What's in a name?
When myself and Claire were planning the start of our new PR agency, we fairly quickly got around to thinking about what to name it. As we started jotting down ideas – words we like, bad puns, obscure terms, colloquialisms – it became clear to both of us that coming up with a name wasn’t going to be that easy.
We both decided that we wanted a name that was more interesting than using our own surnames (I did that when naming my previous agency, Johnson King, and felt that this time around we needed something that was, frankly, more creative).
Of course, the other factor that was critical was the availability of the domain name. It would be no use coming up with a great name only to find that the domain was already taken or that was unintentionally amusing / offensive (like these www.therapistfinder.com, www.whorepresents.com and www.speedofart.com).
One website that was useful in the process was Start Up Bros, it has some good information and advice on how to start the naming process and some useful tools for checking the availability of domain names.
Eventually, we each threw some names into the hat and came up with a shortlist and, from the shortlist, we settled on Eleven Hundred Agency, a name that was inspired by MI5, the British Security Service.
In short, the name Eleven Hundred comes from MC (for Mike and Claire) because in Roman numerals MC is eleven hundred. I stole the idea from a book I was reading at the time called Double Cross by Ben Macintyre: an amazing book that is a true and accurate account of the critical role MI5’s spy network played in the success of the D-Day landings during WW2. MI5 had an elaborate deception plot centred on turning German spies into double agents. The ‘Double Cross’ system was run by the Twenty Committee, so named because a double cross, XX, in Roman numerals is twenty.
So, Eleven Hundred Agency it is. Looking back at my notes, I see it could have been Return of the MACK (our initials). I think we made the right choice.