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Where do I go to, a studio or an agency? | Slangbusters Blog
Jul 17, '19

Where do I go to, a studio or an agency?

A business needs a name which is not necessarily supposed to describe how it works and sometimes mixing the two may lead to confusion. A poor first name is a different story altogether, but what about the second name?

Adding a second name like 'consultancies' or 'media' going to make things easier for a potential customer to understand what you do, right?


It could be the case that using familiar words make it relatable and hence gives an idea about what the company does but they could also end up creating a sense of ambiguity if they're thrown around haphazardly.

If the aim is to position a company in a very specific field of work, then yes.

To differentiate between Apollo Tyres from Apollo Pharmacy we're entirely dependant on the second name to understand what market they operate in. It could create a strong sense of positioning for the company and it helps associate the name with what they do.

But wouldn't 'TCS' have called itself 'Tata Consultancies' if this were so effective?

Blue Ribbon Sports, Apple Computers, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company…sounds a bit off, does it not? Customers know what they want and telling them what you do before who you are could be redundant. Because if the second name is too direct it could limit expansion or if it's too vague then it may seem confusing.

Since communication media has numerous spheres of operation (like print or digital), it would not make sense to add 'media' as a second name to a company that operates in only one or a few of them.

Such words are specifically vague.

Say there's a branding studio called 'Freefall Communications', a studio that is supposed to do branding, which includes elements like naming, communicating with the customers through design, packaging, and other elements.

The irony would fall strong if they can't name their own brand distinctly and no one would expect them to communicate efficiently for somebody else's brand.

As you can see, multiple questions may arise when you hear any of these specifically vague words.

Is Freefall Communications a network operator like Vodafone?

Is Freefall Communications a media company?

Is Freefall Communications the company that built the computer that Rakesh Roshan used to communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life?


'Oceanand Consultants'

Are they a legal consultancy or an accounting consultancy?

Do they give general life advice?

Do they just consult and don't really do anything in real life?

You could always ask more questions.

An easy (and ineffective) way around these questions is to add a middle name which explicitly mentions such as "design" or "law" etc. but such words aren't helpful from a naming perspective as they might appear too cliche to try out or they become too direct.

Because our brains are conditioned to notice what stands out, the name will disappear in an ocean of cliche company names without making a significant impact on people's minds.

Lay down picture of ripe red and green tomatoes
Naming a company isn't the same as naming a person since it requires research, a process and not just a choice of name.

If your daughter seems too bright for her young age and you decide to name her 'Lisa McSmartypants' you can't just expect her classmates to take your word for it.

So who names a company? A branding studio or an agency.

Questions arise yet again,

1. Choosing a branding agency or a branding studio?

2. How to choose a branding agency?

3. Is a branding studio the same as a branding agency?

4. What is the difference between a branding studio and a branding agency?

5. What does a branding studio do?

An agency is like an army of craftsmen like stonemasons, bricklayers, painters and supposed to be a one-stop-shop to all advertising, marketing, and branding solutions. They're supposed to develop strategies, create campaigns, conduct research and build on the feedback for their clients, it offers a universal set of solutions to business problems which contains all the other subsets inside them.

A large workforce makes the structure complex and hence they prioritize logic over any other factor because of this the brand is in control of the agency, not the company itself.

Most Agencies mean business and offer a specialist approach.

A Studio, however, usually has deep generalists in their area of work with a minimal but effective workforce. With the workforce of a few craftsmen, their approach perfectly suits the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises as a small workforce is easier to coordinate and collaborate with.

Since creativity is the biggest motivator here they resemble a guild-like association which prefers magic over plain old logic. Like a potter who creates a vessel with their clients for the brand to grow into, a brand is built on a vision and a studio collaborates with their clients instead of working for them.

Studios and Agencies aren't exclusive of each other as Agencies often need the help of a specialist in certain fields and work through collaboration depending on the Agency's model of working. Some Agencies often outsource work to different studios i.e branding, PR, Advertising, etc. in their respective specializations and assemble them like a team to work for the brand, almost like subcontractors.

Agencies could fall back on the size and complexity of their structure.

On the other hand, the quality and efficiency of a studio for specific tasks seem to be far more creative and unique when compared to an Agency since they have an advantage of a smaller and more determined workforce which is easier to handle and work with.

Over time deep generalists beat specialists.

— by Nisarg Avashia, Copywriter, Slangbusters Studio

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