WHAT did you just call me?

Imagine. Two identical resumes land on your desk. Both from highly qualified people: perfect for the job. You only have one job opening. Whom would you hire: Mark or Muhammad?

Researchers in the Netherlands have found that sending in the exact resumes under different names to various companies found out that Mark has a much better chance of getting an interview than equality qualified Muhammad. I’m sure that similar results – albeit in favour of Muhammad – could be obtained in countries where Mark is the exotic name.

Names aren’t just names. Whatever we choose to call ourselves, our business or our product matters. In fact, it matters a whole lot.

Why? Because all names carry meaning. Even though the actual etymology of a name may be unknown, a name, its overall sound and spelling evoke different feelings and associations with different people. All names are basically one (sometimes two or three) word stories about the object or person being named. They may also tell you a lot about the person using (or choosing) a particular name.

Someone may call me “Mr. van de Werk” whilst someone else might simply say ”Daddy”. Even though the two people are talking to the exact same person, the name they use tells you a story about them and they way they perceive me. (Which of the two is probably the older one? Which of the two is related to me? Which of the two is more likely to like toy trains? I could go on for a bit, the amount of detail you could derive from a name can quite amazing.)

Getting the name just right should be an important part of any strategy. Never underestimate the power of a creative name. Whatever name you end up with potentially adds (or subtracts) a whole lot of value to whatever it is you are trying to sell or achieve. Kids love honky-tonky-wonder-spinach, but refuse eating plain old spinach. Even though it’s objectively the same stuff. Naming it right outweighs the actual benefits of the spinach, no matter how many times you insist: “….eat it, it’s good for you!”

It’s really not much different for your business, your brand or your product. It makes sense that many successful companies invest a lot of time and hard work on creating and honing the perfect name for their business or brand.

So what do you call yourself?

7 Replies to “WHAT did you just call me?”

  1. You’re so right!

    My companyname is Art To Get!
    It speaks for itself and it refers to the expression Hard To Get!
    And that’s exactly what my clienst want from my products, exclusive and original commercial artwork.

  2. Hi Tamara,

    Thanks for stopping by! You’ve got a great (and sexy sounding) company name indeed: desirable, feminine and high value creativity. That’s the picture I got when I first heard the name of your business.

    For anyone interested in Tamara’s work: check out http://www.arttoget.nl/ She’s doing al sorts of wonderful illustrative work (hope I got that right).

  3. I love when people are on top of their creative strategy!

    A good friend just mailed: he wants to start a new business. If need be he’ll use the whole summer to conjure up a great name for it.

  4. Why is everybody talking in english? When i look at the names i say dutch people 😉

  5. Hi Sjaak,

    because some of my readers do not speak dutch. Hope you don’t mind.


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