“Top-tier branding agencies can run you $50,000 or more for a project” wrote Mariya Yao once on her blog. And she was right about that. However, not every entrepreneur can afford that sort of money for a new name, tagline and logo. “Naming is also a rather contentious affair” she continued, “requiring you to balance co-founder preferences, customer opinions, and the unpredictable whims of domain squatters who may be hogging your most desired URLs.”

It all rings very true and anyone who’s launched a business will vouch for Mariya’s assessment. So, what is the solution? Well, it’s to keep things simple.

When setting up 514 Media I started by looking at my skillset and professional background. I identified what made me unique, and what were my strong points. I then derived from this a vision as to what it was that I was hoping to establish, along with the services I could provide.

Armed with that, I proceeded to jot down scribbles and names and words that might resonate with me. I tried various permutations, adding and removing, re-writing and experimenting. I then narrowed down possible company names to a shortlist.

I must stress at this point just how difficult it can be, in business, to have an unusual name. My first and last names are French; although I do conduct business in the French-speaking world, I’m based in London, England. Those who know me, know me. Those who don’t know me… well, it can get a tad complicated for them to pronounce my name.

So, it was important for the name of my company to be relatively memorable.

Once I had my shortlist, I used a web-based domain name checker to see whether a short URL could be secured for an eventual website. I googled, googled and googled some more. Having a memorable brand name does, of course, make a huge difference in standing out against your competition. Beyond that, I was looking for a short domain name – that was also important to me. I settled on

So what’s in a name? Why is this consultancy called 514 Media?

I was born in Montréal, Québec (Canada). Historically, the city’s main telephone area code was… 514. You see, I was looking for a company name that would reflect who I am; I was looking for a name that would speak of vitality, originality and creativity. The association with Montreal speaks volumes – to those who know the city anyway. I was able, therefore, to leverage my hometown’s energy and notoriety. As for those who may not know Montreal, I’m hopeful they’ll get a sense for its vibrancy by working with us.

I completed my business set-up by asking a trusted graphic designer to develop a logo. The chosen font mirrors that of Expo 67, a major universal exhibition that put Montreal on the map in 1967. The image is inspired by Moshe Safdie’s famous Habitat 67 modular dwellings. It portrays my own vision of communication as ‘building blocks’, whereby tactics and strategies combine together into successful campaigns.

Et voilà.

Sometimes, there really is no need to invest a fortune on branding. It doesn’t need to be contentious. All you need to do is to start with you, with your own goals and objectives firmly in mind. If a blank sheet is too daunting, why not give us a call? We’ll be happy to assist and provide a clear sense of direction. And… it won’t cost you $50,000.