We are occasionally asked “How did you come up with the name Magnus Research”? The answer is that we struggled for a while with many options. We had lots of factors that played a role in coming up with a name. And, I suppose for many companies, this is an early decision that takes much thought. Our work is primarily in the trial consulting field but there were 2 reasons we did not want to call ourselves Magnus Trial Consulting. First, we offer research and consulting services in fields other than litigation by offering specialized marketing research or business consultations. Therefore, we did not want the name to limit us to one field. Second, we wanted enough vagueness in the name so as not to need to use a pseudonym when we were conducting field research. Melissa had worked for a company which operated under one name, but used a different name when conducting research to be more anonymous. With that name or our name, anyone in the know would know who was involved. But we wanted to avoid the confusion, internal or external, of dual names. And, we wanted to avoid creating a cult of personality by using an individual’s name – so, despite Melissa being the senior consultant and primary attraction for the business, we did not want to call the company “Pigott Research Services”. And, we did not want to use a multiple name structure like law firms because we did not want to change names if people came or went from the business. So, how did we get the name? Well, with all of these thoughts floating around, someone affiliated with us at the time mentioned the word “Magnus” as a name he had always liked. It sounds strong and means “great” – not a bad aspiration for a new company (in 1993 it was). Thus, it fell into place. I often think about company names and their origin. Some are people’s names – Ford Automobiles, Dell Computers, or Hewlett Packard. Some have a history or have geographical references – the Davis Brothers called their grocery chain Winn-Dixie because they wanted to win the grocery market in the south. Others, I will never know – Yahoo, Google, Uber. One recent one that is clever is Lyft, as in “I need a lift” – great name – gotta try them sometime! So, to the question of “What’s in a name?” There are many factors that may not be given consideration by customers or clients, but for most of us starting a business, the name is represents considerable thought. And, after developing a name, building a brand identity tied to that name is a critical.
Although “Pigott Research Services” has a nice ring to it, I shudder to think of the number of times I would have to correct clients’ and vendors’ pronunciation of my last name if David and I had chosen to include it in our company’s name! We gave careful consideration to selecting a name for our company that met the following criteria: (1) it was not geographically based (such as “Florida Consulting Services”); (2) it included the word “research,” in light of the fact research is what we do: (3) it was not limited to litigation, due to the fact that we conduct marketing research, as well as litigation research; (4) it had a general/generic name, instead of using any of our names (at its inception, there were 3 partners in our company); and (5) it connoted our impressive education, experience, and credentials. Neither David nor I could think of a name for our company that we liked better than the one chosen by our then partner, who had always wanted to open an auto repair shop called “Magnus Motorworks.” Magnus is a Latin name that means great, magnificent, grand, etc. and it seemed to fit our aspirations better than the other names we considered. After over 20 years of being in business, it is interesting to me that relatively few people have asked me why my company is named Magnus and not something else. Fewer still have been intellectually curious enough to inquire about the meaning of the word Magnus. To most people, a name is just a name, but to David and me, as the co-owners of our company, Magnus is a name we identify with, and a name that we strive to achieve in everything we do on behalf of our clients, our employees, and most important, ourselves.
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