What's In A Name - Ashley Stevens

Guest Blogger: Ashley Stevens

Ashley is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans (11') and works in Human Resources for Archon Information Systems. She also serves as a graduate assistant at the LSU Olinde Career Center

Hello there! I’m Ashley. It’s a name I don’t really connect with personally, but it gets the job done. In sixth grade, there were four Ashley’s. FOUR. Two of us even had the same first and middle names, and we shared the same last initial. How’s that for cultivating individuality? 

In high school, my best friend gave me the nickname “Smashley” ever so lovingly. This morphed into just “Smash,” which she still calls me to this day, more than 10 years later. In college, I was given my personal favorite nickname: Badash. How badass is that? (See what I did there?)

But nothing catches my attention more than someone calling me plain ‘ol Ashley. Why? Because names are important. Psychology tells us there’s way more to a name than we expect. Think associations for age (Mildred versus Molly), gender (the ambiguity of the Sam’s and Alex’s of the world), even race (Jackson versus Joshua). These matter for a great many reasons — job searching and airline security not least among them — and create lasting ripple effects.

Names matter for businesses, too. Just because a restaurant calls itself McDonald's doesn’t mean anyone will know instinctively what’s served by the name. The most likely candidate from that name is some sort of grilled duck delicacy.

I bring all this up to make a not-so-succinct point: Your brand is the name of your company, not the other way around. How you position your products or services is the name of your success game. Sure, your company is named Starbucks — a name many still have no idea about its origin — but that green siren, frappuccino happy hour, incredibly customizable menu and free WiFi is your brand. It’s what keeps basic Bieber girls, apathetic hipsters and coffee sophisticates alike all coming back for more. 

You recently met my friend James. He hates writing about himself, so allow me to help: James is the man who gets to work with your organization and makes a name for it all over town. He’s incredible at his work and passionate about telling stories. We share this passion, and with our opposite personalities and collective broad interests, I'm here to help him share your story -- to make your name. 

So give James a shout, or send me some feedback here. If you’re looking for someone to help you bust out a brainstorm, build strategic relationships, or blow up your industry with a branding launch, take the first step: Tell us your name.

Until we met again, cheers y’all.