Day job adventures: Episode #8759
Am hired to run a name and brand change for a company. Hire a posh brand agency with a global credential to help. Everyone is amazing at what they do, best in the industry. This is going to be great. We can really help this company dominate their industry.
Start project. You think naming a book is hard, try naming a company, all the good names are gone and no repeats by industry are allowed.
We work up a bunch of good, strong and available names. Then new management are hired. The new management don’t like any of the good, strong, available names, so we start again. It kind of sucks but we’re all pros so we move ahead cheerfully.
The new management don’t like the second list of good, strong, available names, but can’t tell us exactly why they don’t like them. They just don’t. They’re awful and they expected better from us.
We come up with a third, fourth and fifth bunch of good, strong, globally available names that are easy to pronounce, don’t mean a rude word in another language or have any negative contextual connotations, or with a letter transposed could be confusing, and everyone on the team is so strung out they can’t remember their own names.
The new management don’t like any of the names. They decide we are useless and they are dismissive of our efforts. They speak to us with about the same consideration you’d give a neighbour’s dog that barked all night and kept you awake. They decide they will come up with the name themselves.
They come up with a name that is difficult to say, does not describe the business in any meaningful way and is not available, and though we explain this, they insist that’s the name they want. We ask if the name passes all the necessary legal checks. They tell us it does. We ask a second time, because it seems unlikely and we’re told to suck it up and get on with it.
Cautiously we develop a brand around that name. We specify colour, type, photographic style, clear space usage, co-branding considerations. We create a special wordmark. We demonstrate how the brand will work in various applications from building signage and car wraps to uniforms and documents. There is a team of designers working on this and it takes two weeks and it’s all been approved ready to roll out, when the company lawyer says, no you can’t have that name, it’s not available.
That seemed disagreeably inevitable with a shadow hand of ‘we told you so’, and we’d all fall down for a day or two, except now we don’t have a name and all the prior names that were good, strong and available have been rejected.
Did I mention we have a deadline and it is fast approaching.
Because we are considered useless, the new management, who have never done a branding exercise of any substance before, come up with another new name.
The new name has an acronym: PP. They wish to be known as PP.
The company is a pathology business that collects blood and tissue samples. They also collect urine. We suggest that calling your urine collection company PP is probably not ideal.
The new management is not pleased with us over this, even though we didn’t come up with the name and we are looking out for their best interests.
Because we are useless, the new management came up with another new name. This name has four words. It’s a veritable sentence in the land of company naming where a 5-8 letter, single word name is the goal. This name is the poster child for what not to do when naming a company. They want to be known by the four word company name and not it’s acronym.
This is never, ever going to happen.
Also Australians shorten everything. We also lengthen very short things, but that’s another story.
We’re about to spend $2-3M on this re-brand campaign.
The acronym for this four word company name is CLAP.
We, the useless, well credentialed experts, think for thirty seconds that the new management is joking. They do after all run a sexual health clinic.
They’re not joking.
We’re debating whether to let them in on the joke or not.
This a true story.