What's in a name?

The challenge of choosing a new name for an established company can make it hard to see the forest for the trees.

Marty Drill

By Marty Drill 4 minute read

The team survey results were in. Gulp.

We had surveyed our team about what they thought of our company name. I opened the spreadsheet and my eyes darted through the comments about our company and brand, and one response in particular jumped out at me. I remember it word for word:

“I almost didn't apply for the job when I first saw it advertised. The only reason I did was because my friend worked there, and she begged me to look past the name ‘Get Started’ and apply anyway.” 

Look past our name? Are you serious? We were one of the longest-standing digital agencies in the country, with a huge list of blue-chip clients. Didn’t this person know who we were? 

Fair to say, my immediate reaction was to feel pretty annoyed. I couldn’t understand why anyone would not want to work here because of the name ‘Get Started’. However, this person was a senior team member in our company, and the idea that they might not have worked here because of the name scared the hell out of me. 

What were we missing? And more importantly, who else were we missing out on? 

After a few deep breaths – and a lot of chocolate therapy – I remembered that our people are far more important than the company name, and if we couldn’t attract them because of the name, then it was time to have a name that could... 

When we started out in 1999 we decided to call ourselves Get Started because we literally wanted to help businesses get started on this new thing called the internet. Over the years, as technology and our business changed, we had considered changing our name, though could never quite make the leap. 

Get Started was extremely relevant when we began. It was the name that attracted and developed such a large client base. Over time, we changed the meaning to be more focused on taking action, as we shifted our position in the market.

What’s in a name anyway? Who cares? Following the survey, it was clear that people did care and it was time to change our name. So begun a very long, and very tricky process.

We needed guidance and we decided to call in the big guns. When clients ask us, “Can I build my own website?”, our response is, yes of course you can, however you will get a better result if it is done by professionals. The same goes with creating a brand. We took our own advice and hired a brand agency called Seesaw to develop our new brand. Seesaw outlined a detailed process that would lead us to the Promised Land. 

Step one - conduct market research on our name

Seesaw surveyed some of our existing clients, our team and a range of people who didn’t know of us. The result from market testing of people who didn’t know us was that they thought we worked with micro businesses and startups. Well we did – about 15 years ago! The results compelled us to consider a new identity that matched our skills and who we are now. 

Step two - survey our team and clients

We surveyed our team and some of our clients to identify who we are, and what makes us unique. In this process we identified our brand pillars of Human, Real, Solid, and Bright. We liked these pillars. They felt right. From here, we could clearly identify what our name should be. 

Step three - choose a name

Choosing a company name is not unlike naming a child. It comes replete with advice books and well-wishers with strategies and ideas, largely advising you not to mess it up. You want your child's name to be unique, but not so unique that they have to spell it out their whole lives. The same goes with naming a company.

We read books on branding and choosing names. We listened to experts, spoke at length with family and friends. We scoured the internet for an agency name that was not taken. As the list of possible names grew, so did the list of rejected ones. Some were already in use, some were trademarked, or the domain name was not available. Others were just not quite right.

After a lengthy selection process (it took around 9 months, so the baby analogy is apt) and countless hours of research and discussions, there was finally an option on the table that met all the requirements. 

We tested the proposed name against our brand pillars and it was a match. We pretended to answer the phone with the name, and it flowed. We searched for domain names and the ones we wanted were available. We couldn’t believe it. We were on to a winner! 

So, it’s now time to leave the past behind and move forward. It’s time to have a name that truly reflects what we’ve become. A name that is Bright. Real. Human. Solid. A name to take us into the future. Read on to find out why we chose Luminary.

Got some questions about our rebrand? Read our Rebrand Q&A.

Want to tap into the expertise of an agency that’s been in operation since 1999?

Get in touch
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