Skip to main content

How does branded calling work?

Promote your business while protecting your customers

identity proof

How Does Branded Calling Work?

Today, there are many different names for branded calling, and they all mean something slightly different. But they are all branded calling for businesses. To brand a call means to add additional context to outbound phone calls so call recipients know and trust who’s calling. That can include name, number, logo, reason for the call, and a checkmark indicating the call has been authenticated and not spoofed. Still, consumers and businesses alike are asking, “how does branded calling work?”

Initially, branded calling relied on the need for the consumer to download and configure a third-party app to enable the service. But because getting customers to download apps has typically been challenging, this led to very low adoption rates and not all branded calls were authenticated.

Branded calls without authentication and verification the call has NOT been spoofed may just be enabling more effective fraudulent calls. If someone convincingly spoofs a number with the logo of one of their trusted providers, the consumer may find it even more believable.

However, the industry is moving to a standards-based network approach coupled with rich call content. This eliminates the need for apps and enables the addition of even more context to the mobile display. As well, calls are authenticated with STIR/SHAKEN at a network level so only known, trusted entities get into the ecosystem — meaning only branded calls that are authenticated reach consumers.

Solutions like TransUnion Branded Call Display (BCD), part of our Trusted Call Solutions suite, are available to allow enterprises to securely brand their outbound calls, helping improve the customer experience and prevent call spoofing. Those solutions are paving the way for a safer ecosystem where enterprises can reach more customers and consumers don’t miss important phone calls they really want.


When we surveyed consumers about branded calling, here’s what we found:

How is caller ID name determined?

Caller ID name (also known as CNAM or calling name) is the name associated with a particular phone number for an individual or a business. Since the caller ID is exchanged from the caller’s service provider to the recipient of the call, that provider determines the caller ID number. 

Many times, consumers believe caller ID information (or CNAM – Calling NAMe – record) is updated automatically, but that’s not always the case — especially when it comes to branded calls or branded calling for businesses.

While a number of service providers do provide that service, others do not. In fact, some service providers engage external entities that provide phone number activation and continued service for their subscribers.

The Calling Name is retrieved by the receiving carrier who queries a CNAM database to determine the name registered to the number. It’s important to contact your service provider to let them know what the Calling Name should be, and of course, if the name and/or number changes.


Keep in mind:

  • There’s a standard 15-character limit for the display name

  • It can take up to two weeks to update across service providers/carriers

  • The carrier then providers that information to Neustar, a TransUnion company, which has the central database for CNAM records in the US

  • Update your records if you switch providers

  • Ensure the information is being displayed properly


For businesses and enterprises, the process is similar; however, it often requires multiple steps as part of a trusted call journey to ensure phone numbers have been properly vetted, and all information is up to date. 

Read the eBook: Are Robocalls and Fraudsters Ruining Your Brand? 7 Best Practices of a Top-Notch Outbound Calling Strategy

Is caller ID trustworthy?

While there may be some process issues that cause your Caller ID to appear incorrectly, the most damaging threats are from bad actors who spoof phone numbers — pretending to be a trusted vendor to defraud customers.

As noted in the Forbes Tech Council article recently published, impersonation scams once again topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top frauds in 2023, and the phone channel remained a popular choice for bad actors. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers lost over $10 billion in fraud in 2023. Imposter scams (which grew 71% from 2021–2023) were the number one way consumers were defrauded in 2023.  

Imposter scams involve a fraudster pretending to be someone they’re not to steal money or information. Email was reported as the most commonly used method to reach consumers in the FTC report; however, the phone channel accounted for the highest per-person losses. That’s because the phone remains an incredibly popular communication channel for consumers who want that personal experience, and for enterprises that rank the phone as one of their top strategic tools for improving the customer experience.

With advances in artificial intelligence (AI), deepfake technology and large language models, phone scams have grown more complex, convincing and costly, going from $196 million in losses in 2020 to a whopping $660 million, a 237% increase just two years

While bad actors are tapping into many channels, the phone is the tipping point for consumers who often feel reassured enough by a human (or deepfaked) voice to click on a text or email link, or share a one-time passcode.

On top of all that, many legitimate calls are being mistagged as spam and/or blocked, as well as calls being tagged as “Unknown.” When customers don’t recognize who’s calling, they don’t pick up the phone.

The use of branded calling with authentication enables customers to genuinely trust who’s calling and answer. 

What does it mean to brand a call?

When customers don’t answer legitimate phone calls, everyone suffers in a variety of ways. Enterprises experience poor right-party contact rates, negative customer experiences, decreased efficiencies, reduced revenue and potential damage to their brands — just to name a few. On the other hand, consumers suffer because they miss important calls they may really need and/or want.

Many businesses are looking for technologies and solutions to address the issue of poor engagement. They also recognize the phone remains a critical customer service channel, but close to 90% of calls are still going unanswered.


Source: An Optimized Customer Contact Strategy Combines Transparency and Intelligence: The State of Outbound Communications in 2022, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Neustar, a TransUnion company, October 2022                        

Respondents in the OMDIA survey of enterprises, and our survey of consumers backs up the popularity of branded calls with rich call content.

Businesses are curious to know “what is branded calling?” and whether it can help. What started out as basic Caller ID has grown into branded calling with rich call content.

Today, branded calling for businesses means adding one or more of the following to the mobile display: name, number, logo and reason for the call. To be truly secure, those calls must also authenticated with STIR/SHAKEN call authentication so they can’t be spoofed. Otherwise, branded calls can just be pretty spam.

Enterprises and consumers alike are clamoring for branded calling. When we surveyed consumers, 28% said they rarely answer the call unless they’re certain about who’s calling.


Here are the reasons consumers don’t answer calls:

How does branded caller ID work?

Although branded caller ID has the same general meaning worldwide, how the actual solution works, along with features and functionality, very by vendor.

TransUnion Branded Call Display (BCD), which leverages rich call content, requires partnership with businesses and mobile operators nationwide as shown below.


Partnerships Required for Branded Calling with Rich Call Content

Through that partnership, the process works as follows:


For businesses interested in implementing Branded Call Display with rich call content, there are six steps to jumpstart the process:

1. Audit your telephone numbers

2. Check to see if your calls are getting through to customers

3. Ensure calls are properly authenticated

4. Protect your calls from being spoofed

5. Identify approved name and logo to appear on mobile display

6. Determine key metrics (answer rates, lead transfers, closed sales, promise-to-pay, by which to measure success


Who needs what to deliver calls with rich call content?

There are four conditions that must be met to deliver a rich branded call:

1. A trusted entity must conduct a rigorous onboarding process that ensures it and the phone number is uses are legitimate

2. Ecosystem requires an accessible, trusted data management source for enterprise data

3. Rich data retrieval and call authentication must be done by terminating service provider (TSP) to ensure data is verified

4. Consumer must have compliant mobile device and operating system to render data on the screen

How does business caller ID work?

There’s a lot of confusion over business Caller ID vs. branded Caller ID vs. branded calling for businesses. Today, due to the rapid rise of call spoofing and fraud, more and more businesses are looking for solutions and technologies like branded calling for business with Rich Call Data through which calls are branded and authenticated with STIR/SHAKEN. This enables customers to really trust who’s calling and increases the likelihood of them answering the phone.

Businesses, especially SMBs, may ask, “Why does my business show up when I call customers?”  As mentioned, sometimes basic Caller ID is automatically set up by services providers. Of course, businesses can also set up Caller ID.

Branded calling is especially useful for call centers, helping play a key role in increasing answer rates by displaying consistent and recognizable information that prospects or customers see on their phone displays. Branded calling also helps call centers increase answer rates, improve the efficiency of outbound calling campaigns, enhance engagement and improve call conversion rates.  

Consumers are demanding more protection against fraudsters and are tired of navigating suspicious calls — leading many to just not answer. Here’s what they said in our survey:


Here’s what respondents said:


Yet, consumers do want to get your calls. As shown below, we asked how important it was for consumers to be notified by their most important and trusted providers — so imagine what branded calling could do for your business.

With TransUnion Branded Call Display, branded calls are also authenticated with STIR/SHAKEN, ensuring they’ve not been spoofed.

Now available with Rich Call Data, the product enables companies to add name, logo, number and reason for the call to the mobile display. BCD helps businesses protect and promote their brands, increase answer rates, enhance engagements and protect revenues. In addition, it helps protect consumers from robocalls, call spoofing and fraud.

Branded calling is a multifaceted solution that’s not just about reducing spam and fraudulent calls and increasing call rates. It also offers an opportunity for enterprises to improve the customer experiences and enhance engagements — key strategic goals for most organizations. Branded calling also helps modernize the phone channel so it becomes integral to modern multichannel, digital engagement. In partnership with communications service providers (CSPs), mobile phone operators and businesses, companies like TransUnion can help transform the phone channel and restore trust in a vital communication channel.

Learn more about Branded Call Display (BCD).


NOTE: TruContact™ Communications and Contact Center Solutions are powered by Neustar™, a TransUnion company.