Phantom Actor™

Name design for enterprise

The top 10 brands ranked by consumers worldwide as the simplest to understand outperformed the S&P, DOW, DAX, and FTSE by over 1,600% since 2009.

World’s Simplest Brands, Siegel+Gale.


Name design is kept as objective as possible.

Phantom Actor uses four taxonomic categories to assess the competition. We then design for eight unique characteristics, including competitive positioning, the aesthetics of sound, cultural impact, storytelling, and legalities (ie, trademarkability). Finally, candidate names are tested to ensure they perform well.

“The essence of positioning is sacrifice,” said Al Ries. “You must be willing to give up something in order to establish that unique position.”

An abundance of me-too offerings is forcing customers to seek meaningful ways to separate winners from the clutter.

The human mind deals with clutter the best way it can—by blocking most of it out. What’s left is categorised in mental boxes. The box your company comes to reside in is your brand.

Customers today don’t like to be sold. They like to buy, and, when confronted with the clutter of me-too offerings, they tend to buy based on what they value. “If I buy this, what does that make me?”

A good name is a banner for that special identity.



Position a Los Angeles–style pizzeria against national Canadian chains and independents focused on NYC and Old World Italian. Do it without name-dropping “LA” or “California.”


Evoke the attitude, sun, and surf of the coast. Colloquially and legally called Fn’za, while kids’ pizzas are labelled Fun’za.

Corporate Name Prohibited If Obscene Inc

Hospitality • Imports

Evoke the same positioning as Fn’za but in using a corporate narrative, to manage legalities and imports, while maintaining a knowing chuckle.


We simply echoed the government registrar’s citation back to them. While unimpressed, there was nothing they could do.

The Allnation Group

Construction • Management • Philanthropy

This Cree-Métis–owned conglomerate of companies devotes itself to serving the long-term vision of First Nations, when the system itself rewards short-term planning.


Clearly articulate the mission and vision in its name. This is not “all First Nations.” This is one force—a singular—made up of entities from, and serving, the common needs of them all.

Normaal Bike Shop


Position the first importer of Dutch commuter bikes in the wintery city of Edmonton.


Amsterdam is famous for its bike-friendly city design, but it took civic unrest in the ’60s to transform it from the car-centric city of the past. Normaal is simply Dutch for “normal,” which is what cycling should be in any major city. In English, the additional “a” evokes the whimsical anarchy that defined the Dutch protests.

Youth Observational Development Association

Educational non-profit

Manufacture a name for an educational non-profit that inoculates young people against misinformation. It must remain corporate and stuffy to remain inoffensive to the far-right and grant-giving agencies.


Y.O.D.A. becomes the colloquial name used by the teachers and kids that actually interact with the non-profit’s materials, evoking the character and his similar mission: to train young Padawan to stand up to the dark side.


Quick-service restaurant (QSR)

In rural Canada, it is difficult to find quick, convenient meals that are healthy. Traditional fast-food options and local operators offer processed and deep-fried foods. Position a new QSR that sources wild game and local alternatives to hamburger joint favourites.


The call of the rodeo, of the bush party, of dirt bike and snowmobile, of the dogs and the horses. It evokes good times, challenges with friends, and is wholly unique to the competition.


Specialty restaurant

Position an eatery by Chef Erin Smandych that marries contemporary culinary flair with the nutritional needs of the professional athlete.


In the time it operated before closing due to SARS-CoV-2, Masterlab had won partnerships with professional sports franchises and dance companies across the region, and an exclusive partnership with premium yoga brand Alo, out of Beverly Hills.


Environmental abatements

Appeal to the budget-conscious while remaining premium. An abatements company that focuses on the needs of its customers, starting with cleanliness, presentation, and education. This goes a long way in a margins-based industry that is quintessentially blue-collar. 


The majority of Fairway’s clientele are home owners and property managers, who’d rather know they can make one call to a professional and make all of their problems disappear. Evokes both a discount attitude, fairness, and the greens of the golf course they’d all rather be right now.

Bear Hug Coffee

Coffee kiosk

Canada’s rest stops are dominated by American coffee brands. What is the one thing every Canadian wants when own long drives through snowstorms in the dark?


Evoke the warmth everyone yearns for when cold or lonely across rural Canada.