How to Choose a Brand Naming Agency

Creating a brand name for your company or product is a real challenge for many reasons. First of all, it’s not something you do every day. Secondly, you are trying to create a strategic asset that will need to last a long time, possibly the life of your business. Finally, you probably want a name you are going to like, even love, and one your customers will remember and love as well. So, how do you go about choosing a brand naming agency?

The good news is there are many talented people and companies set up to help you create and protect a brand name. Here are some thoughts to consider when looking for a naming agency or individual.

Brand Naming Agency Considerations

How high are the stakes?

If you are looking to create a name for a one-off event, a feature within a product or service, or a temporary business effort, you may want to hire an individual namer or writer who has developed names before. This will still require a good deal of hands on involvement from you or your marketing team. On the other hand, if you are looking to create a brand name for one or more products or services, or for your company, you most likely want to hire an agency. Brand naming agencies are consultative as well as creative. They play a strategic as well as creative role in name development and have the experience to help you manage the process. An investment in a good naming strategy agency will not only lift the burden of naming from your shoulders, it will greatly increase your likelihood of getting that strategic brand asset you are looking for.

What are the agency’s capabilities?

Look for brand naming agencies whose portfolios contain names your recognize. Don’t restrict yourself to looking for agencies with direct experience in your industry,  but do look for notable brand names that have achieved some success. Also look for recent naming work. Consider how the agency named themselves, and what sort of voice and personality they project on their web site or other marketing materials. You should look not just for their capabilities, but for a personality you think might work with that of your company or team. Do you want a maverick? A thoughtful and experienced team? A super-creative team? Use this review of capabilities to find a few agencies that warrant a phone call or meeting.

How do they respond to your challenge?

Don’t just send an RFP to a bunch of companies – you’re likely to get back a number of proposals with similarities and differences that may feel like you are comparing apples to oranges. The best way to determine whether an agency can help you is to talk to them. Schedule a call – or a face to face meeting, if they are in your area – to talk through your needs and have them present their capabilities to you. What sort of questions do they ask? Do they seem to understand your business and your challenge? Do they have a process that seems to fit with your organization’s? How did they go about solving other client’s similar or different challenges? How have they handled trademark and URL challenges in the past? How will they assure you that their names won’t embarrass you with inadvertent linguistic, religious, or cultural misperceptions? Who is the team who will work on the assignment? Is it the team meeting with you now, or someone else? Establishing a comfort level with an experienced agency is critically important,  because naming is a collaborative effort. You need to know you are working with someone you would actually like to work with on this project.

Did they answer the call?

When it comes time to review proposals, consider whether they’ve demonstrated an understanding of your unique naming challenge. Look for a clear process, and ensure you understand every step. Review their terms and conditions to ensure they are not putting any undue burdens on you or your team. Be suspicious of very low pricing. Naming is a significant effort that requires strategic and creative work resulting in significant time and cost. Finally, persistence is important. Look for a strong commitment to getting you and your company to a viable name.

If you follow the above steps, you are likely to find a brand naming agency who can be instrumental in the creation of your new brand, and enjoy the process as well.

Interested to learn more about brand naming? Read our article on: 4 Steps to the Brand Naming Process

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