Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.
Welcome to Stop 3 of MISSION: Authentic
A rose by any other name …
Despite the many adages against making judgments based on first impressions – books and covers, etc. – we can’t quite help ourselves. First impressions are lasting impressions and they shape how we think about the person, the business, the organization we’ve just met. At least until we’ve managed to form a deeper acquaintance.
It simplifies matters tremendously to make sure that you or your business make a first impression that genuinely reflects who you are. That means naming your company with care.
A reflection and a revelation
The impact of your name doesn’t stop with the first impression. While a name is a key component to any introduction, it lingers. It’s a part of every subsequent interaction. It’s inextricably linked with you, your company, everything you do, everything you stand for. It’s a symbol, a stand-in for what you want people to remember about your business: your meaning, your purpose, your authentic mission.
Having an authentic mission – a core purpose that goes beyond money – is crucial to building and marketing a successful business in the internet era. Consumers have been shaped by the mass availability of information and the last few decades of corporate scandals.
They judge a company by its ethics, by its environmental stance, by how they source their materials and treat their employees. They’re looking at what a business is putting out into the world and are more likely to buy from a brand they like and trust.
Authenticity starts with that core purpose, which should burn like a furnace in the heart of the company, but radiate ever outward, passing like heat through every layer of the business until it reaches even the outermost shell.
Which is, of course, your name.
Choosing … wisely
There are a lot of companies who have really done the naming thing well. Some of them – including but certainly not limited to those detailed below – have done exceptionally well. They’ve chosen names that are simple, memorable, and reflective of who they are.
These best examples, not surprisingly, have done a pretty good job of allowing their authentic purpose to shape not just their name but all of their messaging. (Further proof that knowing your deeper meaning affects everything you do.)
Whole Foods Market
The name itself is simple, clear, and easy to remember. It also hints at their values: healthy, natural, organic products – responsibly grown, sustainably harvested, gently handled, and impeccably served.
They care about the whole food – from beginning to end. That includes caring about their suppliers, their employees, and their customers.
Whole Foods has, consequently, become the big name in organic and specialty groceries, known for gorgeous produce, natural products, and healthy recipes for prepared foods. They’re walking their walk and talking their talk and their name reflects it all.
GoldieBlox develops construction toys for girls. Their mission is to overcome the gender bias in the maths and sciences. Only 14% of the world’s engineers are females simply because girls are discouraged from the science and engineering fields or from playing with “boys’ toys,” steered toward the arts and domestic fields.
GoldieBlox seeks to overcome that stigma early, by creating building kits that play to girls’ natural verbal skills, tying together story and construction.
Their name reflects this choice from a few angles. There is the obvious play on “Goldielocks,” a little girl who had an adventure because she refused to play by the rules or settle for less than what she wanted. And there is inclusion of the classic boys’ building toy but disrupted: “blox” instead of “blocks.”
Goldieblox is a name that reflects both their personality – fun, playful – and the nature of their core mission: girls at work and at play, disrupting the status quo.
Warby Parker designs and creates affordable, designer prescription eyewear. As an alternative to the artificially-inflated prices of the mainstream eyewear market, Warby Parker engages with customers directly with their in-house-designed frames.
They also believe that everyone has the right to see. For every pair of glasses bought, a pair is donated. They work with non-profit partners not only to pay for the glasses, but also to train people in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses within their own communities.
So why the name?
At first glance, the slightly offbeat person-name fits and matches the idea of an exclusive designer, reinforcing the quality of the product. If you dig a little deeper, you discover that they took the name from two of writer Jack Kerouac’s characters. Books, reading? The connection makes sense, even without deeper knowledge.
It gets better: Kerouac was a part of the Beat movement, writers known for going their own way, disrupting the conventions of the literary establishment, looking at the world from a new perspective. Warby Parker’s chosen name is a direct reflection of everything they stand for as a company.
Story & Heart
Story & Heart is a video licensing platform that is determined to do things a little differently than your standard stock footage companies. They encourage their filmmakers to think of themselves as storytellers, packaging their footage in cohesive sequences rather than clips, allowing the inherent narrative to shape the quality and framing of their product.
As a result they collect footage that reflects the highest quality and evokes authentic emotion. They’re also determined to provide a shelter for aspiring filmmakers, a community for like-minded artists who can meet for income, for support, and for collaboration.
Because of our work with Story & Heart, we can personally testify that they are a company that is deeply passionate about telling amazing stories, an ability that can only come from the heart. “Story & Heart” is the perfect name for their mission and the brand they’re building around it.
The region of Patagonia is an adventurer’s paradise: gorgeous jagged peaks, expansive steppes, icefields, national parks. It is largely untouched by human industry or settlement and was once described as “the farthest place to which man walked from his place of origin.” Patagonia equates to varied natural landscapes and wildernesses, preserved from depredation by remoteness and sheer beauty, a symbol of restlessness and wonder.
The company Patagonia is committed to creating the best, most effective, most durable adventuring equipment while leaving the smallest possible environmental footprint. They live their mission so deeply that they ask their customers to consider repairing the gear they already have rather than buying something new. Such a company can fittingly share a name with an untouched adventure wonderland.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Take a minute to think about your own company name. If you’d never heard it before, what would you think about your company based on your name? Is that want you want to convey? Is that who you want to be? Is it, in fact, who you truly are?
While you’re thinking about that, ponder this, too: Who else do you think is doing the name thing right? Tweet us your favorite company names and why. Just tag it #AuthenticMission.
And if you’re playing along with MISSION: Authentic, you can check your progress here.
- Mission briefing
- Stop One: Our New Digs
- Stop Two: Cultivate an Asset
- Stop Three: Pick a Good Alias
- Stop Four: Improvise
- Stop Five: Regroup & Conquer
- Stop Six: Safe House
- Stop Seven: Get the Intel
- Stop Eight: Hang on Tight
- Stop Nine: Mack Web is now Genuinely