brand naming, taglines, and storytelling

Gold
VERIFIED

River + Wolf is a New York City based naming and verbal identity firm that believes branding begins with words. Moreover, we think language is one of the most powerful means for building, organizing, and communicating a brand’s voice and vision.

Whether working with established brands or start-ups, our goal is always the same: to communicate your brand’s promise in language that informs, inspires, and activates.

 
Undisclosed
 
Undisclosed
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2014
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • 605 West 113 Suite 2
    New York, NY 10025
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

We work nationally and internationally with clients of every size--from start-ups to Fortune 500s. River + Wolf also provides brand naming and storytelling services to branding, design, advertising, and media studios.   

Ghostery

River + Wolf developed names for Ghostery, a company dedicated to internet searching privacy protection. They presented viable options after a single round of iteration.

Madecasse

River + Wolf helped rename a fair trade chocolate company. They researched existing trademarks and worked with an internal team to understand the brand’s values. They presented viable options after a single round of iteration.

Stella Rising

Women’s Marketing, a top marketing firm with a focus on women’s brands, needed a name that better reflected their work—that of helping indie brands become established stars. The name needed to be friendly yet sophisticated and while nodding to women, not overtly gender-centric. After developing hundreds of names, among them Noonday Sun, Bed of Roses, No Shy Violet, and Wildest Dreams, Stella Rising, with its constellation of
positive associations, rose to the top.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein came to River + Wolf to develop a name (not yet launched) for a new unisex fragrance. The name needed to work well within the Calvin Klein tonality of simple, natural English words that would be easy to say and spell across global markets.

NCC Media

In 2019, the media giant NCC came to River + Wolf to develop a name for a company re-brand. The not-yet-launched name needed to convey the idea of a more effective media spend through the company’s unique blend of traditional linear television and new media of digital technology.

Joy Lab (Target)

Target needed a name for their new active wear that blended fitness, fashion, and function into a short natural word name. After reviewing over 600 candidates, ranging from the descriptive (Life in Motion) to the suggestive (Limber), the Target team finally landed on Joy Lab. Partnering “joy” and “lab” together instantly conveyed fun, happiness, and well-researched and tested materials.

Journeywise

Steven Cayre came to River + Wolf in need of a name for his new enterprise — a company that organizes day-long events composed of events — wisdom talks, meals, and arts — designed to nourish and enrich the whole person. The name needed to be warm and welcoming, but not sound like a spa or yoga retreat. Journeywise hit the mark, speaking to the idea of traveling through life in the smartest possible way.

Sleekmeet

Ramzey Chelab needed a name for his all-in-one name conferencing app—a name that highlighted ease and efficiency. The name also had to hold appeal for Arabic speakers, the primary target market. The elegant, two syllable Sleekmeet, with its repeated letter “e” and powerful “k” proved the perfect fit. The minimalist design further emphasized the streamlined nature of the app.

Encorus Group

JR Engineering, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business that provides testing, environmental, and inspection services for construction projects, hired River + Wolf to re-name their company. During multiple in-depth conversations with Kevin Opp, the company’s Director of Marketing, it became clear that the name needed to convey the idea of teams working in collaboration to solve tough structural challenges. Encorus

worked on many levels as it implied engineers (en), chorus (corus), and heart (coeur).

Defy (Quaker State)

To differentiate Quaker State’s long-lasting motor oil from its competitors, the naming team veered away from the industry’s preference for descriptive marks. To find a straightforward, but energetic name, many ideas were taken for a test drive. The journey stopped at Defy—a name mark that said it all. Defy time. Defy an engine’s wear and tear. Defy corrosion.

Earth Vine Grape (Jacob’s Creek)

To name Jacob’s Creek’s organic wine, Margaret Wolfson, River + Wolf's Founder and Chief Creative, used the Rule of Three—a writing principle that asserts things bundled in threes are more satisfying than other numerical groupings. For this Australian wine, we picked three nouns—earth, vine, and grape. To emphasize the wine’s additive-free nature, a period followed each word. The result? A pure and simple name that gets

straight to the point.

Timbalos (Agro)

 

The cooks at Agro had developed a delicious plantain chip. The missing ingredient? A name. Wishing to reflect Caribbean culture, River + WolfFounder and Chief Creative, Margaret Wolfson, journeyed through the fascinating world of island traditions. When the team discovered timbal–a kind of Cuban kettle drum–they knew they'd hit the mark. With its ties to Caribbean culture, festive music, and a cooking utensil

associated with chip making, the name proved hard to beat.

YumChina

Yum sought River + Wolf's help to determine whether or not they should undergo a complete or modest re-brand of their name. River + Wolf led Yum through a variety of naming exercises and as a result, the Yum team determined that the best approach would be to add the word "holdings" to telegraph their expanding business model.  River + Wolf also assisted the team in developing a new ticker symbol.

Samaritan Ministries

Samaritan Ministries, a Christian health-sharing organization, is a valued repeat client. Most recently River + Wolf named an easy-to-use platform that made it a snap for people to become members of the organization’s health-sharing plans. 

Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis reached out to River + Wolf to develop a new name (not yet launched) for an A.I. platform designed to assist the legal profession. The name needed to be crisp and modern, but with a tone serious enough for a global law firm.

Big Fish

River + Wolf joined the Big Fish game team to develop a name for a new cooking game. The culinary adventure game helps players build up their culinary skills one dish at a time. Hot Dish, the name cooked up by River + Wolf with the Big Fish team, challenges players to master the timing and accuracy needed to quickly bring new dishes to the table.

BrightSphere

The financial giant OM Asset Management (also known by its acronym OMAM) needed to rebrand as its current name was frequently confused with the country Oman. Above all, the stakeholders of this global, multi-boutique asset management company wanted a simple, clear name that conveyed the concept of smart affiliates coming together to create a richer whole. BrightSphere captured all of these interests, with the added bonus of

being easy to say and spell for international audience.

Motiion

Motiion seeks to provide all stakeholders with transparent information that can foster trust, reduce waste, and ultimately, feed the world. The company accomplishes this through the support of information flows within and across companies in the food value chain. The name selected (not yet launched), spoke to freshness and the ability to leverage all available data in the most effective way.

Chromatics (Redken)

Redken sought a dazzling name for their recently created hair coloring and strengthening system. Given the product’s 48 prismatic shades and the extensive research behind its development, the name needed to tie to both beauty and science. The dual meaning of Chromatics accomplished this, playing to the science of color and the art of music. An added perk? It evoked the high shine of chrome.

Ikaati

The founders of this artisanal tea wanted a name that paid homage to their Indonesian heritage. So the River + Wolf team steeped themselves in the region’s cultural traditions and brewed up Ikaati—a coined word inspired by ikat, the Indonesian dyeing technique and kati, the traditional vessel for transporting tea. They also created stories for each brand line and developed more than one hundred tea names, among them Malaysian

Moon, Black Orchid, and Peppermint Sun.

Terrain (NEC)

The NEC Corporation’s new push-to-talk work phone had to convey durability, dependability, and outdoor usage. However, given its executive buyers, the name needed to be slightly more refined sounding than the tough-as-nails marks common in this space. Terrain covers a lot of ground. With its French roots, the name hints at style while its primary meaning—a piece of land with military advantages—implies ruggedness and the great

outdoors.

Planetarians

This client wanted a name for their new high fiber chip that makes meals biologically complete. The product name also needed to sound like a movement. To accomplish this goal, River + Wolf combined “planet” with the Latin ‘arian’, a suffix meaning a person who advocates for a set of principles. Extra bonus? The word ‘plant’ is embedded in ‘planet’.

Tommee Tippee

River + Wolf led a naming exercise to support a company’s brand expansion in global markets. They created an in-depth questionnaire to develop the strongest list of names and after one round, delivered several winning options.

Quarterlane

This bespoke book delivery service project perfectly complemented River + Wolf’s love of literature. For client Elizabeth Lane, River + Wolf developed over 300 names, Scop (a Scottish storyteller), Bibbly, Unbound, Ink Spell, Cloverbells (Emily Dickinson), Paper Quilt, and Bookfolk. After lots of lively discussion, everyone agreed that Quarterlane fit the bill as it elegantly captured the personal nature of the business plus

its quarterly delivery schedule.

Discover More (Discover)

Discover needed a name for its 5% cash back card. Discover More fit the bill, creating a strong call to action while announcing the card’s many benefits: more money back, more services, and more opportunities to pay back without accumulating further interest. The company kept this imperative form for their latest card—the Discover It card. Margaret Wolfson, River + Wolf's founder, also named Open Road, a gas mileage card.

Hugo

Bettina Cisneros and Joie Jager-Hyman came to River + Wolf in need of a name for their latest entrepreneurial vision—a digital platform where intellectually curious high school students could gain access to exceptional mentors who could help propel their learning to the next level. After looking for creative inspiration in multiple intellectual disciplines, River + Wolf landed on Hugo, a popular European name meaning

“mind”.

Foxx

River + Wolf developed a branding name and assisted with trademark registration for a new burner phone with a wider-than-usual display. This was accopmlished through the name Miro, meaning "to look" in Spanish. The name also mapped back to the Spanish painter, Joan Miro, whose mobiles evoked connection and connectivity.

Outshine (Nestlé)

Nestlé needed a name for their delicious yoghurt and fruit bar. After developing many names that pointed to creaminess and tartness of these frozen treats, the team switched gears and developed Outshine, a name that positions the bar's flavor as one that outshines the competition. Not only did it suggest something that surpassed all the others but it evoked a sunny day.

Luscious Cosmetics

River + Wolf provided naming and trademarking services for a Dubai-based  as they entered the United States market. They supplied expert consultation, created an array of options, and filed all appropriate documents to finalize the selection.

Goodness Glows (Burt's Bees)

Burt’s Bees needed a name for it soon-to-launch, 98.9% natural, liquid makeup. The name needed to keep within the Burt’s Bees plain and simple tone—nothing overly metaphorical. Goodness Glows, the final name chosen from hundreds of submitted candidates, suggested beauty inside and out.

Senhance (TransEnterix)

The medical technology company, TransEnterix, had a great product—the ALF-X surgical robot system. Unfortunately, the existing name felt cold and clinical. So the search began for a new name that would would appeal to both surgeons and patients. At the same time it needed to convey the system’s chief function – to enhance the surgeon’s senses. Senhance accomplished both these goals with the added benefit of being highly

ownable.

GALvanize (Unilever)

River + Wolf teamed up with esteemed colleagues, Catchword, to re-brand Unilever’s new initiative for women. And while not typical for competitors to work together, it proved a great experience for all. After two rounds of naming, GALvanize caught fire with the Unilever team. “Gal”, as part of the word, addressed women without excluding men, and the word’s meaning directly conveyed the initiative’s purpose.

Dremel Trio (Dremel)

Dremel had developed a nifty DIY tool that cut, sanded, and routed. The name needed to address the tool’s three functions and appeal to both female and male consumers. Trio cut right to the chase, speaking to three uses while evoking the harmony, artistry, and craftsmanship of a musical ensemble.

Keypoint Intelligence

The merger of Buyer’s Lab and Infotrend required a new name. The dual meaning of “key”—something essential and something that unlocks—especially when paired with “point” with its suggestion of exactness and conciseness quickly found favor. Adding intelligence strengthened the mark from a TM perspective and highlighted the quality of the company’s reports and advisory services.

Sunhouse

Tenoch and Tlacael Esparza called on River + Wolf to develop a name for their new music technology company. Using the latest advances in signal sensor and signal technology, the company’s products reinvigorate and expand the possibilities of live performance. We found our inspiration in an Aztec myth that tells of a once dark world transformed through music. The name, Sunhouse, resonated with the founders for numerous reasons,

among them its link to their Aztec heritage.

Joyst

After building businesses at CNET, Yahoo!, and Time, Inc. Bettina Cisneros needed a name for her own enterprise—a platform that provides tips and reviews along with pre-vetted products, services, and resources to shore up the lives of professional women. A play on the word “joist”–a support beam–the name conveys both the platform’s function and the happy feeling that comes when things get done and done right.

Yolla (LANCK)

LANCK Telecom, a Russian-based company sought a name for their soon-to-launch app. The name needed to be simple to say, easy to spell, and no more than two syllables. Yolla suggests “yo”—slang for “hi” or “hey”. It also evokes “ola”, which aurally suggests the international pronunciation of “hello”. Topping it off? “Ola” plays to “olé”, the Spanish way of saying bravo.

Reviews

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Branding and Naming for Investment Company

"All the names they gave us were high-quality. It was difficult to just pick one."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Sept. - Dec. 2016
Project summary: 

River + Wolf conducted multiple rounds of naming, iterating until the client had found and selected the perfect name for their investment company.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Houston, Texas
Joseph Bramante
Owner, TriArc Properties
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Naming with River + Wolf is an effective and enjoyable experience. They present their materials in a highly professional manner that impresses their clients.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner of a multi-family investment company. We invest in apartment complexes.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

We were rebranding and renaming the company. I used their services to come up with a new name.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The process involved an intake form first, and then a follow-up meeting to review the form and get any needed clarification. We had the first round of names within a week or two, then had an hour-long meeting to discuss those names. Then we had a second round of names. From those two rounds, we were able to identify a name. We had the option of stopping with round one, but we opted to continue to round two. The names were of such high quality in round one, and we were curious to see how much better they could get in round two with more specific feedback.

We only had them work on the name, but they referred us to one of their contacts for a logo. They also put us in touch with the trademark company they use, which was great. We ended up using them to file for our trademark.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

We found them on the Internet. They were one of the top-rated companies, and the price point was affordable for a small business like ours.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

We spent about $8,000 on their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in September of 2016, and the project was completed in November or December of that year.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Everyone loves our name. We’ve only been using the new name for about three months, but there’s already a noticeable difference in how people perceive us.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

They perform exceptionally well. I was the key point of contact, but we had two other owners providing feedback. They managed us very well. It was a rather seamless process from the intake, through review, and then to completion. We had no issues.

What did you find most impressive about River + Wolf?

They had a good understanding of what we were trying to achieve.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

I’d like it better if the intake form was a fillable form online, rather than having to fill out a Word document.

5.0
Overall Score From a personal standpoint, it was great to interact with them. From a professional standpoint, the presentation materials were top-notch, and the way we received the names was very presentable. It was a great experience.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They met the deadlines. If they were late, it was only a day. We never had to reschedule for the next week. It was pretty spot-on.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Other firms are double and triple what they charge. I think they fit in the perfect niche of being a small firm that produces big results.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    All the names they gave us were high-quality. It was difficult to just pick one.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Brand Storytelling for Performing Arts Center

"I appreciated their attitude—they wanted to know what they could do to help us succeed."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The client used River + Wolf to design and create program guides that accurately convey the story of their brand to local, regional, and national communities.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Hartford, Connecticut
Yolande Spears
SVP of Education, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The dedication of the team at River + Wolf is what makes their work so effective. They challenge their clients to do and be better.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts is Connecticut’s largest performing arts center. We have been in business almost 90 years. We are a producer and we also present programming and venue management. We are an award winning arts in education program. We received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the US Department of Education, and the GE Foundation.

I’m the senior vice president of education and community initiatives. I work with various organizations in the community and schools to do community programming. We collaborate and partner with public, private, and charter schools to create professional development for teachers as well as design and implement arts in education/enriched curriculum.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

We found that even though we were doing a lot of work in schools, we weren’t able to tell our story or enrich our brand. We knew we had an opportunity to tell our story but we didn’t know how to tell it.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We worked with River + Wolf initially to work on brand storytelling. They also helped us with copywriting some of our partner programs. One of the most significant reasons we continued working with them was because we had received a grant for $1 million to help us go to the next level. River + Wolf helped us to know how we could do that by developing the program model and the program guide. They’ve worked on a total of 7 or 8 projects for us.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

The average project with River + Wolf costs between $25,000 and $30,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The most recent time we hired them was 9 months ago. As we plan for the future, we know we’ll continue to work with them because of the great experience we’ve had and the quality of work they offer.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

What River + Wolf did was powerful because it was truly a brand extension for us. We were able to use the product to introduce our art education program to our industry and others on a local, regional, and national scope. When I would speak at the Broadway League, I would take the product created by River + Wolf. I would use that in my presentation to give people an idea of how they might be able to do the same thing in their performing arts centers. Recently, we had an opportunity to work with a new partner in China, so River + Wolf is helping us tell our story internationally as well.

One of the reasons we were able to receive the $1 million grant from the foundation was because the foundation was aware of the earlier work that River + Wolf had done for us. The foundation was so impressed with what we had done with the first level of our model that they wanted us to replicate the same model for other communities. For 1 community, our program helped reduce some of their remedial reading by half because they were using the strategy and product that River + Wolf created.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent. They were very timely and kept our team on schedule.

What did you find most impressive about River + Wolf?

They helped us have a better understanding of how our brand is changing and what we can do with it. The brand storytelling was really important for us because oftentimes at a performing arts center, people believe that the work you do is what happens onstage. River + Wolf was able to show that the work we do is in the community—local, regional and national—which would not have been seen otherwise. I appreciated their attitude—they wanted to know what they could do to help us succeed. Their team was dedicated and thoughtful.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

No. As they led us through this process, we learned more and understood more. We were very happy with their work.

5.0
Overall Score We were extremely happy with the quality of the work and the rates they charged. I have no complaints about it.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were really good at scheduling and keeping us on track no matter what time it was.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their price was quite reasonable for us as a non-profit, especially for the quality of the product we received in return.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were able to deliver a product that we were not expecting. They challenged us to get better at what we were doing.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Naming for Education Company

"I'd recommend River + Wolf to anyone looking to find a business name."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Oct. - Nov. 2016
Project summary: 

The director of an organization in the education sector looked to River + Wolf to come up with a name that would leverage their position in the market.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
United Kingdom
Managing Director, Educational Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Naming is a challenging field, and yet River + Wolf excels at providing many options and being clear about next steps throughout the process.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are an early-stage organization working in the education segment. I am the managing director of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

We worked with River + Wolf on finding a business name that would be competitive in the market.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

River + Wolf gave us a questionnaire about our goals. It was followed by a phone call meant to clarify our answers. River + Wolf explored a few names, giving us a list of 20 options.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

We found River + Wolf through a Google search. I omitted any companies which didn't specify pricing. Between the ones who did, the prices varied wildly, which made the selection difficult. Based on the look and feel of their website, River + Wolf seemed to be an engaging company. The terminology used and the actual content were good.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

The cost of River + Wolf was below $10,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with River + Wolf in October 2016. The work took 4-5 weeks to complete.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We have trademarked and are currently using the business name developed by River + Wolf.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

River + Wolf was clear about its activity and what was needed from us. Everything seemed to run on time, and we understood where we were within the process.

What did you find most impressive about River + Wolf?

Finding a name for a business is a very difficult task, like naming a baby. I don't know how other companies do this, but there are few providers in the UK for this type of work because people usually come up with their own names. As such, I have no comparisons for River + Wolf, but we found their service useful. I have no negative comments.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

No, it was a hard task to undertake, but River + Wolf made it clear what steps we should go through, gave us many options, and narrowed down the possible names.

5.0
Overall Score I found it to be a satisfying experience. Certain services of this type are not well defined, so pricing can be hard to determine. I felt it was worth it.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Timelines were respected, with River + Wolf even setting reminders for us.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We've got quite a bit of value for money, even in terms of insight into the business itself.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    River + Wolf was clear about what we were getting and when. They stuck to our timeline and budget.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd recommend River + Wolf to anyone looking to find a business name.

Naming for Women's Nutrition Manufacturer

"Margaret is a MASTER wordsmith! Her passion and enthusiasm are impressive."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

River + Wolf worked to come up with the perfect name for the client's current brand to resonate with consumers and unify all future product lines.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Los Angeles, California
Staness Jonekos
Founder, Nessta Life, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

While working with both startups and larger companies, River + Wolf puts an equal amount of effort and care into the naming process.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Nessta Life, Inc. manufactures customized nutrition for women inspired by the latest gender-based research. I am the founder and chief executive officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

Our product line is named Eat Like a Woman®, but we are growing to include other product lines for men and children. We needed an overall company name as an umbrella for all the future brands.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed a new company name that we could trademark, appeal to both sexes, embrace our current brand, and make us credible within the science community.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

I discovered River + Wolf during a Google search on a quest to find a “boutique” naming agency. I prefer a personalized creative working relationship and their website presented itself as such. I also demanded a firm that was passionate about the brand story and had major past successes.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

In the $10,000 range.

What is the status of this engagement?

We had a fast turnaround because our product packaging was being designed to launch our company within 6 weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Margaret Wolfson [Founder of River + Wolf] not only helped with brand focus and naming architecture, but she also delivered almost 100 potential names quickly in an impressive power point. She knew the importance of feeling connected to the new name and presented options in these categories: natural language, coined names, compounds, and short phrases.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

This was our first time working with a naming company. Margaret was a master at guiding the process, so we stayed on schedule and I knew what to expect.

What did you find most impressive about River + Wolf?

Margaret is a MASTER wordsmith! Her passion and enthusiasm are impressive. My company is a start-up, yet I felt like one of the big brands she deals with daily. She fully understood the food & beverage world and could apply her experience to guide my journey.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

I highly recommend River + Wolf to any company searching for a new name. The experience was outstanding, and lots of fun! Margaret is truly gifted.

5.0
Overall Score 5+!
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Naming for Book Subscription and Gift Services Company

"I found them easy to work with. River + Wolf was intuitive and professional."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
May 2016
Project summary: 

River + Wolf helped the client to come up with a name for their company that encapsulated their brand identity and vision.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Massachusetts
Elizabeth Lane
Founder, quarterlane
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

River + Wolf understand the naming industry in a way that translates to authentic and on-brand results for their clients.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder of quarterlane, a book subscription and gift service tied to the independent bookstore I work at in Massachusetts.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

My business did not exist yet as it was in a pre-launch phase, and I needed help brainstorming the brand identity by coming up with a name for my business.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Margaret [Wolfson, Founder of River + Wolf] helped me come up with a name that encapsulated the brand identity of my business and did so in a very organic, intuitive way. Whenever I got stuck, she helped me remove those mental blocks I was having through the processes of brainstorming and analysis.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

I found Margaret through a Google search of naming agencies. I read testimonials about her, and she had been named as a top naming agency in articles. She was the only agency I contacted.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

We have spent around $8,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with them in May 2016, and the work finished a month later.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I would say that Margaret’s work with me was vital in that the beginning of any branding is with the name. With that said, I feel that the name feels like the right one - very authentic and on brand. When we launched officially in September, we also got feedback that it is a good name, fits the brand, and it is easy to remember.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

I found them easy to work with. River + Wolf was intuitive and professional. They were always on time. We worked through idea generation in a very clear way. Margaret’s process is easy to map, follow, and understand. She has a very intuitive and sensitive way of working that hones in on the message that you are trying to convey with a name. She is also incredibly organized.

It was a delightful process working with Margaret, and I cannot imagine going through the process of naming with anyone else. I think she is one of the best in the business and knows how to assess the process of branding and identity.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

I am such a happy customer that I cannot think of a way the working relationship could have been better. It was exactly what I wanted.

5.0
Overall Score Branding and naming are very nuanced businesses, and I strongly feel that Margaret and River + Wolf are the best in the field.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I had a tight turnaround time of four weeks and Margaret more than delivered on that. She was efficient yet thorough, and the tight timeline did not diminish the quality of the work.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It was definitely an investment, but I feel I have fully been compensated for it.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality was exceptional.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Highly recommended.

Naming for Women's Service Platform

"They were very professional and met every deadline. River + Wolf exceeded my expectations."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Feb. - Mar. 2016
Project summary: 

River + Wolf aided the client in creating a name for their women's lifestyle service platform and provided support with any resulting branding efforts.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
New York, USA
Bettina Cisneros
CEO, HPO Ventures Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client praises River + Wolf for their creative approach to and firm understanding of the naming process.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

HPO Ventures Inc. is a startup focused on helping busy women manage their home and household lives. I’m the founder and CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

We hired River + Wolf to provide a name for our platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We found that women are responsible for 85% of what goes on in the household and there wasn’t a way for them to manage all their responsibilities. We found out that women need content and information but also connections to services that can help them. River + Wolf helped me clarify and think through the strategy of securing a name for our brand and even what happens with the name afterwards.  The name of the platform is JOYST.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

I knew bigger firms in this space because of previous work I’d done, but I was looking for specialists in naming.  I wanted someone who understood branding and had a history. I interviewed several firms and felt an immediate connection with River + Wolf. They had the background and credentials, and they understood what I wanted to accomplish.

How much have you invested with River + Wolf?

We spent less than $10,000 with River + Wolf.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started our relationship in February 2016, and the project was completed in March.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We just launched the first phase of the site last week, and everyone we talk to loves the name.

How did River + Wolf perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very professional and met every deadline. River + Wolf exceeded my expectations.

What did you find most impressive about River + Wolf?

It’s a combination of the creativity and a firm understanding of the naming process.

Are there any areas River + Wolf could improve?

No, they were amazing.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Naming Project for Silver Mirror

She [Margaret Wolfson] is a true wordsmith and a genius at her profession. We were lucky to have her on our team.

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

River + Wolf consulted on naming for a premium facial bar in order to reflect the shop’s elite product and explain the brand identity. The work involved thoroughly researched the industry and company culture.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Founder, Silver Mirror
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

River + Wolf provided a tremendous value by delving deep and providing excellent name ideas in line with the intended brand. Fair and transparent, their business ethics were superb as well.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please provide us with a brief description of your company.

We are a new facial bar based in New York City. Our goal is to show people that taking care of their skin is just as important as taking care of their teeth or hair. We provide people with fast, affordable, and extremely effective facials.

What is your role at the company?

I am a co-founder and co-CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was the business challenge that you were trying to address when you approached River + Wolf?

We were looking for a name that represented my partner and I as well as the premium product we are providing to our clients.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project, and are there any metrics you can share?

Margaret did an amazing, in-depth dive to find a name for our new company.  She came back with a number of excellent options that my partner and I both loved, and helped lead us through a selection process.

When working with them, was there anything unique or special about them compared to other partners you may have worked with?

Margaret [Wolfson, Chief Creative at River + Wolf] was all around a pleasure to work with.  She was prompt, kind, and very fair in price.  She is a true wordsmith and a genius at her profession. We were lucky to have her on our team.

Looking back on the project do you have any constructive criticism? Is there any area that they could improve or you would do differently?

I can't think of any criticisms for River + Wolf. Margaret did exactly what we asked her to do, and we are very pleased with the name she came up with. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Naming and Branding for Private Wealth Management Firm

"They never made me feel like I was just a customer in their pipeline. It was a very customized and personalized approach."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

River + Wolf consulted on naming and branding a new wealth management firm. They studied the firm to make the best choices on logo and other identity factors, then began an individualized brainstorming process.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Director, Private Wealth Management Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

River + Wolf demonstrated deep expertise in language and culture, and they drew naming ideas from wide-ranging sources. Their visual design fit perfectly with company culture. Every team member, both junior and senior partners, were engaged on a personal level.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We're a private investment firm focused on high net-worth clients.

What is your position?

I'm the co-founder and director of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with River + Wolf?

We hired River + Wolf to name us, and assist us with our company's identity and branding. It was most important to come up with a name that really resonates with the demographics of our target clients, which are ultra-high net worth investors, wealthy families, and very select boutique wealth management firms globally. We wanted to make sure that the name connects, and has a fresh sound and look to it. Also, it needed to reach an international scope, where it doesn't translate to something negative in different languages. We had to go through all those filters.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

The first phase of the engagement was obviously naming, and then later we worked with the team that handles the branding, identity, and logo design.

I've worked on naming projects in the past, where the naming process was very difficult. The company I hired for that project didn't connect with the message I was trying convey. Even when I was part of the brainstorming process, they just couldn't connect with me as a client, and what I wanted out of the process. However, with River + Wolf, the process was amazing. It was seamless.

They really took the time to understand the business, what we do, our business plan, and the kind of clientele we were going after. They also wanted to understand me personally – where I come from, my background, my heritage, and who I had working with me. They took the time to understand my personal taste and style, and anything that goes along with really running a business.

They never made me feel like I was just a customer in their pipeline. It was a very customized and personalized approach. Nowadays, a lot of firms, they just give you a template. You talk to the senior guy, and then the junior team handles most of the work, even though they haven't even spoken to you or know anything about the business, the background, the intricacies of my personality, or the passion that I have for the business. That was very fresh to see.

They tailor every project differently according to each client. For my project, we ended up picking the name from the first stage, so it didn't take as long as some other projects, which was nice. Out of 25 names, we narrowed it down to three or four. Then, out of those finalists, we narrowed it down to one. Once that one was picked, the River + Wolf team had to filter the name to see if it was being used, or if there's any negative connotation online. It's a name that was created using different words and syllables, so it's an original name, so we didn't have any trouble there. The process was seamless.

How did you come to work with River + Wolf?

I found them through a well-known web design company in New York. I spoke to the CEO and founder of that company, and explained what I was looking for. He gave me a list of five firms who specialize in naming, branding, and logo design. I went through the interview process with all of those firms, and spoke to the founders or senior professional at each.

I had my own selection criteria, but the cost was the last of that criteria. I cared more about whether I felt connected with the person I was speaking to, and whether I felt they understood where I'm coming from. I needed to connect with them. They weren't pitching me like everybody else. They weren't selling. They were highlighting their strengths, and that's it. I didn't feel like I was being given a sales pitch.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was less than $10,000.

What was the timeline of the project?

In total, it took two or three months, of which the naming probably took the first three weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What distinguishes River + Wolf from other providers?

The academic caliber of their team is impressive. They have experience in literature, poetry, and theatre. River + Wolf's knowledge of the English language is astounding. When it comes to naming, they really dive into the essence of the English language, and other languages as well. Their names aren't limited to traditional business language, which is really refreshing. They dived into every syllable, every letter, and every word of the process. They came up with a name that truly sounds exactly like what I wanted. On top of that, the visual aspect of it, the logo design, was perfect. The way they worked, the naming team and the design team each understood what the other person did, and it was seamless.

The way I look at River + Wolf is as a full-service boutique firm, and you get senior-level attention dedicated to the project as opposed to the senior person talking on the phone, then a junior team working behind the scenes. Here, you're actually working with the principals of the firm.

Is there anything River + Wolf could have improved or done differently?

No. It was a great process. I even hired them again to do my own personal logo.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Naming for Electronic Instruments Manufacturer

"I was impressed not only with the sheer number of names that River + Wolf developed for us, but also the amount of care that was put into each name."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
July 2014 - Oct. 2014
Project summary: 

River + Wolf provided professional naming services for an electronic music software company. After exhaustive research, they delivered names reflective of the industry, energy, and heritage of the company.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City
Co-Founder at Sunhouse Instruments
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Under the new name, the product has been adopted by major bands. River + Wolf was thorough and dedicated, providing a huge list of potential names that each had their own story. Each name was strong in its own way.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

Sunhouse is a startup in the musical instrument space. We've unofficially been in operation for about a year and half. Our first product is called Sensory Percussion. It's an electronic drum set that we'll be launching on Kickstarter in a few weeks.

What is your role and responsibilities?

My brother and I are cofounders. He is the head of product, and I handle all of the business and marketing operations.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with River + Wolf?

When we started this company, we had an idea for our first product, Sensory Percussion, so we decided to incorporate the company under that name. It was a rushed decision obviously, we felt we had to pick a name quickly because we needed to incorporate, get business cards, and everything else, so we just went with it. Plus, the URL was available.

As we were going on, we realized we didn't just want to do percussion products. We had ideas for other electronic instruments as well as more general music-making software, so we wanted a new name. We felt since we didn't do the job well ourselves the first time, we should bring in professional help.

What were you looking for in a new name?

We wanted a name that was evocative, but also generic in a way. We wanted kind of an empty vessel that didn't necessarily give the company away at first glance.

While my brother and I were both born and raised in Los Angeles. We're Chicanos – Mexican-Americans. Both of our first names are Aztec names, and were interested in a name that was playful and made reference to our heritage. The name Sunhouse comes from an Aztec myth that Margaret [Wolfson, chief creative at River + Wolf] researched, about how music came to Earth. It's a wonderful story that I didn't know before she told it to us. The name doesn't knock you on the head saying, "This is an Aztec company" or anything like that, but it is playful has meaning for us.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

It was professional naming. Margaret was exhaustive in the research she did for us. She worked with us during the course of two months, and came up with hundreds of names, each with its own meaning and function.

What was your process for selecting River + Wolf?

I didn't know a lot about naming. I heard a podcast about naming companies that kind of introduced me to the concept. I ended up meeting Margaret through a friend, and she told me about her work and some of the product names she had developed through the years. I was so impressed with her, both from a business and perspective as well as from a creative perspective. Both my brother and I are musicians, and we felt a kindred spirit in Margaret.

What was the timeline of the project?

We worked with Margaret primarily during the summer of 2014. We started in July and wrapped up sometime in September or October. We launched the new name in January [2015].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project?

Sensory Percussion is our only product right now, but we're excited because it is getting a lot of attention from various bands. Yesterday, we demoed it to David Bowie's drummer, The Flaming Lips are using it, MIA's drummer, Son Lux, in Brooklyn, and a few well-known classical ensembles as well.

So, we're focusing on pushing that product right now. The Sunhouse name will have a bigger role in the future when it's the umbrella brand for what we hope is a wide range of products.

What differentiates River + Wolf from others?

I was impressed not only with the sheer number of names that River + Wolf developed for us, but also the amount of care that was put into each name. Margaret had a slide for each name, with the back story and how it was put together. There were a lot of names, but it wasn't like she was just throwing random names around to see what stuck. They all would have been excellent choices.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

Can a positive, also be a negative? Ha ha. Toward the end, the sheer volume of names became a little overwhelming as we were trying to narrow down the choices and Margaret kept adding more really good names. But, I suppose that is better than the alternative – too many good names as opposed to too few.

5.0
Overall Score We still email, and I send her updates on our progress as a company. It was definitely a positive experience. I love Margaret, and working with them was fantastic.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Any delays were on us.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It was a big expense for a startup, but I'm confident that it was money well spent.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    My only hesitation, would be to say professional naming is not for everyone. However, if you're committed to the process, there's no one better at it than Margaret.

Naming for Social Impact Investment Firm

"They did whatever it took to make sure that they delivered creatively and professionally."

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

Originally engaged in naming a new impact investment firm, River + Wolf became a trusted communications partner. Services include refining statement documents and optimizing all outgoing communications.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City
Steven Cayre
Founder, Bluefinch Investment
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

River + Wolf prioritized delivering the right name, no matter how long it took. They listened carefully to pain points and desired outcomes, then worked hard to come up with the right solution. River + Wolf was a transparent and process-oriented partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

Bluefinch Investments is an impact investment firm that seeks to accelerate the growth of social ventures through a combination of conscious capital and strategic advisory. At present, we're looking to invest in social entrepreneurs who have developed pragmatic market models to improve food systems.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I'm the founder and principal.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your motivation behind your work with River + Wolf?

We're a startup, and although I am passionate about this cause, I didn't have much work experience in the social entrepreneurship space before I started the company. When you're trying to get something off the ground, it's hard to be taken seriously in the marketplace without an identity and, obviously, the primary point of departure for your identity is your name.

Like most people, I was hesitant to contract with a naming company at first. However, once I realized the importance of the name, and how it has the potential either to be a heavy burden on your company that forces you to change course six months or a year down the road, or a springboard that can bring you brand-awareness probably before you deserve it. I decided to bring in an expert.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

Initially, it was just the name. But, one of the reasons we decided to work with River + Wolf in the first place is the experience Margaret [Wolfson, Principal of River + Wolf] has in all aspects of corporate communication, not just in naming. After we decided on Bluefinch, the scope grew to devising a mission statement and vision. Now, Margaret is on a retainer basis as a communications advisor. She helps review every piece of paper that is going to have public exposure.

What was your process for selecting River + Wolf?

We realized we were in over our heads not only with the creative process but with trademarking and finding a domain name. We initially interviewed three firms, and I would say the decision was made partly based on each of the firms' experience, but maybe even a bigger part was how we connected with them on an emotional level because a name is a very emotional thing.

I should say, too, that the transparency we found in our initial meetings with Margaret was important as well. She delivered a document to us at the first meeting, which was an explanation of what you should take into consideration when coming up with a name and how the naming process works. We felt that she was someone who is process oriented and didn't just came up with the name in the shower and said, "Here you go!" Ultimately, we had no reservations about our decision to go with River + Wolf.

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative?

I know Margaret has a sliding scale for the different types of organizations she works with. As a social startup with no revenue, she was able to work with our budget. I would say the initial work was between $10,000 and $15,000, but we also now have Margaret working with us on a retainer basis.

What was the timeline of the project?

We wanted to get everything up and running as quickly as possible. I would say from the initial stages to completion, it was around four weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project?

In terms of results, Bluefinch is continuing to grow, and we've only received positive feedback about our name. I was very happy with the quality of the work they provided, which is why I've continued to expand the scope of the engagement.

Is there anything unique or special about River + Wolf that really makes them stand out?

I would say the one unique attribute about working with River + Wolf and Margaret is their desire for the client to be happy with the results. In previous working engagements with creative firms, they'll present you three options, and you have to pick one of the three. If you don't like any of the three, they charge you again to come up with three more. I would say that River + Wolf listened to our pain points early and upfront, to understand not only the scope of the work but also what the desired outcomes were. Then, they did whatever it took to make sure that they delivered creatively and professionally.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

I'm happy to provide constructive criticism if I feel that I have something to provide but, in this case, I don't feel that there's anything. I don't want to make something up just to respond.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
Verification

Clutch verification provides an additional layer of data to help you make the right purchasing decsion of business services. Learn more

Verification Level
Gold
VERIFIED
Business Entity
Status
Active
Jurisdiction of Formation
New York
ID
4537121
Date of Formation
Mar 3, 2014
Source
NYS Department of State
Last Updated
Dec 24, 2018
Payment & Legal Filings
Bankruptcy
No
Tax Lien Filings
0
Judgement Filings
0
Collections Count
0
Last Updated
Dec 24, 2018
Client Reviews
VERIFIED CLIENT REVIEWS
31
OVERALL REVIEW RATING
5.0
Source
Clutch
LAST UPDATED
July 12, 2019