Famously asked by Juliet Capulet to Romeo Montague in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this well-known line asks us to consider how names influence and shape our lives. In our star-crossed lovers’ case, it didn’t end well.
But fictional characters aren’t the only ones who are right to be asking this question, and it’s one I ask often when advising businesses. Helping architectural firms rename and rebrand over the course of their business’s lifetime is something I specialize in.
Quite simply, your brand name is your bread and butter. It’s the first word or phrase people see when they encounter your brand, whether they see it online, in an office park, or on letterhead. It precedes every other aspect of your business, and lays the foundation for what your clients expect.
Whatever you choose, it should reflect the ethos of your brand and be long-sighted. If you begin with the end in mind, such as partners exiting the firm or positioning to sell the firm, you’ll choose a name that has the potential to grow with your business and becomes a valuable asset.
When I first encountered the firm that would become known as Knit, I knew Eric Roberts FAIA and his team as SH Architecture. They’d had some leadership changes and had expanded to multiple offices, making the “SH” name outdated and irrelevant to their current leadership.
After facilitating an Envisioning Retreat for SH Architecture, the firm was open to the suggestion of changing its name. As I worked with them, community emerged as a central value of their brand, so we brainstormed names in that vein.
After several rounds of possibilities, the firm settled on “Knit,” with the tagline, “Designing Community.” Their updated name and subsequent logo modernized their brand, while untangling it from personal namesakes, giving the business exponential room from growth without having to pivot branding yet again. With the help of Practice Clarity, they’d pulled several threads of their brand identity together.