A Rose by any other Name

jonnycash1Was Juliet correct in the meaninglessness of word assignment? The glaring irony of the person these words were uttered to, his own name now inseparably synonymous with love and romance, warrants some thought.

Words, like all symbols, can cause implicit reactions. Just as we have emotional responses to smells that carry us back to sitting in grandma’s kitchen, words can also create automatism.

We spend months or years or a moment deciding on the name that our offspring will be saddled with for the rest of their eternity. When I meet people who already have an association with my name it’s almost always positive. My name is generally a throw back to a generation of great aunts who apparently were always wonderful people. When we meet someone who already has an association with our name it takes time for them to allow you some place in the name.

When naming a company or a product or a person or a pet we go through a lot of turmoil, the thing is it’s usually the wrong debate. Do you like this name is the wrong question. The real question is, what are people’s emotional responses to those words, and are you going to be strong enough to create a new reaction in them?

Sue spent a lifetime fighting to change the inherent reaction people had to his name, if only he’d thought to hire Johnny Cash to market it for him he may have made it to his death with his ear intact.

Don’t ask other people what they like, ask yourself how hard you’re willing to work to make people’s association be what you want it to be.

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