With over 2,000 digital agencies using SEOptimer, we've seen our fair share of agency names! For startup digital agency founders, finding the right name can be a real challenge. After all, digital agencies are creative businesses. We expect an agency's creative abilities to be on display when they go to market. So much thought and research can go into a word or a few words that ultimately become the identity for the business.
Further complicating matters, domain names are snatched up quickly. While you might love the idea of simple marketing agency names like “your city + your industry,” chances are that’s been taken already too.
Today’s digital agency names sometimes look random on the surface (think: Kroon Studio or Comrade Web Agency) but in reality are anything but. We’ll break down why digital agencies choose the names they do and how you can find inspiration for the best agency names in your niche.
How to Choose a Good Agency Name
The best digital agency names will fit the personality of the brand, be attention-getting and easy to remember, and convey a sense of the agency’s specialty.
In the past, many agencies simply used the same formula as law firms or consulting companies: Partner A + Partner B + Partner C = agency name. Think of Mad Men’s Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and you’ll get the general idea.
Although it may be a nice self-esteem boost to name your company after yourself, it’s not memorable and doesn’t give potential clients any idea what your brand is like or what you do. Additionally, unusual last names are frequently misspelled or mispronounced while more common last names are confused with other companies.
But as with all things, there are some unique situations where your name might be a favorable option. If you are genuinely the 'face' of your brand and want to create a strong connection between you and your agency, using your name could be a good option. Consider a situation where you have an existing profile in your industry and you have certain methodologies and philosophies that you personally promote and evangelize. Using your name in your agency creates a natural extension of your thinking into a service business and allows that thinking to scale.
A great example of this is advertising legend David Droga (pictured above), who founded his agency Droga5 after many years working in advertising and building his reputation as an advertising creative who told great stories in his work.
Agency Names – How it All Began
When deciding on the best agency names, it might be tempting to just copy the big fish. We don’t recommend this strategy, partially because the biggest players tend to have idiosyncratic names that don’t make much sense unless you delve into the history behind the company.
According to WorldAtlas, the three largest advertising companies by global revenue are WPP Group, Omnicom Group, and Publicis Worldwide.
WPP, an English company, originally stood for Wire and Plastic Products (seriously) and kept the name as it grew and acquired other companies. Omnicom (omni=all; com=company) was formed as a holding company for several different companies, all with the traditional partner names. In a slightly more original take, Publicis Worldwide’s name is formed from the combination of the French word for “advertising” and the number 6 – the founder’s favorite number. Hey, why not, right?
These kinds of marketing agency names aren’t of much use to new agencies, though, since they don’t grab attention and immediately suggest the company’s niche. Furthermore, they are all large umbrella companies that have acquired many smaller groups with more specific business goals. So while they might be useful models when you are someday heading a major digital agency conglomerate, they won’t help you while just getting started.
A New Approach
The best marketing and design agency names today are catchy and immediately suggest the company’s niche.
Top-ranking digital firms specialize. They have risen through the ranks because they can offer their clients a tailored solution for their growth goals.
Figuring out a unique name is a crucial part of this strategy. There are literally hundreds of thousands of digital agencies for your clients to choose from and you only have a moment to make a good first impression. Your name is the first thing potential clients will see (or hear), so make sure it’s good.
You could take inspiration from your location like these agencies:
Or from your service offering niche like these agencies:
What About Agency Names Generators?
Many startups use a generator to come up with agency names ideas. While we recommend choosing something that is a bit more tailored to your clients’ marketing goals and pain points, generators can be a great way to brainstorm and get ideas flowing.
Namelix helps you come up with a name based on specific keywords. So, if you want your name to convey ideas like “creative social media marketing,” it will give you ideas based on those keywords.
AdAge is a little edgier and tends to generate attention-getting names, whereas Ad Agency Name Generator is more or less a free association machine.
Since the digital space is crowded with brands and names, though, this can be one way to find agency names ideas that no one has staked their claim to yet.
Can I Change Agency Names?
The short answer is yes, but it is difficult.
Your web domain will be registered under the name you choose when you start your digital agency and migrating everything over to a new platform later is a big headache. Couple that with new signage, business cards, stationery, graphics, logos, and so on, and there is a significant financial cost to changing names as well.
Marketing agency names are most often changed when acquired by or merged with a different company, and in that case a new company is technically being formed. So it’s really an opportunity to choose from new creative agency names.
Sometimes though it's all about alignment with parent / sister company names or consolidation of multiple offerings under the one name. A good example of this is New York-based SEO agency Path Interactive who rebranded as Amsive Digital in March 2021 following the launch of Amsive which was created as part of the Vision acquisition of SourceLink.
Another example of a high-profile agency rebrand was when Australian advertising agency Three Drunk Monkeys rebranded to The Monkeys back in 2011. At the time, the agency's founders said the reason for the rebrand was that "we're no longer three and no longer drunk". Having grown to over 70 people, the award-winning agency was on a roll. Earlier in the year they won Diageo's advertising account for Smirnoff. When the rebrand was announced, many in the industry speculated that the change was at the insistence of their new client!
Elements of Good Advertising Agency Names
The lines between traditional advertising and digital services have blurred significantly over the years, and ad agency names reflect this change. While some of the top firms, like Duncan Channon, hold to the old naming conventions, others like Cutwater and Traction are embracing the new era of pithy names.
If you are just starting out with a digital advertising agency, you want to choose a name with the following elements:
- Easy to remember
Marketing professionals are known for being creative and fun, so your name can reflect that. Startups often worry about sounding experienced and competent enough to attract new clients but choosing a stuffy name for that reason would be a mistake.
Instead, we recommend embracing the fact that digital marketing is fast-paced, original, and a little quirky. Don’t be afraid of grabbing your clients’ attention with a creative name.
Ideas and Inspiration
Some of the best agency names are short, catchy, and a little edgy.
Ideally, your name will reflect your business’s niche and core values. The creative spectrum encompasses a wide variety of specialties, and a digital marketing company is different from a broad-range advertising company. Your name should reflect who and what you are.
We’ve rounded up a wide range of examples across different digital creative industries to get your name-generating juices flowing.
For example, Taktical specializes in leveraging major ad platforms and optimizing social sharing, and its name implies strategy and specificity.
Similarly, clients like design agency names that suggest a modern, edgy take. The more creative and fast-paced the industry, the more useful a clever or even humorous name will be.
Take Rukus Creative Agency. A full-service firm, Rukus prides itself on being smart and agile. Its name leverages its youthful origin story – it’s founder started the company right out of college and it has grown quickly.
One of our favorite names is Ironpaper Marketing. An exclusive B2B digital marketing agency, Ironpaper was founded out of the belief that art and science should unite to drive solutions for its clients – hence the name Iron+Paper, where iron represents science and paper represents art.
Another on our list of best creative agency names is Digital Surgeons. This creative consultancy firm boasts of its ability to customize solutions for its clients, and its name suggests a targeted approach to its clients’ digital presence.
For bonus points, the name also implies competence and reliability, two big selling points in the digital marketing field.
A large, full-service advertising agency out of L.A. and New York, Giant Spoon has had some famous media collaborations, including with HBO favorite Game of Thrones. Positioning itself as unique and fresh but still authoritative, Giant Spoon got its name when the founders decided they wanted to “stir things up.” They’re known as an aggressive firm that’s on the forefront of up-and-coming niches like esports.
Another successful digital marketing agency, Ignite Visibility scores extra points in the naming category because it uses a verb associated with motion and energy as well as telling prospective clients exactly what they will get: increased visibility. Since they specialized in search engine marketing, this tells you why the service they provide is important.
Finally, don’t be afraid of simple names. While the rise of trendy, pithy names might lead you to christen your new agency “Monster Growth Nerve Burst,” that might be a bit too much for most prospective clients. SocialSEO is a digital marketing agency out of Colorado that helps clients increase their rankings in target markets. Now one of the highest-ranked digital marketing firms in the nation, SocialSEO got in the game relatively early and that is likely why it was able to secure a relatively simple and straightforward name.
When new agencies are pondering creative agency names, they should consider what specialized solution they offer to meet their clients’ pain points and try to choose a name that reflects that niche. Consider the competitor landscape and do in-depth research by emulating your prospective clients' journey. Do some Google searches, browse directories and agency review sites. By putting yourself in the client's shoes, you'll get a great sense of what types of names stand out, what names are memorable and how you can effectively position yourself uniquely within the landscape.
With the inspiration and tips, we’re confident that you'll choose the perfect agency name.