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Is Naming a Billion Dollar Entity Different Than a Million Dollar One?

Posted in Guest Bloggers

Capsule recently helped name an international spin-off from Fiserv (a $10 billion business), now called StoneRiver and comprising one billion dollars in revenue. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to compare that process with our experience naming a million dollar business in the promotions category: Sidecar. Now that both projects are successfully completed, we can certainly say the difference is clear.

Capsule used the same criteria (memorable, protectable and relevant) in both scenarios. Names were generated using the same unique ideation techniques and filtered thoroughly in roughly the same manner. Similar education materials and methods were used in each presentation of names. If you had followed the process casually it might have appeared fairly similar, but in fact the differences were dramatic. 

The formation of any billion-dollar start up has plenty of opportunities for contention. So, when this large team went through Capsule’s brand definition process, sustaining collaboration and consensus was the unwritten, but highly understood, rule. The final name had to pass the scrutiny of more than a dozen leaders, managers and team members. It also had to be a rallying point for the company. The name had to be the first flag raised above this new venture to signal a bright future for employees, collaborators and customers.

No pressure, just naming.

Now, the million-dollar venture, Sidecar. No less important to each individual member of the team, perhaps even more to the owner who had thrived for over a decade with her existing name. Less lives impacted if things didn’t go well, but perhaps with greater pain if the process was a failure.

While it’s true that fewer people in the process can mean an easier decision-making process, it can also place more risk of failure upon one set of shoulders. So, more risk for an individual can result in almost the same amount of time for one person to make the same decision as a large committee. Make sense? Seems to if you look at the impact of the decision. It also makes sense to consider each with the same amount of care, nurturing and mutual respect.

Regardless of the size of the organization being named, the same important pieces will always be at play: criteria, process, collaboration and risk. Naming is most successful when it’s considered as a point of collaboration.

No pressure, just naming.

Aaron Keller, Capsule