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Background / Challenge:

Automatic Data Processing, commonly known as ADP, is an American company providing human resources management software and services.

The business was formed in 1949 by Henry Taub as Automatic Payrolls, Inc. – a manual payroll processing business with his brother Joe Taub. Frank Lautenberg joined the brothers in the company’s infancy. In 1957, Lautenberg, after successfully serving in sales and marketing, became a full-fledged partner with the two brothers. In 1961, the company changed its name to Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP).

The ADP brand was well known but was largely seen as a business serving mid to large firms.

Accordingly, small business perceived ADP as being too big (or less interested) in serving small business.


Through research and investigation, the concerns of small business (less than fifty employees) were validated and while the vast majority of firms knew and respected ADP they thought the business was too big and too expensive to manage their payroll.

We recommended a brand strategy of creating a new brand name for the small business payroll service that would have its own identity, yet be endorsed in some way by ADP.

We explored hundreds of names ideas and ultimately shortlisted to five names: Aboard, Hawk, Verset, Acorn and Run. Each of the names was thoroughly tested with target audience customers and ‘Run’ performed the best across a range of metrics including ‘fit to concept’, ‘most innovative’, and ‘most appealing’. We also created a good/better/best naming system: ‘Essential, Enhanced, Complete’. Finally, we created numerous endorser lines before recommending ‘powered by ADP’.


RUN has been a major success for ADP as it enters its 15th year of operation. According to customer reviews on TrustRadius (a review site for business technology), RUN was rated as 9 or 10 (out of 10) by over 70% of customers.


  • B2B
  • Brand Strategy
  • Brand Naming
Osterhout Design Group
Royal Caribbean

New York, NY

Miami, FL

San Francisco, CA

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