Naming Help: Who Should Hire a Naming Firm?

By Mark Skoultchi

May 10, 2011

At Catchword, we often get asked what type of clients use naming firms. First, it is important to note that the cost of naming services is not cheap, and not everyone can afford to work with a professional agency.  The companies that benefit most usually have a large customer base and can afford to heavily market their brand names.  It could be a large multi-national company in need of names that work on a global scale (such as Coca Cola or McDonald’s), or medium-sized organizations simply looking to distinguish their products or services in a crowded competitive set.  Some have multiple customer targets and need a name that has broad appeal, and others may simply be looking for an exact domain name.  Pretty much anyone who believes their company or organization is not getting the degree of attention or market share it deserves should consider hiring a naming firm, but they should understand that this kind of branding help does not come cheap.

What can you do as a client to make your experience working with a naming agency as productive and enjoyable as possible?  For starters, make sure that all your key decision makers are involved in the naming process from the beginning.  That doesn’t mean involve everyone in your company or department, but the folks who will have a say in your name decision – they should be involved right out of the gate.  Second, understand and appreciate that, because naming is a very subjective thing, not everyone is going to feel equally enthusiastic about your final name selection.  But in time, and with the addition of a visual identity and collateral marketing communications, everyone will warm to it.  Lastly, it’s important to recognize the enormous legal hurdles your name candidates face, and that not every name presented will ultimately be available to you.  Do your job as project manager to set expectations for your team and help them appreciate the challenges you’re all facing in coming up with a name for your company or product.  If you’re working with a good naming agency, they’ll help you establish these expectations.

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