Choosing a name for your business is important, as it’s how you’ll be known to your clients and customers for years to come.
With the pressure on to get it right, naming your company is no mean feat - it’s up there with setting up a business bank account and sorting your finances. However, some UK entrepreneurs have found inspiration for their brand in the world of TV and film.
From sci-fi to sitcoms, blockbuster movies to comic book franchises, we’ve searched Companies House to find the UK business names that just might be familiar. See how many you recognise below:
It’s surprising how many UK businesses share the same name as fictional companies from TV and film. Interestingly, some genres prove more inspirational than others...
Of the 48 businesses found that share a name with a fictional company, 13 of them were from sitcoms, making it the genre that Brits find most inspiring.
Fans of the UK and US series The Office will recognise Wernham Hogg and Dunder Mifflin. While Devon’s Dunder Mifflin stays loyal to the sale of stationery and newspapers, Sidcup’s Wernham Hogg specialises in electrical installation.
Also from the popular mockumentary series are Athlead and Juxtaposition Records. Fans will remember Athlead as the sports marketing company founded by Jim in the US version of the show; the UK equivalent can be found in London, offering PR, marketing and media services.
Juxtaposition Records, which in the UK show was a record company founded by David Brent, offers sound recording and music publishing in London.
Central Perks, a Glasgow-based newsagents, is likely inspired by the ever-popular Friends, and there are plenty of businesses inspired by British sitcoms. Steptoe and Son can be found in Stanmore in Middlesex, offering accounting and auditing activities instead of the rag and bone business we saw on TV.
Needing no introduction, Trotters Independent Traders was incorporated in 1991 in Redditch, almost 10 years after Only Fools & Horses started. Unfortunately, the business is listed as a dormant company.
Perhaps not the most obvious genre for brand name inspiration but sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV shows have inspired 11 UK businesses.
Three UK businesses were found to share their name with the fictional wizarding companies from the Harry Potter franchise. While we may know Borgin & Burkes best for dealing with ancient wizarding artefacts, Bristol is home to a management consultancy of the same name.
Likewise, the Leaky Cauldron Micro Pub is a restaurant in Kent, while another Leaky Cauldron can be found in Solihull, offering sea and coastal freight water transport.
Red Dwarf’s Jupiter Mining Corporation has relocated from outer space and now specialises in IT services in London. Other IT companies include Cyberdyne Systems (Terminator) in Bacup, Lancashire and ENCOM (Tron) in Waterlooville, Hampshire.
Of course, with a fan following as large as Star Wars, it was inevitable that someone would name their business in tribute to the franchise. Incom Corporation is best known as a starship manufacturer in a galaxy far far away but closer to home, it’s a veterinary company in Scarborough.
Our research identified 10 UK businesses with links to action movies and drama shows.
Forget Gotham; superhero HQ could now be in Slough. Wayne Enterprises can be found there, along with Stark Industries; both are retail companies. Another tribute to Batman can be found in London, with Wayne Enterprises Gotham Ltd specialising in information services.
Nakatomi Corporation, recognisable from Die Hard, now offers TV programme production in Hertfordshire, while Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil) can be found offering wholesale chemical products in Bexhill, East Sussex.
In Congleton in Cheshire, you’ll find Sterling Cooper, a company offering accounting and auditing under the same name as the iconic Mad Men advertising agency. Interestingly, the company was incorporated almost two years before the show started.
Beddington in Surrey is home to Los Pollos Hermanos, a restaurant that’s almost certainly named after the fast food chain from Breaking Bad.
Interestingly, eight UK companies have links to cartoons, and the majority are inspired by The Simpsons.
The UK is home to not one but two Kwik-e-Marts, both specialising in retail sales in Dorset and Kirkcaldy. Offering take-away food shops and mobile food stands, Krusty Burger can be found in Rotherham. In Leeds, you’ll find Duff Beer. Incorporated in 2011, it is now listed as a dormant company rather than being the producer of Homer’s favourite tipple.
A staple of Looney Tunes, the UK is home to two businesses that seem to be inspired by ACME Corp. ACME Corp Limited in Hemel Hempstead is an IT consultancy business, while ACME Corporation in London specialises in artistic creation.
From the silver screen, Monsters Inc. is located in Bury St. Edmunds, which is listed as offering ‘other service activities not elsewhere classified’.
If you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, Steven Walker, creative director at branding and design company OGRE Studio, shares his tips for choosing the right name for your brand:
1. Make sure it’s relevant and easy to spell.
Some of the best business names make it instantly clear what the company does. If you haven’t heard of something and you hear its name, you should get a sense of what it is, what it does, and how it does it.
Alternatively, go for the exact opposite by intriguing people so much by the name that it makes a whole new connection or meaning because of a juxtaposition from the industry it's operating in.
Choose a relevant name and be cautious of using alternative or difficult spellings. Not only will you find yourself correcting misspellings often, your customers may struggle to find you when searching online.
2. Think about your future growth.
While your name should be relevant to what you do right now, consider what you may do in the future. For example, if you have plans to expand overseas, you may not want to choose a very localised name or one that includes local slang. Likewise, if your plan is to grow the area you operate in, it’s best to avoid any location specific references.
3. Say it out loud.
As simple as it sounds, saying your chosen name out loud can make all the difference. Your chosen name should roll off the tongue and be easy to say.
4. Check if the name is available.
Companies House’s Name Availability Checker is a great place to start. Search your chosen name and it will show you if another company in the UK has the same. Be cautious of trademarked names too.
5. Be memorable.
Remember, the window of time to grab someone’s attention is tiny. For startups and new businesses, it’s really hard to gain traction if people can’t remember what you’re called.
A business name is often the single most vital piece of branding collateral you need to get right from the get go. You need to strike a balance somewhere between a science, the law and creative alchemy.