Initials, Emos and Egos: the thorny problem of naming your agency

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Naming your agency is a major decision.

What’s in a name? After all, we have little say in the matter of our own moniker when we enter the world, and yet, for some strange reason, a ‘Burt’ always looks like a ‘Burt’ and you couldn’t ever imagine him being a ‘Sebastian’. And there you have it, shackled to the label imposed on you, not by brand experts or naming gurus, but by your legal guardians.

As an agency executive’s career grows and personal ambition flourishes, some feel ready for the next big step – to create their own little agency-shaped bundle of joy (and bloody hard work). Having taken the plunge, the first big creative decision is often ‘what shall we call it?’

Imagine the tingling creative glee when the time comes to name your own agency. If you’re pondering to yourself 'How do you encapsulate all that ambition, passion and creativity in one name?’ the answer, of course, is that you can’t.

A more useful way to spend your thinking time would be to look around and size up the options currently in the marketplace, a motley crew roughly organized into three groups.

First are ‘The Initials’, a hangover from the 80s era, when agencies were rock stars. Unlike today where the rock stars now stay up all night coding world domination for tech.

Secondly come ‘The Emos’, no, not the far-too-thin, pale, draped in black types, the emotional names that evoke a sense of plucky courage and purpose. Trying to capture the spirit of the time.

Thirdly, ‘The Egos’. These tend to be the Ancient Titans of the ad world. Thingy & Whatshisname. Think Sterling Cooper of Mad Men. Big clients, big budgets, big expense accounts and whiskey fuelled creative genius. This fast and loose approach is now consigned to the history books. (Or is it?)

In all seriousness, though, your company name is the first thing you say when you introduce yourself or pitch to potential clients. Invest time and careful consideration into getting it right. Do not settle. Make sure it’s bang on.

The fun part is in creating your brand identity. Carefully pouring over those favourite typefaces, beautiful kerning considerations and that just-so positioning, a process made all the better because no darstardly client opinions need to be appeased. That said, a word of advice, always test drive your creations - show a mate or the milkman. A fresh pair of impartial eyes is always so helpful.

So, there you have it - a genius never-used-before, stand out name for your brand new company. First priority is to snap up the domain name and social handles superfast, and don’t forget to grab the .net, .org, co.uk while you are there.

As soon as you register your name cyber squatters are lurking ready to buy up your domain name and sell it back to you at vastly inflated prices. They are pirates. Then you either pay up or resort to hyphenating or having to add ‘group’ or ‘hub’ to your fabulous name. Which is not, ideal, however if you have good SEO you can avoid annoying and confusing your clients.

Hopefully now you are armed with the tools to name without shame. Next step, world domination.

Marcus Bennett is creative director of integrated creative agency AB...

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