Image consultants are being paid £10,000 to devise a name for a West Midlands city region after council leaders said they didn't want Birmingham in the title.
Urban Communications, a Birmingham-based firm, have been told to find a solution that will accommodate sensitivities in the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull.
Senior figures have made it clear they wish to avoid any suggestion of domination by the city, and one name being widely canvassed is the Heart of England City Region. Titles certain to be vetoed include Greater Birmingham and Birmingham West Midlands.
The councils pushing for city region status - Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Telford & Wrekin - have until next month to submit an outline business plan to the Government.
Simon Murphy, the city region project manager, said Urban Communications would advise the council leaders and a decision about the name would be taken by the end of the month.
"The important thing is the added value that a city region can bring to the region, not what it might be called," he said.
However, Coventry City Council leader Ken Taylor said he would not tolerate having Birmingham in the title.
"It is not a goer," the Earlsdon councillor insisted. "It is a fundamental question and the problem is you need to locate it. There is no point in calling it the West Midlands because, in terms of people in Europe, it doesn't mean a thing.
"There are a few people who don't like the idea of it being called the Birmingham City Region. Coventry will not go along with it being called Birmingham. We are an entity in our own right."
His view was criticised by Neil Maybury, chairman of Birmingham Business Focus, who said Coventry's stance "defied belief".
Mr Maybury said: "There is no alternative to calling it Greater Birmingham. Birmingham is the capital of the region and a name that is instantly recognised."
Councillor Peter Bilson (Lab Bushbury South), the deputy leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said: "It needs to be a name that everyone is comfortable with and one that recognises our position at the heart of England but doesn't leave any potential for disagreement by promoting one part of the region more than another."
There is growing frustration from the business community about the failure to resolve the naming issue.
James Watkins, executive director of the West Midlands Business Council, said: "What people of the West Midlands want is to see improvement in their lives. They want more jobs and higher quality jobs. We don't want this project to be sidelined by a debate over branding."
A similar stance is being taken by David Smith, the leader of Lichfield District Council and chairman of the West Midlands Regional Assembly.
Coun Smith (Con Stonnall), who will have a seat on the city region executive board, said: "I am more concerned about what the city region does than what it is called."
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said: "Birmingham continues to be at the centre of the city region project. We are at the physical heart of the region.
"The issue of what we are called is still under negotiation."