My name means the “land of kings.” That’s right, I’m royalty. Tyrie is a family name and, until probably around the late 19th century, it was mainly a surname. Over time, it traveled through the family lines until it was used as the “Christian name” for my great grandfather. My parents – clearly trying to pay homage to this man – then decided to name me Tyrie. That decision has played a huge role in the evolution of my identity. It has also confused a few people because of the nature of the name and some pretty obvious cultural signifiers.
For instance, my students at the college where I teach often come into the first day of class expecting someone very different than the nerdy, bespectacled white dude standing by the dry erase board. It’s something I have observed my whole life. It’s a phenomenon that serves as an anecdote for how “name” equates to “identity” and how perceptions affect both. Unfortunately, many business owners treat naming their businesses very much like naming a baby. However, naming a baby really only impacts one person – the said baby – while naming a business can affect many folks and does, in fact, play a vital role in a business’ success. For instance, check out these doozies from the Huffington Post. Some of those are too ridiculous to believe (Analtech? For serious?), but there they are and there are many more out there. Without a doubt, small business owners are the most guilty for crimes against branding.
And this is understandable. Branding is pricey. The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies. DIY design and DIY naming can be effective if kept simple, but when business owners try to get creative, more often than not, you end up with “Booty’s House of Crabs” or “Master Baiter’s Sportfishing and Tackle”. Which is why it pays to invest in professional name development when the time comes to really establish your business. Believe it or not, naming is a craft – it’s not just a bunch of designers sitting around in shorts and t-shirts, throwing darts at dictionary. Professional naming incorporates the entire brand, considers everything from market demographics to the business owner’s life story. It’s a process that depends on collaboration between the naming team and the client to create, what many consider, the keystone piece of a brand – more important than the logo (gasp!).
In a few weeks, we will take you on a journey to demonstrate name construction. Bring your hardhat.