What's in a name?

Posted on 27th September 2019

When trying to name a fledgling business, Shakespeare makes a valid point.  What is in a name? Should you be functional and tell your clients what you do straight off the bat, be aspirational or just name the business after yourselves?  Our belief, just like in the quote from Romeo and Juliet, is a rose will still smell as sweet, whatever you call it.  For us a brand name is about what it comes to stand for, rather than just the name itself.

It was just this discussion that kicked off our brand journey, on a rainy river bank in the north of Scotland.  The fishing was slow, but the wind wasn’t, in fact it was so windy we had to retreat back to the lodge to get ourselves heard!

We quickly discounted naming the company after ourselves.  With names like Riesco and McCorquodale you can understand why! One consideration was Elara - a combination of our first names and also a moon of Jupiter (after Jupiter Asset Management where we first met). However, in a business where we want to create a culture of shared responsibility, entrepreneurialism and a flat hierarchy, any self-appreciation was quickly taken off the table.

We looked across at the beautiful hills and river in Scotland for inspiration.  Our combined love of water, across all sports was a great place to start. Some of the more comical suggestions came from the names of fishing flys: Hairy Mary, Willie Gunn, Monkey or from the names of the pools or hills themselves: Cragon, Saliscraggie, Bridge pool.  100 suggestions later and much laughter, we were no closer to naming the business.

Moving onto more functional names felt like a good next step.  ‘Bridge’ stood out for us as our core offering is to help clients’ ‘bridge-the-gap’ with their marketing resources and to help them reach their business goals.  However, this is where it started to really get difficult.  No matter what name we came up with, functional or aspirational, there was already another marketing company in existence.  A real favourite was Jove (the roman name for Jupiter) until we found a similar business in the US had just rebranded to this.

A few months later, after many strawman tests and consultations with friends and family, we were huddled round my kitchen table with my 12 year old son. Ella was talking about her love for sailing and her fathers first boat, an Oyster.  My son Harry exclaimed that was a great name, or if it was about the sea, how about Reef.  I have always been believer that everyone, no matter what seniority can have a great idea.  And that is how Oyster Marketing & Communications (OMC) and our REEF process was formed.  From the innocent excitement of a child.

But a name isn’t a brand.  A brand only comes to life when you can articulate, live and breathe the purpose of that brand.  Why do we exist and what does that mean for our clients? For us our core values are focused purely on our clients and to delight them with creative, insightful marketing and communication ideas. By bringing a fresh perspective to marketing challenges, and delivering results with flexibility, clarity and grit, our mission is to go above and beyond to deliver the solutions that help our clients stand out and meet their business goals - and to have fun while we do it.

It goes without saying that we hold firm to our belief that a name is only a name until you build a solid brand and reputation around it.  We will not be serving oysters at any parties, nor brandishing phrases like the world is your oyster, or a pearl of an idea!  Instead we will remain focused on delivering the best class of work for our clients and leave it to them and the market to decide what’s in our name.  


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