Feb 2 2012
By Debbie Myers
My family has been in the naming business of late. Both of my daughters are expecting. Together with their husbands, they have been researching names for the little bundles of joy. Having not named a little one in quite a while, I find that I’m clearly out of the loop on the seemingly endless array of names, many of which I’ve never heard of. Now, I get that John and Mary are just too plain Jane, so to speak, but when my son-in-law proposed the name Link from the video game series Legend of Zelda, I had to say, “Hold on a minute. Let’s think this through.”
Usually I’m in the position of helping healthcare companies rebrand or name new services. So, could the advice I provide clients help my kids through this daunting task? Well, let’s see.
1. The best names are memorable.
A John or Mary could become memorable over time because of their deeds, but we will likely encounter many Johns and Marys in life – what makes one more memorable than the other? A person named Ulysses or Epiphany might do absolutely nothing in life that’s special, but chances are you would remember their names.
Recently, University Health Systems in North Carolina changed its name to Vidant Health. By replacing a very generic name, with a unique name that is distinctive, Vidant has the opportunity to become a more memorable brand.
2. Names should be relatable.
When naming a baby, it’s difficult to know who they will become when they’re grown up. Christening your little girl with a name like Bluebell might sound cute at the time, but ask people to feel confident when Dr. Bluebell is operating on their heart and you’re asking for a leap of faith for sure.
Companies, however, know what they want to stand for and their name should reflect this. Recently, Catholic Healthcare West changed its name to Dignity Health because it ended its affiliation with the Catholic Church. By selecting the name Dignity, the system was able to create a more distinctive name, but one that is still related to its faith-based character.
3. Lean towards timeless over trendy.
Names that endure have a classic value. In addition to meeting the two guidelines above, timeless names are easy to say and spell. They’re not distracting in a cutesy or overly clever way. Most importantly, some names never lose their luster, because behind the name stands a brand personality that is approachable and respected, while classically modern.
So how does the name Link stand up again these standards? I’ll let you decide. Fortunately for me, the kids have moved on to other choices; ones that certainly will always be memorable to me, but hopefully to others as well.