Naming a company, a product, or a service is challenging. You need a powerful and original name, but also one that reflects your brand’s personality and values. You also want a name that has been screened for legal reasons and one that lends itself to a strong domain. A naming agency can take care of all that and more. Choosing the right one though is a challenge in itself which is why we prepared a list of the top companies in the field, backed by our custom methodology and hiring tips.
To rank the best names in the game, we’ve put some strict criteria in place. Right from the start, our team of researchers gathers as much information about each company as possible, including the average size of their campaigns, the professionals involved, and the way it leverages different creative and strategic efforts.
Many companies specialize in a wide range of services, including product, brand, service, and business naming, as well as domain services. Some firms, on the other hand, cater to specific industries or clients, while others will expand their services to brand creation, rebranding, positioning, and architecture, etc., or, in other words, are not just naming but branding agencies. Whether a company specializes in a niche market or offers a full-service approach, it doesn’t affect our rankings, but it does help us classify the companies on our list.
We look at case studies to analyze how the agency has solved a naming challenge in the past and whether the name was accepted and held strong over time. We also consider the past work of the company naming consultants by reviewing their portfolios and learning about the results they have achieved for their clients.
We look into the following areas to make sure we only list companies that are recognized and reputable in the industry.
We value user satisfaction. Former clients, therefore, will give us the best idea of their experience with the company and its core competencies. We look for reviews and ratings from past clients across the web and even approach them directly for more information. We also look out for any accreditations, business seals, and business accolades the company has received.
The best naming companies usually employ up to six namers when developing the best agency names and branding for companies. This is because, ideally, a diverse range of namers will all be able to contribute towards different cultural and literary references, metaphors, foreign language and international usages, spellings, suffixes, prefixes, and much more. The more diverse, knowledgeable, and experienced the namers, the better.
We look at the following capabilities before we rank any company.
Do these naming agencies know what type of information is needed to solve a business problem? In addition to the information you give the agency over the phone or during in-person interviews, you should also fill out a naming questionnaire. This can vary between companies but should include questions about general brand information, preferred tone and construction, the main ideas the name should embody, and more. This helps firms narrow down the selection and create the most effective solution. During this research stage, agencies should also perform competitor analysis for the most successful results.
The product naming service is more than just a creative process. As easy as it sounds, it is not just about sitting around and trying to come up with a name that sounds the best. The best in the business will approach the naming process strategically, and we check for this. We present ourselves as potential customers to inquire about their naming strategies. Not only must they have creative namers on board, but they must use multiple brand naming tools to put together a blueprint to help build a viable brand name. Typically, a company naming service should develop a naming brief that helps them identify themes, or pathways, to design the best naming process in the desired direction.
Once a wide variety of naming ideas are generated by the agency, they all must be screened for legal availability in the global trademark database. They should also be put through a Google due diligence search to identify any common law usage. We find out whether brand naming companies present screened or unscreened names, and those that have an IP attorney screen make it to the top of our list. You don’t want to pick a name that is similar in sound, spelling, appearance or meaning to one that already exists, is already registered or pending in the same trademark class at the patent and trademark offices. Even if it's a great name, you can only use it if it is legal.
On the flip side of this, sharing too narrow of a list may not give the client enough choice. Even if the list is pre-screened, the naming company must give you a reasonable number of choices. Ideally, the list of names should be presented in a Powerpoint presentation, with each name getting its own slide along with a brief explanation with its story and context to help the client make the best decision. Regardless of the approach, firms should present at least two naming rounds before leaving you to make the final decision.
As we mentioned before, creativity is an important part of the process. We make sure the naming agency is creative but has also followed the guidelines in terms of a naming strategy. The top namers will study the copy of relevant industries in magazines, media, and search venture firm portfolios, among others, to get interesting ideas. The best agencies will start with hundreds and sometimes thousands of ideas before presenting a shortlist to the client and whittling it down to the best option. This is a sign that the agency is creative, instead of just coming up with a handful of ideas and hoping the client finds a good fit. We look for naming firms that provide outstanding creativity.
In addition to monitoring the research process, we look at the following:
The agency’s approach to naming is crucial to receive a rank on our list. Are they a friendly and welcoming bunch who are happy to work with you and meet your demands? Are they experienced and professional? Are they collaborative, and do they consider your opinion during the name development process? The way the brand naming company approaches your project can help you decide if they are the right fit for your business.
How do we get this information? We interview multiple agencies we think are leaders in the game to find out more about their approach. If we’re happy with what we hear, we consider them a strong candidate. If they don’t meet our standards, they do not have a place on our list.
If an agency has well-organized project management and reporting processes, it will take between three and six weeks to complete a standard project. That said, larger corporate or global naming projects could take much longer.
When it comes to pricing, the cost of name development at a company naming agency will depend on several factors. Firstly, the type of project or size of the company will be considered. The more research is needed, the more money you will end up paying. The pricing will also change depending on whether you simply need a name or other branding services as well, like logo design, etc. That said, during our research, we look for companies that fall within the industry standard and offer good value for money.
Now that you know what we look for, it’s time to focus on your specific requirements. To help you with that, we’ve listed some helpful tips that will ultimately take you to the perfect candidate for your naming project.
What are your naming goals? It is your job to present this to the agency, as well as your company’s values and mission. Before approaching a naming outfit, think about your goals, target audience, challenges, and more. You should be as articulate as possible when interviewing potential candidates.
Even if the business name consultant has experience in your industry, remember, they can never be as knowledgeable in the field as you are. Essentially, they must be experts in what they do with some experience in your industry to analyze the competition and help you stand out in an overly saturated market.
Just because you like/don’t like a particular name, that doesn’t mean your customers will agree. Keep an open mind and allow the ideas to marinate before making a decision. You should put yourself in your customers’ shoes and not base your decision on your emotional reaction. That said, you should let the brand naming agency know if you are unhappy with the concept, tone, or construction and give them more direction. Be specific, but trust your naming partner as well — they are the experts after all.
Just because a company fits a particular mold, it doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Consider the agency’s size and services, but also remember that this should be a collaborative process and what you get is based on your relationship with the team. A cultural fit is as important as anything to develop a good and trusting work relationship.
While it is important to have a set budget, make sure you understand the costs involved in branding or rebranding beforehand. Choose a naming agency that meets the industry standards — this will help you establish a sufficient budget and eliminate the firms that are too expensive or suspiciously cheap. Ask several outfits for a proposal, and as you analyze their offers, you can match or tweak your budget.
You need to take a lot of factors into consideration when naming a new company — find a name that simple, yet scalable, creative and original, while making sure it is not in any way inappropriate or offensive and not copyrighted. You also need a name that lends itself to a strong domain, and that is visually appealing. If that seems like too difficult a task, you can opt for a professional service to take care of all that and more for you.
There are a lot of variables that determine the price of naming a company, including the industry and research needed. Also, you have to consider whether you want your brand name to match your domain name, which would also cost extra. With all these factors and more, it is near impossible to come up with an accurate cost, although a wide ballpark figure could be between $2,000 and $75,000 for name brand development if you go with a specialized company.
Again, a lot of factors can influence the timeframe so it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. One thing you can control in this regard though is having clear ideas and goals in mind — this will shorten the period of research of your naming partner. In any case, make sure you ask the naming agency for a timeline while keeping in mind that a shorter deadline might come with a heftier price tag.