Naming Strategies for Consulting Companies

For consulting firms and other start up companies, few items are more important than the company brand name itself. Without a strong and compelling brand identity, most companies get lost in a sea of sound-alike, descriptive or meaningless names. The most common mistake is simply using the owner’s initials or surname (e.g. FJZ Associates or RW Jones Consulting). Not only are these names forgettable, but they create an additional obstacle if the company grows, the owner wants to take on a partner, or eventually sell the business. What new business owner wants someone else’s name on the front door? No one, unless the names is E.F. Hutton, or a legacy brand that has earned its reputation over time. Most new businesses don’t have the luxury of time to build their brand message. So what are some successful naming strategies for consultants? Let’s take a look.

Rather than taking the predictable path of a mediocre company name, why not create something that helps to provide a sense of the company’s meaning, purpose and direction? Here are a few such naming strategies, specifically for consulting companies.

1. Build the company name on a key attribute

With this approach, you center the company’s brand identity on a core strength. For example, IT consulting company Claricent, chose their name based on their ability to provide clear, insightful knowledge about business information systems. Agilent Technologies is another company name based on this type of naming methodology. Key attribute brand names work well if you want to be known for not just what you do, but more importantly, how you do it. They differ from purely invented names in that they contain a morpheme, or word part, that has intrinsic meaning. An added bonus to this type of naming exercise is that it forces you as an owner to determine your pivot point, or core value proposition.

2. Base the business name on positive connotations

This is one of our favorite naming strategies. It involves the use of timeless “perennial” words to create new, positive sounding, brand names. OnStar is a great example of how GM used two positive words, “On,” and “Star,” to create a blended name that speaks to intelligent navigation. A wealth management company Parkworth, used the positive imagery of a park like setting, combined with the richness of the word “worth.” Together they communicate a sense of natural financial growth. Also a mortgage advisor went with the name BrightPath. Again, it underscores a sense of guidance and direction, attributes important in the consulting field.

3. Choose a metaphor to develop a new company name

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then a metaphor brand name can convey a host of attributes with one mental snapshot. If, as a consultant, you are known for being at the leading edge, the point of the spear in your industry, you may use a metaphor such as a trident, javelin or arrow. You may need to add a word to these names to further customize them and obtain the matching domain name, such as ArrowPoint, or Trident First, etc. One logistics company that wanted to be known for their speed and agility, was named Bluefin, after one of the world’s fastest fish. An investment banking firm went with the name FourBridges, since they “bridged the middle market” and connected companies with capital. It also helped that they had four partners and resided in Chattanooga, TN, a city with four rivers.

By utilizing key attribute, positive connotation and metaphor naming strategies for your consulting company, you can give yourself a head start when introducing yourself to potential clients. Instead of stumbling with an awkward acronym name, or spelling out a difficult last name, you can segue from your core strengths right into your product and service offerings. Tungsten, the wire in Edison’s light bulb, often sparks a conversation about clarity, insight and brilliance. So plug in some of these company naming strategies and see what ideas they generate. And if need some extra “juice,” just flip our switch and we’ll provide some company brand names designed to make you and your company shine.