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A Rose by Any Other Name

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

“What’s in a name?” When Juliet, in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, originally spoke these words, Shakespeare was making the argument that language is random. Names are just labels used to distinguish one thing from another. To Juliette, the name “Montague” itself did not create worth or meaning.

 

Up until recently, FL&G did not have a name. We were an entity; a fully functioning company, however we had no set identity. If names are just labels, we shouldn’t need one to create meaning and worth, right?

 

Doing business with no name, however, was a challenge. Without a name, we had to navigate how best to introduce ourselves to prospective clients. We had no business cards, we used temporary email addresses, we couldn’t yet define our brand or our visual identity. We had less to fall back on and more to explain.

 

The sense of identity that a name provides is at the heart of why names are important to us as individuals and business entities. Names are descriptors that allow people to make quick judgments and assumptions about us. While we can understand the harm of assumptions (and the reasoning behind Juliet’s assertion), names provide the human mind a fast way to categorize a lot of information in a short amount of time.

 

Interestingly, names have also been shown to be a crucial factor in an individual’s internalization and development of their sense of self. Names help propel us forward on various paths of life and career. For example, a name can “exert unconscious influence over a person's own choices. Some scientific researchers contend that there are disproportionately large numbers of dentists named Dennis and lawyers named Lauren, and that it's not purely an accident that Dr. Douglas Hart of Scarsdale, N.Y., chose cardiology or that the Greathouse family of West Virginia runs a real-estate firm.”

 

If choosing a name would inevitably have external and internal influences, choosing the right one for our new agency was one of the most important decisions we had to make to date. This decision was one that would shape how we were going to be perceived by society and how we would perceive ourselves.

 

As an agency, however, there were other things we had to consider during the naming process, too. For example:

  1. How would our name influence our brand? We had to consider Brand Law #5, “The Law of the Word”, which dictates that a brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer.  

  2. As a creative agency we had to be unique, and being unique in a world full of creative agencies who had already called dibs on certain words proved to be a challenge. Finding a name that wasn’t already taken while concurrently connotating the right message and voice meant we had to dig far and wide for ideas.

  3. We had to simultaneously find a domain name that 1. paired well with our choice, 2. was available, and 3. wasn’t exponentially outside our budget.

  4. We all had to agree. With five founding partners all located on different parts of the “purely rational” to “out-there creative” spectrum, we were all driven by different reasonings.

 

As we struggled to narrow down our ideas, we decided to let internal and external forces intersect. If society was going to judge us based on the name we chose, then why not include them in the process?

 

Working with Campaign US, we started by choosing five options that we believed we could internalize as we developed our agency’s identity. Then, we left it to society to chose one of those.  

 

As a result, we got the best of both worlds.

Check out the Campaign US articles to see how the process unfolded!

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FL+G Launches

 

Vann Graves departs Fancy Rhino, launches FL+G

Less than a year after joining the company, president and CCO Vann Graves has parted ways with Fancy Rhino, and has announced his intention to launch his own agency.

Based in Chattanooga, TN, the eight-person agency will be named FL+G, as determined by a poll of Campaign US readers last week. The name — suggested by Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer of FCB and a friend of Graves — refers to the initials of the agency’s founding leadership team. (Integrated producer Ivannah Flores, strategist Kate Lamb, account director Sally Lynch and director/editor Josh Gross).

A veteran of BBDO and McCann Erickson, Graves left New York in 2014 to help Fancy Rhino, which is based in Chattanooga, evolve from a production house into a self-described "content creation company." The partnership won early attention with clever ads for Torch, a child-friendly router, that played on the innocent associations children have with terms like "blue balls" and "happy ending."

But the partnership was "not a perfect fit," Graves wrote in a column for Campaign US last week, and eventually dissolved.

Fancy Rhino currently has no plans to fill the role Graves originated, the agency said. Instead, Isaiah Smallman, cofounder and CEO, is "stepping back in as president," he said, and Drew Bellz, cofounder and CCO, will assume Graves’ creative duties.

"We’re happy to have Vann doing his own thing but excited about what we’re doing, and hopefully down the road we’ll have the chance to collaborate," Smallman said. The agency has also counted Kia, Samsung and Office Depot among its clients. 

Torch now becomes the first client at FL&G. The company is no longer working with Fancy Rhino.

Graves describes FL+G as "a creative agency that operates on a strategic production model. We stand by the belief that quality content is the way of the future for successful brands, so we’ve integrated a production mindset seamlessly into our brand building process," he said.

Allowing the public to pick his agency’s name was "a vulnerable experience," Graves said — and precisely the sort of thing he would advise a client to do, which is why he did it.

"This is exactly the kind of creative and experimental approach that I've always envisioned for my own agency, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results," he said. "This type of process is what I would ask my clients to entrust me with, so, by kicking off FL+G in this way, we are representing how we will work with our future partners."

By Douglas Quenqua Published - Campaign - February 29, 2016