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What do I name my agency?

While this does take some brainstorming- unless you are a naming natural- it can be solved through a process driven by finding commonalities. Whether it’s an agency, sole proprietorship, or partnership, finding a name can be difficult. Here are some easy techniques to follow to get you to your perfect name.

Step 1: Brainstorm

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

— Alexander Hamilton

Standing for something indicates that your future brand is significant and has something to say. Since you, and the people at your agency, are the face of your brand, it’s important to convey who you are. Make a list of what characteristics define you or your group to hone in on defining qualities.

What do you want to be known for?

Understanding what you bring to the table will help clarify the tone or tact you want to take. Write out a mission statement and define the boundaries of your work. You may expand this at some point by partnering with others, but this core competency should be unique to the company you are trying to start.

What type of work do you produce?

Make a list of adjectives that describes the kind of work you and your team produces. Whether it’s funky, eclectic, or funny, the tone you have for your agency will help define the type of name you choose.

Get out the thesaurus.

While you might have picked some great adjectives, sometimes there is a word that has greater associations to what you are trying to convey. For the words you found have the greatest meaning, try looking them up in a thesaurus for extra inspiration.

Step 2: Creating associations and combinations

Creating unique combinations of words can help bring creativity to the forefront after a listing activity. Throw out a bunch of combinations, even if they don’t quite make sense to try and get a feeling for what words are necessary and what words you could leave behind.

If you feel like you’re close, discover what is driving the word combination and then try to find your motivation for that choice. For example, you may want to call yourself “Rapt Creative” because your ideas engage target audiences. If it doesn’t feel quite right, try following the storytelling rule of thumb, “Show don’t tell.” Maybe instead of saying “Creative” find something that demonstrates it.

Step 3: Removing alternatives

Once you have a list of contenders, read through the list to determine which names don’t make sense, are already in existence, or don’t excite.

Next, think about searchability. If someone doesn’t type in the full name of your agency, what type of results do they get? Is your name searchable so that someone looking for marketing, social, or creative in their area might be able to find you? This may be a reason to include your core competency in your name but decide if that works for you or not.

Once you have a pared down list, run it by someone familiar with the area you would like to target or begin operations in to see if it might resonate with local clients. You may want to run it by multiple people, to see if anyone has any particular associations that went undiscovered.

Step 4: Pick a name

Even if it does not completely jive with the area, it may be perfect for you. Just because it’s unexpected or different, doesn’t mean that the name can’t be completely successful. For more stories about how some large agencies chose their names, check here.

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