What’s in a name?

Jeremy Mansfield
March 13, 2014

When I woke up at 2:30 in the morning on October 19, 2003, I had two simple words form in my mind for the name of a company I had been thinking about starting: Brand Aid. As I started thinking about this as a name, it became more and more clear that it was the right choice, as it simply defined for me what kind of service I provide and the manner I provide it.

For me personally and as a business entity, the words “Brand Aid” state simply, at the core, who we are and what we do. We aid and assist brands in telling their story through visual design solutions.

Interestingly enough, the term “aid” seems to have developed, over the years, a negative connotation associated with simply patching up a problem instead of diving into the core issue of the problem itself and developing an effective solution.  But that’s simply not true. Aid, by its definition, is to provide someone or something with what is useful or necessary (the means) in achieving an end.

By nature, I am a helper. I enjoy coming alongside people and assisting, or “aiding” them in moving towards accomplishing their vision and goals. I love serving, and I don’t need recognition or have to be in the spotlight for doing it. I get great satisfaction out of helping someone else accomplish their goals, above and beyond my own. I knew that if I was going to start a company, I was going to have to lead it with this personal ethos in mind.

A lot of experts will tell you to separate yourself from your business and leave it with a culture of its own. There may be some general and partially applicable wisdom to this, however, it is not a principle that is wholly at the core foundation of any successful business I know. For example, if Walt Disney had not infused his family entertainment empire with his own personal thirst for magical stories, childlike curiosity and thrill of adventure, the success of Disney related products and entertainment venues would not exist today. If Henry Ford would not have put his personal ethos of efficiency and streamlined operational and production processes into the manufacturing of automobiles, their utilitarian use might have taken decades more until they reached widespread distribution and usage. The common theme of both these examples is that these thriving empires were founded based on the personal vision, passion and hard work of a single man. A man who threw himself wholly into his business and established processes and culture based around his vision and desire. The fact that both of these businesses still bare the names of their founders speaks volumes. Businesses are not supposed to be devoid of personality, character, wit, vision and personal passion. Businesses are, after all, people. They are you, me, our customers, our friends and family. Businesses embody the soul and character of those they are meant to serve, and those who are doing the serving.

If we are going to truly serve our customers and help them achieve the means to their end, we have to understand  that our businesses are relationships with people that engage, excite and satisfy their needs, desires and wants. Your customers can tell when you are faking it and not passionate about what you do. They will never see the value in your business if you cannot communicate it to them clearly and convincingly. Don’t be afraid to allow all that you are and who you are called to be shine through your business.

Make it meaningful. Make it memorable. Make it clear.

Stacy Carter
March 15, 2014

Passionate post! Totally agree passion and excitement for a business drives the best creative and strategic outcomes. Well done.

Charles Alexander
March 26, 2014

Great post! More businesses could use a little personality.

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