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Introducing…Stand Media Solutions (or: What’s in a Name?)

Introducing…Stand Media Solutions (or: What’s in a Name?)

So here we all sat, trying to decide on a name for our brand-new organization…

How important is a name?

The words of “the Bard”, William Shakespeare, considered by many to be the greatest poet to ever set pen to paper, come to mind.

In his play “Romeo and Juliet”, 13-year-old Juliet is in love with Romeo, the son of a family that is at feud with her own. She bemoans the fact that Romeo’s last name is the obstacle to their love, and proclaims “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”

These words are among the best-known and most-quoted from Shakespeare’s works, and their simple message, that a name does not affect the qualities of that which it describes but is merely a meaningless label, has resonated with millions of people.

Juliet shows wisdom beyond her years with that assertion, yet her love to Romeo will turn out to be doomed. Both she and Romeo are dead by the end of the play, “star-crossed lovers” for no other reason than the “wrong” family name.

And thus the play teaches us an important lesson: Even though a name does not affect the characteristics of its owner, it DOES affect how its owner is perceived and treated by the world at large.

While a business will (hopefully) not die because of a less-than-ideal name, we knew that we were undertaking a momentous task when we sat down for our brainstorming session to come up with a name.

One thing to consider is how the name rolls off the tongue. A long time ago I read somewhere that the best way to test a baby’s name is to holler it loudly out the back door at least 15 times. If one’s tongue had not twisted into knots and the name still sounded good after many repeats, it was a winner. Could this work for a business name as well, I wondered?

Another consideration is to test how the name sounds to others. What sounds fine inside a quiet room may not when heard against background noise. Maybe one of us could yell out the names and someone else should listen far down the street to check how they sound from a distance against traffic noise. I remember years ago eating at a great restaurant in Burlington, Ontario, and the person taking me there called it “Mother Tucker’s.” Yet they seem to have re-branded as “Tucker’s Marketplace.” What would the name “Mother Tucker’s” sound like floating down a street, distorted by traffic noise and distance? I think I know why they re-branded.  But their food was awesome. Probably still is. I haven’t had the chance to check them out lately.

We also wanted to avoid unpleasant surprises. Let’s consider the experience of Jeff Bezos. According to this article https://www.pcworld.com/article/2061288/so-thats-why-its-called-bluetooth- and- other-surprising-tech-name-origins.html (retrieved March 28, 2018), he originally named his company “Cadabra” (as in “abracadabra”), which his lawyer misheard as “cadaver” (“dead person”). After that, not surprisingly, it became Amazon. If our name sounded anything like “cadaver”, we wanted to know about it before we bought the domain name.

I was about to pitch my idea of “testing the name loudly” to the group, but then decided against it. What worked well in great-grandpa’s time in farm country would not go over well today. In the city, with neighbours and businesses close by, this loud type of name-testing could attract a noise-bylaw officer and a squad car with a friendly police officer administering a sobriety test. While having some of the City’s Finest visit us would get us noticed, ultimately this was not the type of ‘noticed’ we were hoping for.

As a result, we settled for testing names in an unobtrusive way, saying them out loud and brainstorming about possible connotations behind the words. When choosing a name, we not only have to navigate words, but also nuanced variations in the meaning. Meanings change over time.  Years ago “trump” was a card game move. Trump with a capital “T” was an American businessman with a signature hairdo. One U.S. election later, that same word means so much more.

In the end, we settled on “Stand Media Solutions”.

“Stand” has many positive connotations. To stand is to get ready for action, as opposed to “sit.” “Stand together” – to support each other in a group. “Stand firm” – to persevere in the face of adversity. “Stand out” – be a leader in one’s field.

And what about the logo of a pink flamingo? How does this beautiful animal tie into all this?

“Stand” is one of the terms used to describe a group of flamingos.  The website https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-flamingos-385519 (retrieved March 28, 2018) tells us that other acceptable words are “stand, colony, regiment or a flamboyance. These terms can apply to a flamingo flock of any size, but do not apply to just a pair of flamingos.”

How very appropriate this name is, because like the flamingo in our logo, we stood together at Mohawk College to support each other during our studies, and now continue to stand.

Flamingos are also the perfect metaphor for business and life. They are known for their balancing act of standing on one leg for extended periods of time, gently swaying in the wind, yet not falling over.  Which is exactly what life feels like at times, trying not to “fall over” while the wind blows.

They also have webbed feet  https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/flamingo/#flamingo-flying.jpg  (retrieved March 28, 2018) which allow them to run on water without sinking before lifting up into the sky.

While we do not have webbed feet (the last time we checked), and cannot run on water, we certainly hope to make your business, cause or event run on water, and eventually soar up into the sky.

Rita Schonlaub


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