Working with brands in their formative stages

A great name is the beginning of a story that people want to hear. Pollywog creates names that go beyond the ordinary. And beyond catchy and clever. Each of our names tells a compelling story of what is unique and desirable about a company, product or service — and makes it memorable. It’s more than just a name. It’s how you express your brand to the world.

Located in the creative center of the North—Minneapolis, Minnesota—Pollywog has been developing story-rich brands for local, national and international clients since 2007. Our founders are ad and design agency veterans who set out to build a better naming agency and develop outstanding brands as efficiently as possible.

We’ve created brands for every size of organization, Fortune 500 companies to startups, in a wide range of industries including financial, technology, food and beverage, sporting goods, retail, health and wellness, personal services and education, as well as nonprofits.

 
$5,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2007
Show all +
Minneapolis, MN
headquarters
  • Pollywog
    7760 France Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55435
    United States
    612-326-4207

Portfolio

Key clients: 

 

 

Kindest Cut

Animal welfare advocates agree: The best way to reduce the heartbreaking volume of animals euthanized by overcrowded shelters is to prevent unwanted litters.

But when times are tough, a lot of pet owners can’t afford to neuter their animals, which ultimately results in more unwanted litters. To address this problem, the Animal Humane Society (AHS), the leading animal welfare organization in the Midwest, teamed up with a local veterinarian to introduce a subsidized spay/neuter service for low-income pet owners, delivered by way of two mobile surgical units. Pet owners can sterilize their dog, cat or rabbit for a fee ranging from $35-$100 — a substantial discount over regular veterinary costs.

AHS asked Pollywog to lead the naming of this new service.

BRAND STORY

Spaying or neutering your pet ensures it won't produce offspring that will be homeless — or worse, euthanized in a crowded shelter. Our spay/neuter service for low-income pet...

Mojo

Stratasys, a leading manufacturer of 3D printers, contracted Pollywog to help them brand their important new product—the first professional-grade desktop 3D printer priced under $10,000. At this size and price point, 3D printing would now be within reach of small product design companies and high schools who need rapid prototyping for commercial and educational uses.

BRAND STORY 
A 3D printer takes a CAD drawing and turns it into a physical object made of plastic. Even intricate designs with moving parts—a bicycle chain or adjustable wrench, for example—can be transformed from a digital file to an actual working model. Our printer seems to create something out of nothing—almost like magic.

NAME 
Mojo. It’s a charm or spell. Used more figuratively, mojo is personal magic, and often connected with masculine sex appeal. And because a whopping 94% of the 3D printer audience is male, a name that connects with both magic and...

Serenade

How do you compete in the crowded cabinetry market? By offering not only a well-made product, but also a superior purchase experience. When developing their new manufacturing plant in Union, Pennsylvania, cabinet-maker ACPI overhauled their production and processes, virtually eliminating the delays, inaccurate orders and other customer service issues common to the industry. Their new brand needed to communicate this sweeter customer experience. ACPI's marketing agency, Hanley Wood, tapped Pollywog to create the name.

BRAND STORY 
Every high-end cabinetry company promises a well-crafted product. But you need more than that. You need to know that your order will be handled right the first time, every time. And that the whole process will go smoothly for you and your customers. We’ve reimagined cabinet manufacturing and service, because we believe your experience buying cabinets should be as beautiful as the cabinets themselves.

NAME ...

General Mills

General Mills is helping to address the hunger crisis with a program to secure millions of meals for needy families. It’s the corporation’s biggest charitable initiative since Box Tops for Education launched in 1996. Consumers find a code printed on packages of more than 25 General Mills brands, including Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Totinos pizza, Bisquick and Betty Crocker muffin mixes. Each code entered at the program’s website provides five meals through Feeding America. 

BRAND STORY 
In a land of plenty, one in seven American families can’t regularly afford to eat. But together, we have the numbers to make a difference. You can provide five meals for a hungry family in your own town just by  purchasing specially marked General Mills products, then entering the code from the package at our website.

NAME 
Working in tandem with Imagination Publishing, Pollywog led more than 30 General Mills team members through a process...

Think Small

This Minnesota nonprofit had been known by the unwieldy name, Resources for Child Caring (RCC). Over its 40-year history, RCC had grown from an agency that trained child care providers into Minnesota’s leading voice for early learning, but their brand had not kept up.

BRAND STORY 
In the organization’s own words: “We think much can and must be done to improve the quality of early childhood experiences so children will thrive. We think learning experiences should adhere to best practices. That teachers should be skilled, knowledgeable, and engaged. That children need a safe, healthy, and child-friendly environment. And that stimulating activities should be balanced with appropriately structured routines. We think every child is unique, and each child’s situation is different. We think their success depends on the adults in their lives-parents, early childhood professionals, policymakers and other influential people-making the best choices for children...

Constellation

MMIC, the Midwest’s largest physician-owned insurer, restructured its corporation to become a mutual holding company, inviting like-minded insurers to band together as a network. Pollywog was asked to create a name that would communicate the benefits of joining the affiliation.

BRAND STORY 
The network creates a unique whole from many individual parts and reflects the common vision shared by its member companies.Together, each company has the scale, efficiencies, capital and support to better compete against large stock companies. They are better and brighter together.

NAME 
A constellation is a recognizable group of stars in the night sky. Many of the most familiar constellations, such as the Big Dipper, include stars used for centuries for navigation–a subtle connection to how Constellation can provide direction to medical liability insurers in a time of turbulent market conditions.

Ritual

BACKGROUND
A maker of high-end field hockey equipment in Australia asked Pollywog to name his new company — which would be, in his words, “fanatically focused on design.”

BRAND STORY 
Athletes can be a superstitious lot. They do certain things in a certain way, at a certain time. The right shin guard first, the left second. Always wear the lucky socks. Why? Because a deep belief in a competitive edge helps them to win. Our client’s commitment to his design beliefs was equally fervent, and he envisioned handcrafted sticks and gear using luxury materials at a level of quality the industry had never seen.

NAME 
Associated with spirituality, faith and fervor, Ritual is intense and mysterious. The religious connection is unique in the industry, commanding attention and immediately setting the brand apart from competitors while also connecting on a deep personal level with athletes.

...

Reviews

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Naming and Branding for Real Estate Entrepreneur

"Don’t hesitate to call them. They produce great value and smart work that’s on budget and on time."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2007
Project summary: 

Pollywog created a branding campaign to increase name recognition and awareness. Using customized messaging and tone, they designed print ads, typeface, and direct mail.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
St. Paul, Minneapolis
Marcia McLean
Owner, McLean Properties, Inc
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The campaign created a memorable brand that generated new leads and higher levels of name recognition. Pollywog leveraged their creative and managerial skills to coordinate successfully with multiple stakeholders. The team’s rigorous work ethic ensured timely deliveries.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a real estate agent, house rehabber, and investor. I own McLean Properties.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Pollywog?

I wanted to introduce myself to a particular Minneapolis neighborhood and needed a vendor to create a branding campaign. My goals included increased name recognition and awareness.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, we met to discuss and solidify my objectives before selecting media for messaging tactics. Pollywog helped me hone my positioning to distinguish the business offerings and tone from competitors. I then chose the strategy from three campaign ideas they presented. Subsequently, the team created print ads and direct mail while focusing on overall branding and typeface.

What is the team composition?

I worked with the co-founders, John and Devon.

How did you come to work with Pollywog?

I had worked with them for 20 years in a different industry, but for projects similar in nature. While I did consider other companies at the time, I chose them based on reputation.

How much have you invested with them?

I spent $10,000 on creative, not including media placement costs.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together in 2007.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The campaign jumpstarted my business by generating leads. Pollywog created a memorable and well-received brand that enjoyed significant recognition.

How did Pollywog perform from a project management standpoint?

They were a highly creative team, but also proficient in logistics and management. Since they were local, we could easily communicate in-person or remotely via phone and email.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were smart and competent. In particular, Devon quickly grasped our requirements and excelled at wrangling in clients. Devon was able to synthesize conversations between stakeholders in real-time, hone in on the fundamentals, and focus the room on key objectives. She was also a talented writer.

Any advice for potential customers?

Don’t hesitate to initiate a project with Pollywog. I highly recommend them.

5.0
Overall Score Don’t hesitate to call them. They produce great value and smart work that’s on budget and on time.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They had a great work ethic and never missed a deadline. Lean and mean, the team worked until 2 a.m. when necessary.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They produced extremely good value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’re a fabulous mid-priced option that produces work as good and faster than the bigger shops, but for less money.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding Services for Animal Adoption Nonprofit

“They are very smart, clever, and show dedication to the missions they are working to support.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Jan. - June 2012
Project summary: 

Pollywog provided branding services for the launch of a new branch for an existing nonprofit. They used market information and stakeholder opinions to create a unique name and maximize visibility.

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
St. Paul, Minnesota
Laurie Brickley
Marketing & Communications Manager, Animal Humane Society
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The name grabbed the attention of the media and developed a solid social media presence. Pollywog created a lasting and memorable brand that led to multiple local partnerships. Their team was devoted to the mission and used out-of-the-box marketing strategies to raise awareness for the brand and the cause.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I was the vice president of marketing and communications at Animal Humane Society, the fifth largest animals shelter and adoption organization in the United States.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Pollywog?

We were expanding our organization to include a mobile, low-cost, spay and neuter service for modest income pet owners located near Minneapolis and St. Paul. We asked Pollywog to name the new enterprise and provide branding strategies and services.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted the service’s name and brand values to build on one of Animal Humane Society’s missions and enforce the importance of spaying and neutering domestic pets.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Pollywog had shown interest in animal welfare in past work within our community. They understood the brand we wanted to advertise and we were confident in their execution ability.

Describe the scope of their work in detail.

Pollywog first engaged with both our internal and external stakeholders to form a full understanding of the new enterprise and its relationship to our primary organization. Then their team helped us formulate concrete goals, aspirations, target audiences, messaging and positioning strategies, and an unmistakable name for the mobile service, Kindest Cut.

What was the team composition?

Pollywog sent their two company principals to engage with our president, communications team, a board advisory committee, and myself.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

Kindest Cut generated a significant amount of media coverage and social media traffic from its release. The name and corresponding brand pushed us out of our comfort zone, but still captured the social responsibility aspects we were trying to promote. The brand’s success led to partnerships with other local organizations and non-profits. It has been 11 years since the initial launch, and the enterprise is still helping prevent pet overpopulation in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

Pollywog clearly outlined what we needed for a successful brand launch and how they would go about delivering it. They worked with us to ensure they produced favorable resulted at each scheduled deadline.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

The pushed us to think outside of the box. They fundamentally understood our organization, and because of limited resources, they knew that we needed to be bold with the new extension. From market research and meetings with stakeholders, the team concluded that the humorous name would pave the way for a sustainable and profitable service.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No, I am currently working on another project with Pollywog for a different nonprofit. They are very smart, clever, and show dedication to the missions they work to support.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Scheduling was very easy.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They worked within the confines of our budget.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They are fun to work with and provide quality work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have recommended them to others at least six times.

Product Naming for B2B Marketing Agency

“They provide a unique combination of creative capability and client management capability.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017
Project summary: 

Pollywog managed the process of creating a brand name for a new product line in the construction industry. They also provided trademarking and legal services.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Denver, Colorado
Simon Hyoun
Head of Client Services, Hanley Wood Marketing
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Pollywog’s method-based approach brought deliberate creative strategy to a seemingly daunting and subjective process. The team was responsive, flexible, and easy to work with. They maintained the project timeline and delivered high-quality results.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the head of client services at Hanley Wood Marketing. We specialize in B2B marketing for the construction and design industries.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Pollywog?

We had a client that was launching a new line of cabinets, and they had a clear target audience and strategic vision for how they should position themselves in the marketplace. Our challenge was to create a new brand name for the line of cabinets that would accurately reflect their goals.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Pollywog’s naming process is very unique, in that they guide the client through what can otherwise be an exhausting, confusing, and highly subjective process. Rather than a typical democratic vote on the favorite name, Pollywog has a complex scoring system that weighs potential options on criteria like spelling/pronunciation, masculine vs. feminine, etc. This process helped the client tremendously in taking a more thoughtful approach to choosing a name for the product line. The Pollywog team also provided trademarking and legal services.

What is the team composition?

I primarily worked with Devon, one of their founders.

How did you come to work with Pollywog?

Someone else in our agency had worked with them in the past and had a great experience. They’re also local for us, which allowed for face-to-face meetings when necessary.

How much have you invested with them?

We had an initial budget of about $25,000, and after necessary add-ons and scope adjustments, we were closer to $30,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together between November 2016­–January 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

It was more of a strategic engagement than a tactical one, so there aren’t firm metrics we can track. However, the client was very satisfied with their work and used the name that the process yielded. We’ve since worked with Pollywog on a variety of other projects.

How did Pollywog perform from a project management standpoint?

Devon served as our single point of contact and was very responsive throughout the project. Their turnaround times ranged from satisfactory to better than average. They were very efficient in delivering revisions and follow-up work, and their availability allowed the project to run smoothly.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They provide a unique combination of creative capability and client management capability. It’s rare to find that combination among vendors. They’re also a very nimble company due to their size, which works to their benefit in terms of responsiveness and flexibility.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We had no issues sticking to our original timeline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They worked very efficiently and stayed within the client’s budget.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Deliverables and project management were great, but things occasionally needed fine-tuning.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have and will continue to recommend them.

Naming for Medical Malpractice Insurance Company

“They were a great value.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2012 - Feb. 2013
Project summary: 

Pollywog worked with an insurance company to name their holding company and also named and did design work for their magazine. They developed naming options, researched, and analyzed them with constituents.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Minnesota
Jane Rodriguez
Director of Communications, Insurance Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Pollywog’s work effectively attracted a lot of attention from companies wanting to be part of their holding company, resulting in acquisitions. They offered a perfect partnership with their strong capabilities and expertise. They managed deadlines with professionalism and ease.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I was the director of communications for a medical malpractice insurance and risk management company. We educated medical professionals to mitigate their risk so that the ones that we insured were less of a risk, made fewer mistakes, and therefore, would not have claims against them.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Pollywog?

I contacted them because we needed help with naming a newly created holding company. The project was to build awareness about its existence.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They initially came up with 15 names and researched to make sure they were available and they reflected what the company is trying to accomplish. They talked about the reason for each name. They analyze the look of the word and how it feels rolling off your tongue. Once they came up with the first group of names, they showed them to our board of directors and other senior leaders. They explained it wasn’t whether you like the name, but whether it’s an effective name. When we couldn’t come to an agreement on the first round with many opinionated people in the room, they went back and came up with more names. We narrowed them down until there was one that clicked with what we were looking for. Then, they applied for trademarks and service marks.

They also helped us name and do the design for an internally focused risk management magazine.

What is the team composition?

I worked with a founding partner and a designer.

How did you come to work with Pollywog?

I looked for a naming company through a Google search. I interviewed them and a couple of other agencies. I chose Pollywog because of their approach.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $50,000 for the naming and branding project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from December 2012–February 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

In the first year, 12 different companies approached us wanting to be part of our holding company. Of those, we acquired two companies.

How did Pollywog perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re on top of everything. Since I was part of internal and external communications, I had a full plate. They were great at gently reminding me when a deadline was approaching or talking things through with me and explaining the rationale so that I understood better why they made the choices they did. It was very good service.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They have a personal approach. They were very understated, low-key, and low-pressure in terms of selling and were easy to negotiate with. They do it all from copywriting to naming to design to creating brand identities. They do it all or they subcontract with people who do. They put me in touch with a writer that I had never used before, and it was wonderful. They have good sources.

They were a delight. They were the easiest people to work with. We had a lot of fun. They were very professional as well.

I also liked that I always talked to a principal; I didn’t talk to an account rep or project manager. I love working with small agencies because you go right to the source. That smallness makes them nimble and you develop a relationship.

5.0
Overall Score I hated leaving that job because I didn’t get to work with them any longer.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were excellent, especially with the magazine. We created a calendar together. If I slipped up, they reminded me of the next deadline.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Bigger agencies have so many costs associated with having a big team. Pollywog’s overhead is low because they’re small. They were a great value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    If they didn’t get it right the first time, they redid it. They made sure the outcome was the best product. They wanted the best for our company.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I recommend them all the time.