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How important is your company's name?

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Cory FisherHow important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:20:57 pm

So, my wife and I have been working in production for 12 years each (she's a writer/producer, I'm an editor) and we're exploring the option of starting our own firm. There's a lot to consider and organize, of course, but here's a detail we've had some conversation about: What's in a name? I've seen so many production companies give themselves whimsical names like (and I'm making these up) 'Fruit Salad Productions' or 'Hot Tamale Filmworks'. Is there benefit, when building a business, to grabbing attention to yourself with a catchy name? Is 'Fisher Productions' too utilitarian compared to 'Awesome Sauce Media Solutions'? We want to do good work for good clients. Assuming that our product compares to anyone else's as far as quality and service, should we consider a more "exciting" name? Thanks.


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Mark SuszkoRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:32:53 pm

Names that are too cryptic bug me. A good name can have some whimsy but IMO should in the end still identify something of what the company does.

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Nick GriffinRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:37:19 pm

Todd?? You probably have some of the best insight into this out of the many people here.

I named my company what I did all those years ago because I had a core following of clients who were coming over because it was me. The result was such a generic name that there are several with the same name sprinkled across the country.

Now we're looking into a re-naming/re-branding to increase the acceptability of someone other than me being a contact point and provider of the services. So, as you can see, there are arguments for going either way.

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Fernando MolRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:42:02 pm

If your company name already has some local recognition, you already have branded it. You may want to modify it adding or tweaking something in the name to keep the actual value.

There are exceptions, of course, but short, memorable names have an extra value. Having a meaningful name will give an extra value to a new company.

Personally I don't like names of creative business that are called creative themselves. If you're creative, get an original name.

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Mark SuszkoRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 4:52:45 pm

Fischer Productions doesn't sound like a bad name, and you could haev "fun" with a really nice logo treatment and brand color while keeping the name plain and simple.

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Cory FisherRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:14:51 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I think there is a balance to be struck between a straightforward name(yet bland) and a clever name (yet confounding). I sometimes pre-judge *Whimsy* Productions as being, perhaps less reliable. That's probably unfair, but it's how I react. On the other hand, if that name brings in a cold client, obviously your work can speak for itself from there.

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Rich RubaschRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:34:43 pm

In our midwestern town about 80 percent of the companies are named after the owner...never was much for it. I went with Tilt Media because it sounded good off the tongue, didn't pigeon hole us into one thing and a few other reasons. I also liked the "circle T" for the logo. One more major reason..... was available.

We are naming our studio with a different name so first I made sure we could buy the domain before we settled on a name. Can't reveal what we came up with but it does not have my name.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Nick GriffinRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:42:30 pm

[Cory Fisher] "if that name brings in a cold client, obviously your work can speak for itself from there."

I don't think that ever happens. Production is a high-ticket / high-risk proposition. You'll pick up a new brand of breath freshener from an end-cap display in a supermarket because you like the clever name. For a high dollar item like production the prospect's brain is saying, "A clever production company? Aren't they all clever? Who do I know that would know someone who will give me what I paid for and not get my butt hung out to dry by senior management because I made an impulsive decision?"

The one major exception I've seen to this was a production company out of Austin who six years ago was running an ad directed at agency creative types using the headline:"We get you l*id on a Hand-*** budget." On that basis you had to at least go their website and watch the demo reel. (Unless you're a female creative director, then it was pretty offensive. Funny, but offensive.)

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Mark SuszkoRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:57:13 pm

Well, Nick, That kind of strategy kind of self-selects the clientele, doesn't it?

I think people with super-wierd company names pick obscure hipsterish names to seem really cutting-edge, or to shake off the "commoners" by not being so easy to find - nothing much in-between.

"They seem to be so devil-may-care about their name, they must not only be fabulously creative but also so successful they don't give a fling if more customers find them or not. Let's use THEM!".

I dunno. For every "Mach Twelve Orange Vapor, Ltd.", there's also an "RSA". Obviously Ridley Scott IS the brand already, and trying to tart up the name is wasted effort.

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Todd TerryRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:49:51 pm

Well, since Nick called me out, I'll respond....

Many of us are usually in the business for marketing to other people... but remember that things like our names and logos are marketing for ourselves. I think they are important.

I believe your company name should give a glimpse or a hint of your attitude and style. What kind of work are you doing (or want to be doing)? If you are doing lots of white-collar corporate work, you might benefit from a "stuffier" more straightforward name. If you are doing more "fun" work that allows for more creativity, you might consider a name that is a bit more out there. If your own name has a lot of cachet in your area for whatever reason (let's say you're a well-known still photographer who is branching into video production), then using your name is probably the way to go.

Here at my company, Fantastic Plastic, we didn't want to be one of the straight-and-arrow stuffy crowd (of which there already was a presence in our city), so we went with something a little more out there. The logo design, too, was chosen to be in line with our personality as well. In addition to being a production company we are also a creative agency (we handle lots of ad campaigns from the concept on up) so we wanted something that showed at least a hint of creativity.

No matter what you pick, you might second guess yourselves later. A few instances in our case... our company was started when we were developing a feature film project... hence the full name is Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. Well, we mostly do advertising now and not so much "entertainment," but the name is still around. Secondly... our company was started just a bit before most people even knew what the internet was. When that came along a few years later, naturally we wanted to own the domain but it was unavailable (owned by a used record store in Seattle). We had to buy the domain off of them, and believe me it wasn't cheap. Maybe if I were starting today I'd do some domain name searching before officially naming a company, just to make sure it's available.

You also don't want a company name that easily confuses you with anyone else. In our case, there is also a UK independent record label company called Fantastic Plastic, and we occasionally get their emails (their domain is, but everyone apparently just types ".com").

I was also unaware at the time of the name picking there is a music group called the Fantastic Plastic Machine (actually, a single Japanese electronic music artist whose real name is Tomoyuki Tanaka). Weirdly enough, one of the people the Fantastic Plastic Machine has worked with is a well-known house music producer named Todd Terry. Wildly coincidental.

We're often asked how our name came about. Actually, a zillion years ago I read a magazine article about Los Angeles that was titled "Hollywood: A plastic, fantastic place." I just like the way the words sounded together, and thought they gave good representation of the "plasticness" of what we do, where so much that looks real is really quite phony. It was, incidentally, unknown to me that Jefferson Airplane had a song called "Fantastic Plastic Lover" which is, interestingly enough, about television.

For a few years, we would occasionally get the "What kind of adult novelties do you sell" phone calls, but those have tapered off.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mike CohenRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:59:29 am

Our name, Ciné-Med, describes the company in a word "medical film"
We now do more than that, but the name is here to stay, as is the logo

There does happen to be a Mediterranean Film festival by the same name, purely a coincidence! What else would they name it? Medi-Cine sounds too clinical.

When I am looking for a production company to hire in a remote location, the name doesn't matter. The experience, the gear and the talent are what's important. Last week I had a heating contractor at my house. His company is called A1 Service. About as generic as you can get, but it was a direct referral from the manufacturer's website. If the name was Toasty Toes or Heatwave Inc. I might actually have been weary.

Tell me what you do, how you do it, how much it costs and who I make out the check to.

Mike Cohen

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Alan LloydRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 8:20:22 pm

Mike - I seem to recall working with an outfit called Medi-Cine quite a few years ago, when they came into town, I think it was twice.

It was a referral from a third party who wasn't taking that project, passing it off to me instead.

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grinner hesterRe: How important is your company's name?
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 5:04:44 pm

Staying top of mind is important for any business. In the creative industry, folks create company names that'll not only stick in people's heads, but offer a glipse into the personality of the company. It can back fire though. A good example in my market is a cool place called Fat Chimp Studios. I love the name but so few remember it thay call it everything but. They hear Chubby Monkie, Harry Ape... lol
I went with Grinner Hester LLC because I'm just a one man band and my time is what is being purchased. The last thing you want is to sound like a law firm. With a name like grinner, I was safe there.

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