November 16, 2005
How Your Name
Ends Must Follow the Trend
company’s name should accomplish anything, it’s to tell us what they do.
United Airlines. They fly planes, at least when your flight’s not
cancelled. The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein. No fries served here.
enough. And the key to the name is the last name. If your last name is
Deli, I’ll take a pound of sliced turkey from you. If your last name is
Football Club, then hey! Quit stealing the deli guys’ dates! But at
least I know what you do.
business people – these entrepreneurial dreamers who once decided to
challenge the odds and take on the world – can be astoundingly afraid to
be unlike everyone else. Especially when it comes to their companies’
Hospital used to be a stately last name. It was also helpfully
descriptive. It prevented us from rushing to the muffler shop during a
heart attack. We found it comforting to know that, in our community, we
had four members of the Hospital family.
was more than a decade ago. Now, we have none. No more hospitals. Not in
Grand Rapids, where venerable Metropolitan Hospital recently became the
last to change its last name – switching to the sleek “Metro Health.”
Why? The new name is “more manageable,” a spokeswoman explains.
that’s understandable. You can only take so much of a name staying out
late and drawing on the walls with crayons. If I change my cat’s name
from Domino to “Fur Health,” maybe she’ll stop jumping on my head.
name change completes the local quadrafecta, in which – over the past
decade – all four local hospitals changed their last names from
“Hospital” to “Health.” A whole family of Hospitals, off to get new
Social Security cards with the new cool name.
Hospital family isn’t the only one. Members of the Transportation and
Trucking families have forsaken their family history and joined the
Logistics Solutions family. In fact, this is mere a subset of the
exploding Solutions family, which is getting to be like Smiths in the
business phone book. Everyone wants to be Solutions. Carpet Cleaning
Solutions. Engineering Solutions. I half expect my local police
department, which already bolted for the Public Safety family, to change
its name again to Crime Solutions. (Wait. Would this create a problem
with the people who sell ski masks and candle holders?)
all these Solutions companies out there, I hope we don’t run out of
problems for them to solve. But that’s the risk you take when your area
is overly dependent on the Solutions industry.
are about 30 companies in my area with the last name Networks. None of
them have announced their prime time lineups. Even “Communications” is
getting out of hand. Do you do advertising or phone systems?
clears it up.
may have started in places like Chicago and Hamtramck, where large
populations of Polish immigrants started the trend by becoming Wilkins
and Korals, even while others proudly remained Wilczynskis and
Koralewskis. Of course, they didn’t have to get new logos and “branding
wonder what happens 10 years from now, when no one is going to the
Health places because, well, they’re sick! Time to change last names
again, perhaps to “Illness Solutions.” Hopefully the ambulance driver
can find it.
Ambulance? That’s Urgent Life Transport to you, buddy!
© 2005 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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