Announcing name choices
07 Jan 2015

Announcing name choices

This post is the third in a

07 Jan 2015

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


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


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

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  1. Dan Dzombak January 7th, 2015 7:58PM

    If Wayfare Network is chosen can we have a runoff between Wayfare Network and Wayfarers Network?

    • Alexandre Terrien January 7th, 2015 10:53PM

      I think so Dan – see the comment I left in response to Jackie’s suggestion. Very keen to hear everyone’s thoughts on this

  2. Jackie Hurwitz January 7th, 2015 8:11PM

    Is “Network” a given in the name? In other words, might it be the Wayfare Club / Group / just Wayfare? Don’t mean to nitpick, but I think this makes a big difference in how the name sounds.

    • Alexandre Terrien January 7th, 2015 10:52PM

      Totally Jackie. The idea for now is to focus on a name that emphasizes one of the traits the Creads list brought out. Once we have a name, we’ll be keen to see what the community thinks is missing from that name, and how we can emphasize what’s missing with tone-of-voice, brand identity, or descriptors (network, community, group, club, [nothing]…). Which one do you prefer of those words?

  3. Tia Kansara January 7th, 2015 8:25PM

    Hey All – pick a name that you like most, and please leave your suggestions here so we can consider them when the branding team get to work on the nitpickings 🙂

  4. Julia (JJ) Bossmann January 7th, 2015 10:02PM

    “I go forth alone / I stand as one thousand.” (loosely Maya Angelou)

    Fantastic, thoughtful work. Thank you, naming team. Please allow me to add my thoughts.

    Canopy: As a non-native speaker, I admit that I had to look up this work in a dictionary. Reading the translations, the next thing that came to mind was limit to the top, glass ceiling. Maybe that’s just the German translations, but I’d be curious how other cultures see it.
    The limitation to green, earthy tones and biological imagery feels calm and comfortable. On the other hand, this distinct imagery which might not reflect the whole spectrum of what our network is capable of. We’re obviously not an eco activist group, but most often I see nature-inspired imagery in things that are organic, eco-friendly, etc.

    Wayfare is even trickier, besides it also being limited to earthy/naturey imagery. Without looking it up, as a non-native speaker I can identify “way” and “fare” – wait, a toll road? Paid access? That’s probably not what
    they meant!
    I agree that exploration is important, and everyone in this network has probably had at least one big phase of exploration. But other activities are just as valuable; not everyone is an explorer. Some are protectors (e.g. defend human rights), some are builders (e.g. engineer robots), some are nourishers, some are teachers, some are fighters, the list goes on… and that’s where our strength is. Let’s not only represent the people who identify with the exploration phase of life.

    One/Thousand is the full spectrum. Love it! With the other two names, first we would need to explain what we
    actually mean. One/Thousand IMHO is most accessible to an international community of different native languages and different callings and life purposes. We can have amazing visual language and be widely understood.

    As a bonus, the name also reminded of a Oprah Winfrey quote: “Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation, I’m reminded of a line from a Maya Angelou poem called “Our Grandmothers”: I go forth / alone, and stand as ten thousand. I think of all who’ve come before me and had to endure trials that would level most of us in our urban comfort zones, and I realize I’m not the first person to face big challenges. This has been done before. I can do it again, maybe even better.”
    This captures was the networks means to me: I am not alone – when I face a challenge, others might have gone through that before me. They celebrate my successes with me and help me grow. I enter the room as one, but I stand as one thousand. And that’s beautiful.

    • Alexandre Terrien January 7th, 2015 10:52PM

      Thanks for being so thoughtful about this Julia – great input

    • Magalie Pedrono January 8th, 2015 9:16AM

      I share your opinion Julia, thanks for being so extensive 🙂

  5. Yezin Al-Qaysi January 8th, 2015 2:26AM

    Very thoughtfully done – creating 72 options is easier than narrowing down to 3.

    Julia’s approach to One/Thousand gives it much weight internally, but the name can feel vague, limited and insufficient upon first impression.

    Wayfare – appealing in being uncommon, almost out of use. As such it is foreign to non-native English speakers (and many native English speakers alike!). As an international organization, our meaning should not be abstract.

    Canopy – interdependence, evolution, diversity, sustainability, values and optimism all encapsulated. Tinged with a bias towards environmentalism, of which i’m certain will not be an affront to any of our sensibilities.

    Perhaps language will shape the outcome of this vote more than meanings and associations. Looking forwards to the results!!

  6. Magalie Pedrono January 8th, 2015 9:19AM

    Hi everyone and thanks for the tremendous amount of (great) work 🙂
    I just have a major concern about us being Wayfarers, (even though the allegory is beautiful and I love it).
    First, the concept does indeed come as a little abstract for non-native speakers, and most of all, it’s a the name for outdated hipster sunglasses… I don’t want to be a pair of Ray-ban :p
    With all my love, Magalie

  7. Luc Jodet January 8th, 2015 11:05AM

    I picked my favorite names but I’ll add my comments here for the next step:

    I second Julia, do we have to be a network? One of the proposed names a few months ago was abandoned because
    it made people think of “canvassing”. Network makes me think of
    networking which I don’t find much better than canvassing.

    we have to call ourselves x-er? Canopier does not work (listed as a con in the presentation) and Wayfarer is
    quite difficult to pronounce for non-natives and reminds me of
    sunglasses (Ray-Ban). What about being x-ian like in Egyptian?