Thousand Network Blog

Announcing name choices

This post is the third in a series of posts on our naming process. We started with explaining the great work our Brand Committee had done since June, and then announced the process to come to a name by January 12.

Over the last 6 months, we’ve engaged the entire community to find a name that truly encompasses the creativity, curiosity and vibrancy of our group. From July to December, we polled the community to establish core values, conducted brainstorms across the globe (phone calls, dinners, workshops, diagrams), and worked to narrow down our brand narrative, before entering the final phase of the process to vote on our name.

From December 15-24, community members submitted 72 names on the Creads platform. The Creads exercise became the converging point in the ideation process. As the board announced on December 15, we asked every member of the Branding Committee to each select three names they would choose, and highlight why those names resonated with them. We also asked community members to email us their recommendations so everyone had a chance for input at this integral stage.

Having established a strong foundation for the community to rally around values and a name, we enlisted the experience and knowledge of the group’s brand experts to not only shortlist the names, but more importantly construct brief narratives that would evoke our unique story as a community.

From all of this input, a focused group of brand specialists – those within our family who have made a career out of creating brands, namely Saga, Thierry, Eoin, Steve, Robert and Melissa, led by Aisha and myself (Radha) – shortlisted 3 names, which we are now putting forward to the community for a final vote.

What was the criteria?

The criteria we put forward to the Branding committee for their suggestions was the same we followed in short listing 3 names:

  • Ownable. Our new name has to be ours, and truly ours. It cannot be something that has been used over and over again, or is known throughout the world for another organization, product, movement, or community.
  • Aligned with our brand narrative. This community is unique and our new name has to have a story that reflects our values and identity.
  • Culturally and geographically non-specific
  • Longevity. We want a name that will be timeless, reflect our ever-growing community and have relevance in the future.

Defining our narrative

In addition, from the list of names on Creads, Sagarika Sundaram (one of our brand experts) noticed patterns bubbling up in the long list of names. What we are hearing is that there are three traits, as a community, that we want our name to capture.

  • Warm: We are a family of friends. Our generosity towards each other defines who we are as a group.
    eg. caravan, canopy, XO
  • Weighty: We are a community of exceptional people, and we need a name that acknowledges our expertise and our specialness. We deserve gravitas and credibility.
    eg. nautilus, constellation, one/thousand
  • Edgy: We are pioneers. We push our work to the edge of possibility. Our lifestyles match our mindsets – we invent our own rules for living.
    eg., tribe, wayfare, HQ

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It’s worth pointing out that if we look for one name to capture all three sentiments, we risk becoming all things to all people. If we want to present ourselves to the world with a clear and strong voice, we need to lead with one trait, and capture the other two through supporting brand elements, such as tone-of-voice, imagery, identity, etc.

Keeping this in mind, the brand team has selected one name that stands for each trait. Your job is to select one. In selecting a name, you are implicitly selecting the trait that you think is most important to present to the world, as a community.

The 3 shortlisted names

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Canopy Network
Category: Warm

Wayfare Network
Category: Edgy

One/Thousand Network
Category: Weighty

Voting

Note: please reach out to the board if you don’t get a voting link in your email.

Now, it’s up to you! You have until January 13 to vote the three names. By picking one name, you are implicitly picking the trait you think our name should lead with. The selected name will be used to drive the brand narrative and other communication assets. We’ll then highlight the two other traits through supporting brand elements like graphics and tone-of-voice.

On January 14, we’ll tally the votes and announce our new name 🙂

One caveat: in the event that a certain name is not available for legal or other practical reasons such as negative brand association, we’ll work with the Branding Committee to suggest an appropriate alternate name that highlights the same trait.

* The members of the brand committee were: Melissa Richer, Sagarika Sundaram, Thierry Blancpain, Steve Tam, Eoin Bara, Radha Mistry, Aisha Sheikh, Stavros Stavroulakis, Michelle Lim, Audrey Richard-Laurent, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, Erica Berger, Denis Baranov, David Skudlik, Luc Jodet, Brenda Wambui, and Edward Silhol

Using Creads to Crowdsource a Name

In this post, we explain what Creads is, why we’re using it, and how we’re using it.

What is Creads?

Creads is a creative platform which helps companies to find a name, logo or web design thanks to its community of 50.000 professionals. They organize a competition to get about 100 proposals coming from their community. Then, they open a vote interface to invite company communities to help them to take collective decisions. They have helped more than 2.500 companies to create their identity.

Why are we using it?

There are two main reasons why we are using Creads to support this naming process:

  1. Collaborative platform. Through Creads, everyone will be able to see what naming suggestions were submitted.
  2. Broader pool to choose from. While we’re excited to see what ideas members come up with, we also think there is value in opening the experiment up to non-members, to see what other suggestions come through and get the broadest range of choices possible.

While people typically have to pay to use the Creads platform – so the designer whose project gets chosen can get a stipend – Ronan Pelloux, a HQ member and the founder and CEO of Creads, has generously offered for Creads to sponsor the HQ naming process.


The Creads brief

Here is an exact copy of the brief we posted to Creads:

Description:

We are a global community of millennial innovators and thought leaders, bound by values of contribution, curiosity and creativity. We empower people to drive global change by designing opportunities to have meaningful conversations harnessing technology, adventures and workshops. We are over 900 members present in 40 cities on all 5 continents, from serial entrepreneurs to opera singers to policy makers.

Two videos give a great sense of our identity, values and philosophy as a community are:

  • The Transamerica expedition – a weekend retreat we ran in Mexico gathering some 80 people from all over the world: http://vimeo.com/35244515
  • Walk with the Dreamers – another weekend retreat we ran in Dublin gathering some 70 people from all over the world: http://vimeo.com/72690913

What Shall Be Named:

We are a global community of millennial innovators and thought leaders, bound by values of contribution, curiosity and creativity.

Tone of Communication:

Sophisticated
Accessible
Timeless
Collaborative
International / global

Keywords Associated with the Project:

Millennial / community / innovators / thought leaders / global / values / contribution / curiosity / creativity

Limit on the Length of the Name:

No restrictions. Yes can be a compound name.

Availability of the Requested Domain Name:

The decision should not be made on the domain name availability.

Timeline

15-24th December

Naming Our Community (Part 2)

Involving the community

Now that we had a strong base, we were excited to move forward with the actual naming process.

We were naturally keen to involve the community as much as possible in the decision process. At the same time, we were told repeatedly by members of the Branding Committee – the brand architects in our group who have dedicated their lives to creating lasting brand identities – that design by committee would likely hinder us from reaching our objective to create an ownable brand. They used the analogy of client work whereby clients are never presented more than 3 options to choose from, sometimes 2. “Opt for less choice of stronger options”.

We therefore decided on a hybrid system that we announced on December 15. The hope behind this process was to leverage the collective intelligence of the community as well as the insight of our brand experts:

  1. December 15-24 – Community brainstorm
    Members from around the world can brainstorm and suggest names through the Creads platform*
  2. December 25-31 – Short list
    The Board and members of the Branding Committee who were the most involved will shortlist 3 strong options that reflect our brand narrative**. Members who feel strongly about a particular name can simply email anyone of us on the Board to tell us why you think it should be in the shortlist and we’ll be sure to include this input
  3. January 3-11 – Final vote
    Those 3 name options are presented to the community for a final vote and selection. We’ll clearly explain why we chose those 3 names.
  4. January 12 – Announcement

We’re confident this process is the most effective to reach our objective – to create a strong, ownable brand – and couldn’t be more excited to see the result. See you on Jan 12!

* The members of the brand committee were: Melissa Richer, Sagarika Sundaram, Thierry Blancpain, Steve Tam, Eoin Bara, Radha Mistry, Aisha Sheikh, Stavros Stavroulakis, Michelle Lim, Audrey Richard-Laurent, Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, Erica Berger, Denis Baranov, David Skudlik, Luc Jodet, Brenda Wambui, and Edward Silhol
** For more information on the Creads platform, why we used it and how we used it, read our detailed post on Creads.
*** We had originally announced in our December 15 newsletter that we would submit 5 names to a vote, but after additional and universal feedback from the Branding Committee members that 5 was too much to obtain a robust brand, we chose to cut it down to 3.

Naming Our Community (Part 1)

On December 12, 4 days after we were elected, we announced that we had a plan, and that our first priority was to focus on the naming and branding.

Why start with naming

We felt that starting with our brand story was important. It would provide the necessary rhetoric we’ve been lacking to both rally around as a group and speak about our community to the outside world. The lack of language made it particularly difficult for ambassadors to address questions from potential candidates, the press or any other local partner.

Our naming objective

In determining the process to select our community’s name, we kept one goal in mind: to create a strong and ownable brand, one that would encapsulate our values, rally the community, and portray who we are to the outside world.

The Branding Committee: a robust base

Fortunately, the Branding Committee, led by our fearless Radha Mistry and Aisha Sheikh, had already done heaps of work to facilitate the process. On July 30, the Committee polled the community through an online survey to surface the values you (our members) most cherished. From the poll, the committee worked on the mission and vision proposals*, which we then used to forge the following brand narrative:

HQ is a global community of millennial innovators and thought leaders, bound by values of contribution, curiosity and creativity. We empower people to drive global change by designing opportunities to have meaningful conversations harnessing technology, adventures and workshops. We are over 900 members present in 40 cities on all 5 continents, from serial entrepreneurs to opera singers to policy makers.

We used this brand narrative as the base for our naming process. For more information on the process we followed, read on to Naming our Community (Part 2).

* For more information on the Branding Committee and their work, please read our detailed blog post.

A New Community

Dear friends,

Three weeks have passed since you elected the 5 of us to move our community forward. As we implement processes and take decisions over the next 6 months that will have a lasting impact on our community, we are committed to providing full transparency and empowering you, the members, to guide us through those decisions.

For this to happen effectively, however, we face an inherent challenge. While we err on the side of over-communication with newsletters, Facebook updates and town halls, we also realize keeping up is difficult, and there is no traceable trail of our process.

That’s why we are creating this blog. We hope to use this as a dedicated platform for us to share weekly updates, and for you to keep tabs on what’s going on and react, respond and suggest ideas.

Our first post traces the naming process up till now, and our second post provides details on the branding process once we have a name. Our third post suggests an idea to use the blog as a collaborative platform to create our new by-laws – an exciting opportunity to one of the first (if not the first?) global organizations to design our new operating framework collectively. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

We hope you join us in this thrilling ride!

Michael, Asia, Tahnee, Tia & Alexandre