Names and numbers

I have got all kinds of suggestions in from staff and people that I have talked to about the new organisation on one issue in particular – what our name should be!

We are going to have a first discussion on this at the Board meeting next week, with some of the ideas that have come forward. I personally do like ‘consumer’ being in there, because this is the heart of who we are and what we do – other terms like ‘user’ are not public parlance yet, ‘shopper’ and ‘customer’ don’t have enough stretch and ‘citizen’ is good for some but probably misleading on the whole. What is probably true though is that we don’t wake up in the morning thinking “I am a consumer”, even if we do buy in to other designations in particular circumstances, like “I am a patient” (and you indeed have to come with a book and be patient in the NHS) or “passenger”. But we do see fighting for ‘consumers’ as a reasonable and fair cause, and see it as on the side of people like us. The moral cause is important. But then we need another word to flavour what it is we do for consumers…

For my sins, I talked to a wonderful brand guru at News International who works with James Murdoch who said that you can either have a name that says what you do precisely – North Japan Railways – or one that you fill with meaning and aspiration over time – like Orange or O2. We won’t have an advertising budget I guess, but we will be brilliant at PR.

I guess the people that chose the name “Amnesty International” worried it was an odd and obscure name when they first came up with it. Sleep on the discomfort, go out boldly and a few years on, it is wonderful. Perhaps that could be our story too!

If anyone thinks that consumer issues have gone away, then look at the shocking numbers on consumer detriment from the Office of Fair Trading… £6.6 billion

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