Blue Engine + JDA rebrands as Seven Letter

The firm ran through 213 names before settling on the new moniker.

WASHINGTON: Blue Engine + JDA has rebranded as Seven Letter.

Since Blue Engine Message & Media acquired JDA Frontline last October, the combined firm has been called Blue Engine + JDA.

The name Seven Letter comes from terms, all of which have seven letters, the firm uses to describe its work for clients: Content, insight, inspire, message, amplify, dynamic, digital, counsel, measure, results and success.

CEO and founding partner Erik Smith said the firm ran through 213 names before settling on the new moniker. A particular challenge, he said, was finding a name that didn’t already have a social media handle or registered URL.

"When I came up with Blue Engine 13 years ago, it was a relatively easier process," Smith said. "Now, it’s more complex. You have to get a name that works on all the social media properties. And a clean URL is hard to come by."

Smith said they even considered keeping the original name for a moment, but someone had hijacked the most appropriate URL.

"I discovered that someone registered it on the day of the merger," he said. "It illustrates how hard it is to get a clean URL."

The firm didn’t hire a branding expert to help with the process, Smith said, and the idea for the name came from discussions among the agency’s leaders.

"The branding work was done ourselves after figuring out who we are and what we’re about," he explained. "We’re in the business of building public affairs brands, so it was intuitive to us and important that we do it ourselves."

Smith acknowledged that name changes might be easier for smaller political comms firms where the reputation of agency principals is often as important as the reputation of the firm. Still, he said, abandoning the old names was difficult.  

"I would say it certainly helps that we’re a firm where people know a lot of the principals," he said. "But I wouldn’t say it was easy. And a lot of folks who have only been with us a couple of years had emotional ties to the names."

However, Smith added, there were real issues with the old brands. The Blue Engine name, originally Blue Engine Message & Media, implied that the firm was partisan, even though it isn’t, he said.

And JDA Frontline, originally James Dyke and Associates, was left over from an early founder of that firm who exited the company when the firm merged with Blue Engine, said Smith.

"We believe we’re going to be something bigger and better than we were before and we wanted a new name to emphasize that," he said.

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