My wife and I had the pleasure of naming our first child in 2012. Like all parents, we wanted something different and unique that would personify our son. We chose Luca Salvatore. The name reflects my Italian heritage and Salvatore is the name of my grandfather. Luca is also one of the most popular names in Switzerland (where my wife and I met). To me, Luca sounds like a great sports name, and what sports fan father doesn’t hope to one day see his child succeed in athletic competition (just as Notre Dame football fans chanted “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy” in the film Rudy, I could imagine the crowd yelling “Luca, Luca, Luca”!)
This past year I had the pleasure of naming my non-human baby: my own company. The thought process was actually quite similar to naming my son. I wanted a name that would be unique and different. It should reflect my company’s values, services, heritage and aspirations. I also wanted a name in which I could tell a coherent story that would make sense to my targeted audience. I chose Experiential Communications as it represents the three pillars of my consultancy: teaching, education and strategic communications storytelling. Here’s the background and story.
Teaching: The most common use of the term experiential is associated with experiential learning, which in a nutshell means learning from experience. I love teaching and offer workshops and courses on various aspects of communications. My goal is to provide an “experiential communications learning experience” in which I facilitate fun and interactive discussions and then students / participants are able to apply frameworks in a hands-on, practical way.
Education: For the past year, I thought long and hard about the direction I wanted to go in launching a communications consultancy. I ultimately decided to hone in on education. My teaching and communications services are targeted for individuals and groups with an educational focus. “Experiential” relates to education, which reinforces my niche.
Communications / storytelling: I am passionate about storytelling. I believe brands have an incredible opportunity to tell their stories in a strategic way. While the end goal and desired result of any communications/ story will vary from case to case (i.e – potential sales, internal buy-in, engaged existing client, etc), I believe we all want our stories and communications to result in an “experience” for the targeted audience. We want that they remember the story and key messages, and feel more compelled to take a specific reaction or think in a particular way. This is what I strive for in helping my clients tell their stories, whether it be through media relations, content marketing, social media or internal communications, etc.
There are going to be people who butcher my company name, and there are probably many who don’t know what the term “experiential” even means. I can live with that. What matters most to me is that I can comfortably and passionately tell a story about my company name, slogan and logo that resonates with my targeted audiences. Time will tell!
Within the world of education, my personal favorite name of an initiative, project or center is The Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke, founded by Professor Dan Ariely. As stated on its web site, the goal of this center is “to develop great insights about an extensive and diverse set of research projects. Needless to say, all of this work is done retrospectively. One might even go as far as saying in hindsight.”
Here is some useful background about how this name came to be. The name is unique – actually ironic – and there is a nice story to tell that in my opinion makes a great amount of sense to those interested in this research.
Perhaps these examples may be a source of inspiration if you are ever naming a company, initiative, project or research center. Or maybe too your next child!