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Forums Business & Career Building Naming a company: “Productions” vs “Creative” vs “Media” vs “Digital” vs “Studios”….

  • Naming a company: “Productions” vs “Creative” vs “Media” vs “Digital” vs “Studios”….

  • Joe Knapp

    October 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Something I’ve always wondered…When naming a video-related business, is there any ‘rule of thumb’ regarding a descriptor name in the business? Such as: Productions, Creative, Media, Digital, Studios, Films, Visual, Communications.

    Curveball: Let’s say you have a small company that gets video jobs, but then they outsource the production to another company (e.g. “XYZ Productions”). What kind of company should that small company call themselves?

  • Bill Davis

    October 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Purely my 2 cents.

    Mentally rank your terms in order of specificity from most to least … perhaps….


    In order of the list above:
    If you don’t work in celluloid as your primary deliverable, the Films is iffy.
    Visual bothers me because it could signal you don’t put much weight on sound.
    Creative is also specific in my mind, in that it tells me you work form the blank page so you might not be interested in being a role player on someone else’s project, unless it’s in a role where you can have end to end creative responsibility.
    Studios implies to me that you have a physical plant. Sure there are “virtual” studios, but it still implies lots of bodies. Is that what you are?
    Digital is where you start getting pretty non-specific. Heck, everything’s digital these days. So it offers little differentiation between your services and any one else in the modern sense.
    Media is nearly as bad as Digital on that score, A collage artist working with tissue paper is technically working in “media. The other big drawback is that media is pretty tied to radio and tv and newspapers. All struggling industries.
    Communications kinda lumps you in with the Motorola two way radio folks. Yikes!
    Productions is all that’s left. And likely why it’s so overused.

    Note that many of the top creative shops and companies have just dumped the descriptor all together.

    e.g. Cool, this content is from Bad Robot, or Lightiron, or PixelCorps

    Then all you need is either A) amazing work that makes people WANT to remember your name. Or B) a massive marketing budget to brand yourself without the “hit the nail on the head” descriptive text.

    I know all this is little help. But it’s the way it goes. You worry for days about the perfect business name, then discover that if people like you, they inevitably do the “law firm” thing, which is get tired of saying the long formal law firm name of Rawlings, Burrus, Keiwit and Davis – and just say, “Go to “Rawlings” and pick up the contract”

    So you end up obsessing with all that effort, and people don’t use ANY of it in the real world.

    And so it goes.

    Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out – video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

  • Mark Suszko

    October 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Personally, I HATE company names that are deliberately ambiguous. Is it a bar, a strip club, a trendy coffee house or art gallery, or WHAT?!?!?

    My own subjective take:

    “Communications” in a name can signify a range of platforms and services including PR work and various media.

    Studios to me implies actual production facilities on the location.

    Creative or Productions to me implies a shop mostly concerned with creating and then managing an overall project or campaign, ergo: an ad agency.

    Media to me implies distribution first and production second.

  • Todd Terry

    October 6, 2014 at 1:40 am

    [Mark Suszko] “I HATE company names that are deliberately ambiguous. Is it a bar, a strip club, a trendy coffee house or art gallery, or WHAT?!?!?”

    Mark’s just cranky because he had to explain to his wife that he only ordered a coffee but accidently got a lap dance.

    On the upside, Spice Latte got a great tip.

    Personally, I kinda like the obscure names… but only when they are really good obscure names.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Joe Knapp

    October 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    LOL, Mark, you dog… I’m sure there was a lot of ‘art’ on display, too. 😉

    Seriously though, good perspectives, fellas. Bill, you make some great points about the connotation of the descriptors, particular about the “creative” not wanting to play well with others. I think we all agree that ‘Studio’ sounds physical. Mark is probably right about the distribution connotation of ‘Media’.

    The problem my buddy was running into is that the names he wanted were all taken online. So, “XYZ” is already long been registered, so he was considering “XYZ-Creative”, “XYZ-Media”, etc. Brainstorming new GOOD names is much harder than you would think. At the end of the day, you would hope a name wouldn’t matter, but I can see how a decent name might pique a potential customer’s interest, even if slightly.

  • Todd Terry

    October 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Just couple observations…

    [Joe Knapp] “Brainstorming new GOOD names is much harder than you would think.”

    No, I think we all know that’s really hard… been in on many a session where people wrestled with a company name.

    [Joe Knapp] “problem my buddy was running into is that the names he wanted were all taken online.”

    Well I’m glad you recognize the importance of that, because many people do not. Make SURE you pick a name that you can register a clear .com name for. Again, .com. Not .net, .org, .biz, or any of the other suffixes. People AUTOMATICALLY type .com no matter what the actual suffix is. There is a British record company with the exact same name and domain as ours… only our suffix is .com and theirs is We get TONS of their email, because people just type .com as a default. If you think you really are more of a .net or a .org, only go with those if you can ALSO get the .com. Here, the real domain is, but if you type it will also forward you here, because the COW gurus were smart enough to register both.

    And make sure it’s a clear-and-easy domain name. No hyphens or anything weird like that. Don’t try to do anything cute, like using a number instead of a word unless you can ALSO get the domain spelled the “usual” way as well. If you want to name a company “Kool Cre8ive Stuff,” that’s fine and go ahead and register but ONLY if is also available. If you are a hipster (check to see if you have a goatee and/or are wearing black skinny jeans) and your company name ends in _____worx or ____werks or ____werx, only use those if you can also get _____works.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Mark Suszko

    October 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Werx sounds more German.

    I can also assure you, there is never any actual sex in the Champagne Room. Ever.

    Todd, you’ve mentioned before that your company name has drawn you mail and “awards” from companies that market to the plastics industry. When I search your company name it also gives hits on a company that makes plastic model kits for hobbyists. So I maintain there is a good reason for avoiding ambiguity in the company name choice, and adding one of these disambiguating designators like “Productions”, “Media”, “Creative”, or whatever.

  • Nick Griffin

    October 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    [Mark Suszko]
    “Communications” in a name can signify a range of platforms and services including PR work and various media.”

    Yes. Exactly. When I named my company Griffin Communications it was 1) Pre-internet, 2) Used to connote the wide variety of types of communications in which we work (ads, PR, web, photography and these days with the strongest emphasis placed on video) and 3) Using one’s name (or in some cases including the names of the key partners) indicated a degree of standing up and not hiding behind an ambiguous or overly cute name. (No offense intended, Todd. Your name is perfectly appropriate for someone who has an aluminum Christmas tree in his lobby.)

    In my experience people like doing business with people and putting one’s name out is a succinct way of doing that.

    [Todd Terry] “Make SURE you pick a name that you can register a clear .com name for.”

    In 1995 we put in an application, through the ISP which was how it was done in those days, for and missed getting it by a matter of days, so I settled for a contraction of Griffin Communications. Later I thought to register my first and last name as a .com, which is aliased to our website. (Oddly enough the Letterman writer and stand-up comedian of the same name has never contacted me to buy it, but instead did a .net for his site. Wish he was funnier.)

  • Lowell Niles

    October 9, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Think about SEO.

    If someone is to search for a business on google or yelp, not knowing that you exist, what words would that person enter in the search field? Luckily, google analytics can tell you popular search terms. You can even rank the terms listed above and see which are more popular search terms.

    Since most people find businesses online now, I would base my company name on that.

    For example, someone looking for a video to be made might search google for “professional video production”. If they are in your area, they might pull up yelp and search nearby for “video production company”. If your business has “video production company” in the name, it will probably be listed in the first results.

    Of course, if your business can grab the domain name matching your preferred terms, even better.

    Lowell Niles
    Creative Director, Sunword Studios

  • Matt Wilson

    January 12, 2015 at 2:54 am

    What about “Videography” or “Video Production” at the ending? XYZ Videography or XYZ Video Production. I am changing the name of my video production company because what we do has changed and originally we liked the tag line we had.

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