timeless “perennial” or evergreen words to create new, positive sounding, brand names. We named a wealth management company Parkworth, using the positive imagery of a park-like setting, combined with the regal associations of the word “worth.” Together the two words formed a new consulting company name that communicated a sense of natural financial growth — an environment where one’s financial future can thrive.
In a similar way, we named a financial advisory company BrightPath Mortgage. The company identity underscores a sense of intelligent guidance and direction, attributes important in the consulting and advisory fields. Mixing and matching positively associated words (ones that reflect your brand essence) is an effective naming strategy that can yield a wide range of unique company names. And if you had difficulty in step one identifying a singular key attribute, using two positive connotation words allows you to highlight a pair of complementary strengths, as in the BrightPath example of intelligence and direction.
When thinking of positive connotation words, be sure to include themes from nature, which tend to have universal appeal. One client we named went with CenterBranch to underscore the central role her advisory played in organizational change.
Here are a few examples of classic positive connotation words that mix and match nicely. Once you have the hang of this, try creating a 10 x10 grid and filling it up with your own evergreen words that align with your attributes. You’ll soon have a hundred new consulting company names to choose from.
3. Choose a metaphor to develop a new consulting company name
If a picture is worth a thousand words, you can brand your consulting company with a simple, yet powerful, mental image. This is potentially one of the best, and highest forms of branding. Metaphor brand names tend to be distinct and memorable. They are inherently “stickier” since they are based on the way we think, e.g. “This unknown thing is like this known thing.” Metaphors help us to summarize difficult ideas and provide them in condensed form – in a nutshell as they say. It makes abstract concepts, like many of the services provided in the consulting fields, easier to grasp and unpack.
As a consulting company ourselves, we choose Tungsten, the metal filament in the first light bulb, as a metaphor for clarity and insight. We further leverage our name with the tagline “The element of brilliance” to highlight our brand position of brand clarity.
We worked with a healthcare data company that could warn clients in advance about potential payment issues. To capture this notion, we named them Canary Insights, after the proverbial “canary in the mine,” a practice used by early coal miners to detect poisonous air ahead. The name provided for an iconic story, logo and bright yellow brand colors. All of these elements helped this client break through the noise and clutter in her sector and establish her brand.
Another M&A investment banking firm we branded, FourBridges, “bridged the middle market” and connected companies with capital. It also helped that they had four partners and resided in Chattanooga, TN, the state’s fourth largest city with four major bridges. Using metaphors in your company name provides you with instant visual imagery that tells your story in a unique way.
How can you develop a metaphor consulting company name? Start with the work you did in step one, identifying your key attribute or pivot point. Once you have that, think of ways you would communicate that message as a mental picture. On a basic level, look for things associated with these attributes such as..
Don’t just stop there, dig deeper for metaphorical stories vs. words. One consulting company we named Triple20, after the highest score possible in a game of darts. Why shoot for the bull’s eye and only score 50 points, when Triple20 can earn you 60 points? That analogy sets a whole story about outplaying and outsmarting the competition. We branded a strategic consulting firm CornerBishop – emphasizing their ability to make the right moves at the right time.
Plug in some of these company naming strategies and see what ideas they generate for you and your team. By utilizing all three – 1) key attribute, 2) positive connotation, and 3) metaphor names, you can give your consulting company brand name a big boost and a clear head start. Your new company name will be unique and distinctive, placing it higher in search results compared to more generic and descriptive names. Instead of struggling to spell out weird acronyms or pronounce problematic last names, these proven company naming strategies will highlight your core strengths and move the conversation in a meaningful direction. In place of “Huh? What was that again?” you’ll hear “Interesting… tell me more!”
For an even more comprehensive article outlining all 10 different company names strategies, check out How to Come Up With a Brand Name , or download our free company naming pdf guide. For professional assistance with creating a new consulting company name, schedule a no obligation phone call with our team of company naming experts.
BY Phil Davis
President of Tungsten Branding
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 naming expert, Phil has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and Newsday.