What’s in a Name

We just received an email. Apparently, there was a contest to name some project. There were multiple entries and an applicable name was selected.
Naming is extremely important  in some cases and in others …not so much.
We tend to think that it is ALWAYS important. I’m starting to form my own opinions about naming, but perhaps I’ll change this theory in the end.

Here I go:

  • If something is brand new (product, service, department, etc.), by all means spend time finding the right name.
  • If it already exist, don’t spend too much time finding a new name. After all, that is kind of like Prince changing his name to “The Artist formerly known as Prince.” It gives you a little boost, but in the end…you are still Prince. Successful though he is, it wasn’t the 2nd name change that brought the success.

I think I’ve written about this before because I remember explaining a Dilbert cartoon that talks about how a service provider was offering the same failed service in a different year with the assurance that it was “under a completely different name.” The client signed up.

Names studies show that naming doesn’t have much to do with success. But, it may contribute to a few failures when the name is so obviously culturally biased or spelled wrong. Yes, some people have selected incorrect spellings. Regardless, “the studies” found that it wasn’t the name that had an impact as much as the possible environment that fostered the selection of the name in the first place.
Interestingly deep thoughts.
What does that say about our environment that we keep thinking name changes will make all the difference?
I’m not quite sure, except I know that it keeps us from completing our primary tasks and it leads people like me to create blog postings like these.
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