It never fails. At some point, before our discovery call/meeting is finished with a new client, the question inevitably comes up:
“What does your name Protocol Red mean?”
Most people agree the name sounds cool and edgy. And it’s not like we’re the first marketing company to have an abstract name. But it is interesting how many people are interested enough to ask for the meaning of our name.
As a group, we have handled half a dozen corporate branding and rebranding projects in our career. The entire process is both exciting and exhausting (both mentally and even physically). Whether you are a brand new company with a blank canvas, or an established company that is changing it’s name (usually due to trademark issues that force this upon the company), there are some parts of the process that remain consistent.
For us, we felt a lot of pressure to come up with a the name of all names. It wasn’t an easy process, but we knew enough by now to enjoy the journey and see where we wind up.
We started out by establishing our expectations and parameters we wanted our new name to abide by. There are many types of categories you can run with for a company name:
– Descriptive (digital & strategic marketing group, LLC)
– Combining two words (digimark LLC)
– Personal (RAK digital marketing, LLC)
We knew from the beginning that we wanted a name from the final category: abstract. We wanted a modern name that was full of intrigue and had an edge to it. So we went to our trusty friend and began compiling and combining lists of adjectives and words we liked. We narrowed our list down to 12 words that conveyed an appropriate amount of mystery, attitude and relevance.
We knew that there was a very good chance our name would be more than one word. However, we were also aware of the need to keep the name as short as possible. It can’t be something too hard to pronounce or spell. So we made sure to be cognizant of that as we got further into the process.
The word “protocol” was one of the more popular choices on this short list.
Including the word “red” was something I personally pushed for from the very beginning. There were a number of reasons, professional and personal. Red has always been my favorite color. From a business standpoint, I really liked the idea of selecting a color that isn’t the obvious choice. When you study color theory, you learn some basic truths about certain colors, and how consumers perceive them. For example, yellow elicits a feeling of caution from consumers. Green can symbolize money or the earth. Blue is a popular color among both males and females, and it elicits a feeling of trust. That’s why a lot of banks use blue colors in their branding.
So the obvious choice would have been to incorporate the word “blue” into our name. But this is where instinct and vision come into play in marketing. As Mark Cuban always says, when everyone else zigs, you need to zag. So I convinced the group to go with the color red in our name as a way to be unique and almost counter-intuitive.
In this day and age, anytime you are choosing a name, URL availability is by far the driving force. Although Google search is an option, the ideal scenario for any company is to secure a website URL that is the exact same spelling as their company name. Web domain availability is the automatic filter for any list of names you come up with. It forces you to adjust and play around with what you have.
It’s not like we came up with “Protocol Red” at the very beginning. It was an organic process that involved a lot of trial and error. And domain availability is always by far the most frustrating aspect of the branding process.
After many group brainstorm sessions that even involved friends and family members, we came up with the combination “protocol” and “red”. At first we were using it as “Red Protocol”, but that quickly changed to “Protocol Red”. The group liked the name a lot. The word “protocol” was great because it had that abstract intrigue we were looking for. And it was relevant to our company.
When you combine the two words, our name “Protocol Red” defined who we were and how we wanted to help our clients: we are true outside-the-box game changers who want to find success by zigging when everyone else is zagging. After confirming that the name was available legally, we knew we had our winner.
The name of a company is critical. It conveys who you are, what you are about, and what you stand for. It is the starting point for your brand. While I didn’t go into all the detail about our branding process in this blog post, I did give you enough of an overview to better understand how much thought should be put into this type of decision.
Have a new product or company that you’d like some help branding? Need to rebrand or rename your product or company? Give us a shout at for a free consultation.