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What do brands call employees?

What do employees call themselves as a group and can it be forced upon them? Is it even important.

Science suggests that it might be. In some studies, researchers have discovered that it is possible to predict a likely name for an individual based upon their appearance. Which came first then, the behaviour and mannerism or the name?

Natalie Frank suggests that names certainly affect how we behave, so choosing a name might be more than just a fun exercise. It can determine future behaviour.

At The Team we occasionally call ourselves Teamsters but that’s not forced on people. I guess it just doesn’t work that way. It’s mentioned every now and then. Sometimes it even makes me bristle a little.

But for some brands, it’s perfect.

Here are few examples for to draw on:

Southwest refers to employees as cohearts playing off the word cohorts. It’s totally in line with their “love” vision – They work at Love Field and the company abbreviation is LUV. Cohearts works for Southwest as it matches their values and character. It goes deep.

Arcadis refer to their employees as Arcadians. It works well as a natural extension of the name and just matches the nature of their business – the create infrastructure.

This leads onto organisations who have seized on a part of the name or logo and maximised that. Britelings work for Eventbrite; Owls work for Hootsuite;

Then there’s the ‘er’s’ – Googlers, Facebookers, IBMers, Jivers, Yelpers, Avanaders etc. It’s very techy.

Microsoft employees refer to themselves as ‘Softies’ – I’m not sure this works for me, but it’s out there and once out, it’s hard to put back in the box.

At Twitter, it was Tweeps (short for Peeps). Nice and sweet.

But many organisations just don’t do this. There’s no abbreviation for people who work at Apple. They just don’t think they need one. They are bigger than that. Arrogant or confident?

I worked for The Body Shop which you would imagine was ripe for a soft abbreviation, but there was none. The employees there were more focused on changing the world at the time. I hope they still are.

I guess you can’t force a name and why do so if it doesn’t come naturally.

Alternatively, you can let your personality influence the names you give other things. For example, for a long time the people who worked at Innocent’s HQ worked at Fruit Towers.

No brand should force monikers on people – they tend to find their own and they come through authentic usage. Founders can successfully introduce names – after all it’s their business so they are entitled to do so.

Whatever you choose to do, go back to your authentic personality and purpose and search for the answer there. Listen to what people are already saying and tap into that. Or, just let it be. What matters most is that people feel motivated by what they are doing rather than motivated by what they are called.


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