Naming firms

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Unlike their full service marketing counterparts, naming firms specialize entirely in the linguistic art and science of product and company onomastics. Currently there are about 35 naming firms globally.[1] Naming has become big business, with some larger companies investing upwards of $500,000 to create a new brand name. One of the big drivers has been pharmaceutical corporations with their growing pipeline of new medicines, each needing its own place in the market. This demand, combined with stringent naming criteria of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has caused many in the healthcare field to look for expert assistance. In addition available domain names have become increasingly scarce, with over 85 million names registered as of 2005. This places an additional brand burden on emerging internet based firms.

Typically, naming firms charge anywhere from US$30,000 to US$80,000 or more to develop a company or product brand name. This will often include the creation of a list or multiple lists of brand name candidates, suggested tag lines or positioning statements, the domain name status of each name, and (depending on the firm), logo design/corporate identity. The fees may also include market research and consumer focus group testing. Many naming firms will also provide trademark services as part of their process. Once the exclusive realm of Fortune 500 companies, an increasing number of small business owners and consultants have turned to industry-specific professionals for name development and acquisition.

For those who go it alone, most naming professionals advise to run any potential new name through their government's trademark database (For example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office for US only brand names) as a starting point, and to check state and local web sites as well. Almost every naming firm will advise potential new businesses to run a self-created list of names by a trademark attorney for added safety. There are considerable legal expenses in the trademark screening process. Many trademark applicants narrow their list of potential name choices, securing legal counsel for trademark registration and application activities.

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