What’s in a name? A Career – Cleveland Plain Dealer

October 10, 2000

Daniel Moneypenny, of Emaginit in Silver Lake, Ohio, has spent his career creating taglines and naming companies and products. For Rubbermaid, he came up with “There’s never been a better space.” For Federal Express: “We are the overnight success.” For Maaco: “Give your car the MAACOver!” The list goes on and on.

So how does a guy like Moneypenny get such clients as The Movie Channel, NutriSystems, Wendy’s, Amway and Parker Hannifin? Reputation.

Of course he started out by giving away his ideas for free and doing subcontracting work in order to make a name for himself. To make a living, meanwhile, Moneypenny did everything from working as a forest firefighter in California to running a sporting goods store in Akron.

But since 1982 he’s worked on branding full time, mostly as a one-man show.

“I’m stupid in so many things in life, except this,” said Moneypenny, “I’ve got this down.”

These days, he spends about 60 percent of his time working on taglines. “They don’t last as long [as names], but I’m totally built for that,” he said. And he spends 40 percent of his time naming companies including, locally, “Complient” and “Inaquest.”

After in-depth interviews with clients, ideas start to churn. And with 415,000 names and ad campaigns in his database to fall back on, he guarantees companies he’ll come up with something they’ll like that’s trademarkable.

Moneypenny starts out by presenting clients with a list of 100 to 200 names or branding statements to choose from. But on the first attempt, clients generally either don’t find something they like, or it’s not trademarkable. It took three attempts and 1,100 names before a Cincinnati client agreed on the name “BlueSpring Software.

Clever is great, but a trademarkable entity is all any client really needs,” he said.

Depending on the project, his fees generally range from $15,000 to $45,000. That’s a big difference from major branding firms like Landor in San Francisco, which typically start at about $250,000. Its projects generally run into the millions.

Moneypenny sees no end in sight to building his business.

“I can’t believe it’s real,” he said. “I have to pinch myself sometimes because I’m just an Irish kid from the country that’s turned this into a cool business.”

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