When you start your own PR agency, you must decide what to call it.
Your organization’s name is your first opportunity to make a strong impression on prospective clients, customers and business partners.
Here are a few name-choosing tips
Establish your business goals.
Personal branding is an important part of succeeding as a PR pro, which is why many practitioners’ firms use their own names. Consider, Edelman for example. It’s named after its founder, Daniel J. Edelman. I started my career at Lippe Taylor, a firm named for its founder, Maureen Lippe and her husband, Jerry Taylor.
Here’s insight from Lynch Communications Group principle, Molly Lynch:
"Clients can have trust in you when they see your name involved. It’s [part of] the old adage 'put your name on the door.' You can trust we’re going to deliver for you because my name is on this."
There are potential drawbacks to that approach, though. If your goal is to expand your team, you might want think about a name that more broadly addresses your clients and niche.
From Ryan Beshel, founder of SIX4 Creative:
"My intention is to work into a position where I have a team servicing all of my clients—brainstorming pitches, reaching out to media, planning events and marketing partnerships. I want my name to remain its own brand, but connect to different business ventures and inspire other projects that relate to me as an individual."
To browse available names online, use a search tool.
Show your creative side.
If your most important decision is naming your business, your second-most important decision is naming your website. Today’s PR pros have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting their ideal domain name.
The Eclipse Agency's Kim Livengood purchased her “dot-agency” (.agency) domain name at the suggestion of a web developer. She calls it her “digital calling card.”
"In most cases, the business name is your first impression. As they say, you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. As a boutique agency, we market ourselves as creative thinkers. The ‘dot-agency’ name shows that immediately. We receive tons of positive comments about the URL."
With more than 25 million “not-com” names registered since early 2014—about 10,000 per day and one every 10 seconds—it seems that naming trend is here to stay.
Dustin Floyd, co-founder of TDG, thinks “not-com” names are an attractive solution for organizations with lengthy or confusing domains.
"As a general rule, [marketers] are pretty bad at marketing themselves. We're our own worst clients, and if we've been in the biz a long time and things tend to be going well, we can get a little complacent. Not-com domains can present a great opportunity for agencies to streamline their own brands and distinguish themselves from competitors."
Choose a name that’s easy to spell—and say.
Your brand’s name should be clean and simple. When Floyd and his business partner purchased TDG, they inherited the brand’s long, clunky name—TDG Communications.
To simplify it, Floyd dubbed the agency “tdg” with the corresponding domain www.tdg.agency.
“It's short, it's easy to say on the phone, and it's easy for customers to remember,” he says.
Make your name a conversation starter.
When Steve Cody and Ed Moed founded their integrated marketing firm Peppercomm in 1995, they eschewed traditional naming conventions. Instead of using their own names, they named it after Cody’s dog, Pepper.
The name choice has differentiated Peppercomm from its competitors and helps Cody and Moed to build rapport with clients and prospects.
How did you choose your firm’s name, readers?
This post originally appeared on Ragan's PR Daily.
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.