Anyone who has started a business will have no doubt been through the exciting but anxiety-laden experience of trying to give your new organisation a moniker that is in some way reflective of the image you are attempting to portray. Strong (Gatorade), descriptive (Sofa.com), cute (Build-a-bear Workshop), friendly (Easyjet) or even provocative (Virgin – it was a really big scandal back in the sixties. ‘Mark my words, this Branson guy, he’ll never last’).
I am sure that in many cases people have pored over this one issue for too long as a part of their business launch experience, in the hope that the name itself will gave some bearing on the future success of the organisation about to be created.
It’s of course true that names are important and that they matter. In the smash-hit book Freakonomics, Stephen J. Dubner & Steven D. Levitt makes a compelling (and alarming) case about the likely interview selection success of a young adult in America based on their expected ethnic or racial background purely on the basis of their given first name. It’s safe to say that, according to their research, names of traditional African heritage don’t exactly propel you through the interview process.
Equally, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that names really are by-products of the service you deliver, an embodiment of whatever meaning you bestow upon it through your actions, values and behaviours. It’s been a long time since anyone actually bought a Carphone from the Carphone Warehouse, right?
Of course, the true nirvana in the name game is to see your corporate name achieve verb status, either as a widely-adopted alternative for the action of using your product (I’m just doing the hoovering) or even better, the creation of an entirely new action or behaviour altogether (Facebook me, yeah?).
And so, what’s in a name like Energon People?
Firstly, it’s probably worth clearing up what we don’t do. We don’t do anything remotely related to providing gas or electricity, nor are we a provider of ‘Johns’ (we had one memorable incident where the person on the other end of the phone couldn’t possibly fathom what a company “Any John People” could possibly want with her, given that she was called Amanda. That really would be taking your game niche).
(BTW what we do do is Technology Recruitment & Search for some of the world’s most amazing companies from our offices in London & Melbourne.)
Secondly, we were clear on one thing at the outset. We really didn’t want to give our company a naff middle England composite name like Dwight & Gayle or Hartley Knutball (if that is the name of your company then I’m sorry, I’m sure you guys do great). But we felt such a convention was simply too anodyne for us, and let’s face it, it would be another shade of white blended against the background of an already homogenous marketplace. We wanted something different.
So, it had to be a single word name. We agreed on that. The simpler the better. It had to reflect our values, travel well, not box us in and sound awesome.
And we had our eureka moment! Our passion is really about one thing: transformation. It reflects the service we provide to our clients (we help them attract people who are genuinely going to transform their business), reflects what we do for our candidates (in the main, a new job is a big deal, right) and transforming the lives of those around us – us, our families, and the people who work tirelessly for and with us, both now and in the future. Transformation. Yep, sounds good.
Enter stage left: Enzo McLaren, Aged 8 and 1/2. “Dad, you know the transformers, they use Energon as their fuel. I think that’s what you should use”.
“Holy s**t, what did he say?” That’s honestly how it felt. We frantically scratched around for a definition online, and hey presto:
“Energon is the preferred fuel of the Transformer race. A highly coveted substance, it is sometimes capable of inducing remarkable transformations. Reshaping and otherwise altering their bodies while imbuing great strength and other powers, either temporary or permanent depending on the duration or strength of exposure”
It was a strangely appropriate definition of a recruitment business. We then frantically searched the domain registrars and found that there was a facilities management company in Europe living very happily at the .Com (FYI unless your company is an 18 letter string of consonants, there are essentially no .coms left), a couple of weird farming companies and that was about it. It was surely meant to be!
As for the second bit, we opted for People as, well, that’s what we all are. We did think about ‘Search’, (bit high brow; we’re just not that way inclined) and we also thought about ‘Recruitment’ (bit boring) and someone suggested ‘Global Human Capital Transformation Solutions’ (er, nice one).
A few hundred pounds registering 28 domains later (a defensive web strategy, apparently), and here we are, as pleased as punch.
Transformation? You’d better believe it.