The “En commun” platform (including its “Passerelles” and “Praxis” subcomponents), with more than 5,000 members representing over 180 communities, exists to allow its parent organization (“Projet collectif”, née “Réseau Passerelles”) to fulfill its mission, that is, “Accelerate society’s transition towards increased sustainability and fairness, by facilitating collaboration and knowledge activation between people and organizations working for the common good.”
Projet collectif‘s vision is to bring about a state of society where individuals and organizations collaborate across industrial, cultural and geographical differences, in order to provide collaborative structural responses to social, economic and ecological challenges.
As part of an organizational transition process for the Passerelles project team to a new independent body, TIESS wanted to carry out a preliminary study of the potential names for these three interrelated components: the future technological platform (the “future Passerelles”), the new independent organization (then temporarily named “Réseau Passerelles”) and its future support services center.
The challenge, as articulated by the client, was to make sure to establish a set of names clearly drawing a line in the sand between the technological platform and the organization that supports it, to avoid any confusion:
“Unlike a technology startup where the name of the company often is the same as the name of the product/platform, in our case, we want to assert a broader mission that goes beyond a simple product/platform, hence the requirement for both brand components to have independent identities”
idéemarque was tasked with carrying out the preliminary name search and offer support throughout the brand naming process, including brainstorming ideas, providing theoretical knowledge and general recommendations, participating in team discussions, making name proposals and evaluating counter-proposals from the client, linguistic and name ergonomics (practicality) verifications for shortlisted names, checking domain names possibilities and availability, and preliminary international trademarks due-diligence research to evaluate the potential for brand conflicts.
The preliminary name search phase took place over several weeks. During this process, in addition to the names imagined by the client, idéemarque imagined and proposed 266 potential names for the organization, the platform and the services center. The breadth and extent of that work can be visualized with this mind map (opposite) of the names we provided across various themes.
After the first stage where idéemarque had assessed a number of possibilities for all three elements simultaneously (organization, platform, services center), we focused more specifically on developing potential names for the technological platform.
During a third phase, over the changes and name proposals submitted, the client then expressed the wish to keep the name of the platform identical (“Passerelles”) after all, and to only change the name of the organization, with a new set of constraints:
- must fit into a certain thematic or symbolic relationship with the other names, but must not come close to “Passerelles” semantically or phonetically;
- no frequently used terminology from the NGO’s industry;
- no invented words, acronyms, portmanteaux, or puns;
- no alternative spellings;
- must not be a single word;
- not “too straightforward”;
- no potentially touchy topics in the current zeitgeist, nothing leading to societal debate;
- no words where it would be difficult to graft an organisational culture and identity afterwards;
- no niche or overly specialized words.
The client said there was “No need for a highly distinctive and catchy name, just a name that can be recalled.”
We have therefore reoriented our research and supportive consulting services according to these new criteria for the final phase of the project.
idéemarque has produced, refined and then eliminated a wide range of naming possibilities, allowing the customer to narrow down to a handful of preferred choices.
Following the first three phases of the project, idéemarque, for some names, carried out availability and feasibility research, and educated the client’s team on the importance of such compliance and due-diligence checks, leading up to the final organizational name to be chosen.
Through two rounds of evaluating names shortlisted by the client and pre-checked by idéemarque, the client’s internal team and its governance committee met to confirm their final choice of names:
- The main “social” component of the platform shall retain the “Passerelles” name (although it would be complemented by another component named “Praxis”, together forming a platform called “En commun”)
- The inter-organizational support and accompaniment service will be called “l’équipe d’aiguillage” (loosely: the user orientation support team)
- The non-profit organization that will oversee the platform and the services will henceforth be called “Projet collectif”.
While the platform may be used by anyone around the world, it has been mainly designed for Québec, where French is the official work language, and thus the organisation preferred to stay close to its linguistic roots.
In French, all of these names exude a positive, optimistic aura, and clearly testify to an orientation towards collaboration on a human scale, with a warm and community aspect.
As part of its service offering, idéemarque not only carried out meticulous research, analysis and support, but also produced a summary report facilitating analytical thinking and collaborative decision-making by the client’s team. idéemarque thus helped the client to complete the process satisfactorily, on time and on budget.
“Finding a name is a crucial and delicate endeavor, since it is also a way of defining the DNA of an organization. Jeff from idéemarque was able to support and accompany us throughout this process, with openness, creative brilliance and flawless professionalism, which proved to be reassuring, constructive… and a lot of fun!”
- allow the Projet collectif team to pursue its organizational development initiatives;
- pave the way for branding projects, marketing strategies, etc;
- they benefited from support that complemented and enhanced the resources of its internal team at a critical juncture in their organisational roadmap;
- they were provided with an impartial and objective assessment of the various possibilities;
- significant risk reduction and time savings;
- an educational experience for the client’s team members;
- greater confidence, for the Projet collectif team, in their chosen names.
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