Red Herring: what's in a name?


A crucial part of setting up on my own was choosing a business name. It would define my company, inform my brand and differentiate me in a crowded marketplace. So where to start?

First I thought about the aims and ambitions for my venture. What did I want to achieve? What about my business values? Was there room to have some fun? Above all I want to use my experience, built up over 30 years in the office supplies industry, in a new way. I know the market inside out and feel that I can deliver real value to organisations, helping them to reduce costs and avoid expensive sales tactics.

To make the business stand out I was happy to choose something left-field and unexpected. Something memorable, familiar, that would resonate with customers and encourage them to respond positively – “yes, I have that problem!”, “oh yes, tell me about it”. A tall order for sure.  

After much thought and discussion with family, friends and ex-colleagues, plus plenty of online research, I arrived at Red Herring...

Why Red Herring

  • The definition of Red Herring according to Google:
    “A piece of information that is intended to be misleading or distracting”

After years in the industry this struck a chord in regards to office supplies and the contract market! It may sound cynical but the fact is that at the sharp end of contracts business companies can often find themselves perplexed about the details.

The benchmarking or tender process starts with a feeding frenzy of activity with suppliers, all eager to secure the deal. This leads to contracts often starting at a minus margin, which is at odds with the integrity of the contract - and the client relationship - from day one.

Unsustainable in the long term, this lost revenue must be recouped. You’ve all seen it:

  • Forced price increases
  • Inflated non-core pricing
  • Product obsolesce or swaps

Impartial advice

‘Red Herring’ seemed like a good way to sum up the situation faced by businesses; and one that can be overcome by using a consultancy such as Red Herring. By choosing an independent consultancy you can rely on totally impartial advice, and make decisions based on facts and evidence, as we take no commission from suppliers. Not a Red Herring in sight.

Read about how we work and talk to us to find out how we can help you.

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Proud to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society

One of our core values at Red Herring is being a business for good. This means that we raise money by donating 10% of all fees earned to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. After a recent diagnosis, this cause is close to our hearts and we are proud to support the UK’s leading MS charity that provides practical help today and the hope of a cure tomorrow for everyone living with multiple sclerosis (MS) nationwide.

Over 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s unpredictable, and different for everyone. It’s often painful and exhausting, and can cause problems with how people walk, move, see, think and feel. It can make it hard for people to work, and do the things they enjoy. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The MS Society is a community of people living with MS, scientists, campaigners, volunteers and fundraisers. We understand what life’s like with MS, and we support each other through the highs, lows and everything in between. And we’re driving research into more – and better – treatments. For everyone.

Together, we are strong enough to stop MS.

To find out more about MS please visit: