Naming fads come and go:

Another set of facts from my analysis of INC 500 names.I’ve blogged about my analysis of the names of companies who have appeared in the INC 500 list of fastest growing privately-held U.S. companies over the past ten years..

Name development - INC 500 analysis

Here’s another set of facts from this study. These have to do with most popular business “last names”. These are the modifying words many companies incorporate into their names.

I have identified the five most popular last names while scanning the 5000 names in the study. They are:

Group – 248
Services – 255
Solutions – 202
Systems – 279
Technologies – 269

Not a very lively or unique names, are they?

Looking at how these words trended over the ten years of the study show that some have lost their momentum while others have gained some.

“Systems” “Groups” and “Technologies” have steadily lost popularity. “Systems” was the last name of 47 companies in 1998, but only 10 in 2007. “Groups” went from 33 in 1998 to 22 in 2007. “Technologies” went from 29 in 1998 to 41 in 2001 and downhill ever since, having just 23 in 2007.

Only one name, “Solutions”, has seen a study rise. It went from 15 in 1998 to 31 in 2007. “Services” has remained relatively steady over the period, finishing as the highest count in 2007 at 31.

So what does all this mean? It means some people follow the crowd when naming until there’s so much redundancy that newer namers feel the need to stay away from the older names and embrace the newest naming fad.

And these are the cream of the crop – the companies that are the fastest growing private U.S. companies.

Anyway, the data doesn’t identify the next fad as yet.

If you’d like a pdf copy of this analysis of INC 500 Company names, just email me at for a complementary copy.

Martin Jelsema

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