Will the Real [Insert Name Here] Please Stand Up?

The art of naming…it begins with birth, when our parents decide on the letters and identity they’d like us to walk through life with, but it doesn’t end there. It never ends. We are constantly naming and renaming ourselves, fighting against the names other people call us and deciding to start anew with branding and naming our work and our experiences.

When I was a little girl, and even still today, my father called me Lynnie. I love hearing it roll off his tongue, but I never liked other people calling me Lynnie – especially not my siblings. So when we were young, they did exactly that, just to get under my skin.

Today, when people call me Lynnie, I don’t mind it – it’s endearing, affectionate, and I’m ok with that.

We siblings fashioned other names for each other, too – mostly based on the first letter of our names. I became Lou, Leonardo, Louie, and others, where my brother was Rooster, Rands, Doozie (for Randoozie).

I won’t repeat the names I was called in 5th grade (my loser year), but let’s just say they didn’t sit well. I’d walk home crying from the pain of being the object of other people’s pointing fingers, and my little Kindergarten brother would carry my flute case to make me feel better. (Hilarious when you look back on that picture.)

We evolve and change and name every step of the way. As we grow older and enter the business world, we give ever-growing importance to the naming process – how we will be known in the business world seems paramount to how we know ourselves.

Today, one has to choose a business name that in some way relates to the URL they pick for their website so it’s easy to find them, easy to remember what they do. I can’t tell you how many people I know who’ve chosen a business name on the basis of what is available on GoDaddy.

But let’s think about it a different way for a second: a brand isn’t really a name or even a logo – as beautiful or creative or snarky as they may be. It’s the interactive experience.

Perhaps we should be choosing names that absorb the magic of the interactive path, that scream the qualities of the relationship that will ensue by engaging in business together, by knowing one another, by looking into the eyes and soul of the business (read: person) before you.

Business is not a nameless, faceless, formless endeavor. People do business with people – not with entities. Nicknames are a show of affection; the minute your business is awarded a sobriquet is the moment you start realizing you’re reaching people. Let go of the need to control how everyone else sees you and start celebrating the fact that they want to engage with your brand and see you of their own doing.

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