I have spent my working life in the business of explaining things. First in newspapers and television and then for the last 25 years in branding, words and the use of language have been central to my work of communicating ideas.
Language shapes reality. Names are language tools used to organize and structure our understanding of the world and everything in it. Names help to civilize our world. The naming of something is a political act; it endows significance and denotes ownership or a proprietary authority of the namer over that which is named.
In the business world naming is no less political. I have seen executives at Fortune 500 companies agonize for hours over name candidates for a huge merger and then breeze through a business agenda of remarkable complexity with teams of attorneys and investment bankers.
And yet the whole subject of naming is often regarded as an inconsequential and insignificant aside, something that anyone could do if they had the time. Indeed, I have heard attorneys advise clients in need of a name to get a get a group of students in a room and provide them with beer and pizza. It’s that easy.
No, it’s not. This blog is dedicated to the moments of triumph, tragedy and farce that the art and practice of naming has given rise to.
Alan is a Principal of RiechesBaird, a brand strategy and marketing company based in Irvine, California. He is also the firm’s energy practice leader.
A former editor and reporter with the Financial Times of London, Alan was part of the launch team for the newspaper’s international edition in Frankfurt, Germany before being appointed Deputy Features Editor and then Assistant Editor in charge of design. He was recruited by Walter Landor in 1985 to build a European presence for Landor Associates. As Managing Director, Europe Alan successfully established the company as the first truly international branding company with operations in nine European cities before being moved to Landor’s headquarters in 1992 as Executive Director Worldwide. In 1994 he co-founded Addison, a branding company based in San Francisco. He has also served as Managing Director of Siegel & Gale’s Los Angeles office and Worldwide President of Enterprise IG, a WPP subsidiary.
He has found time to write speeches for many business executives, including Roy Disney, and numerous articles on the subject of brands and branding.
949 273 6319