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A Rose by Any Other Name?
By: David Soyka
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I once did a project for a small (now defunct) marketing company called “Smells Like Green.” While I got what the owners of the firm were getting at with their name — a socially responsible ecological flavor to bringing clients the smell of the green, i.e., money, the increase of which would no doubt be due to the implementation of their marketing strategies — I thought it was perhaps not the best example of good branding. They were leaving themselves open to the obvious crude joke that a creative proposal smells more like, well, you can figure that out easily enough.
Picture this cocktail conversation. “Who is doing the marketing plan for your new product launch?” “Oh, it’s Smells.”
The name of my own company is ProseNet Communications, for which I am president and sole employee. This came about because I felt that as a mere freelance writer I was at a competitive disadvantage in losing corporate contracts to firms with names like WriteChoice and Wordsmith; these were basically just individuals like myself (the latter was a guy named Bob Smith, hence Wordsmith — clever huh?) who’d partner with a graphic designer or two and maybe a printer and pretend to be a full-service agency. So I decided I needed to hide behind a company nameplate so that corporate decision makers would feel more comfortable working with what seemed like an agency as opposed to just some guy who could write. This was about the time the Internet was just getting kickstarted, and most people called it the “Net” as opposed to the “Web.” The dot-com boom was starting to get booming, and I figured a techie-sounding name for someone who delivered prose primarily for telecommunications and computer companies sufficiently conveyed the meaning of my services in professional sounding way. And it sounded better than “Soyka Associates.”
That said, a name like Sterling Cooper has an elegance akin to the sleek suits worn by the fictional ad men. But I can understand that not everyone’s last names trip off the tongue as elegantly. And no one wants to sound like a law firm.
Everybody wants to stand out, and maybe a slightly off-kilter moniker for your agency might reflect your out-of-the-box-thinking. Or, maybe just that you weren’t thinking. Consider these Strangest Agency Names as reported by Adweek. My personal favorite is the Wexley School for Girls. Right away, you know they don’t have to deal with clients that don’t have a sense of humor; I envy their ability to be selective.

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About the Author
David Soyka is freelance copywriter who has conceptualized and developed a range of strategic advertising, marketing, training, and technical communications for  advertising agencies and Fortune 1000 companies in print, web, and broadcast formats. A former newspaper reporter and English teacher, he is a published author of ficiton and non-fiction, and a DJ at WTJU-FM. Find him online here.

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