In a previous blog entry (Global Became Iridia, But Why?) we shared that a simple desire to tweak a logo led to a rebranding effort that lasted nearly two years. We stopped short of outlining how we landed on Iridia Medical as our new name, but would like to tell that story now.
Midway through our rebranding project, we began scrutinizing the name Global Medical Services. With a goal of becoming a Top 100 employer, we asked ourselves if the name would help us get there. A bit of research highlighted that British Columbia has over 450 companies with “Global” in the name. Across the country, over 2200 companies used “Global”. We feared that as we continued to grow, we would get overlooked – picture standing up in a crowd of hundreds and calling out “John” only to have dozens of people respond. Worse still, we were also at risk of being confused with Global Medical Solutions, Global Medical Products, Global Health Network, or Global Health Ventures, to cite but a few similarly-named companies. And so, the push to rename was born.
We started out with our naivety on full display. Equipped with our “sit down, map it out” approach, we tabled a half-day, and fully expected to knock it out of the park. After all, we were a hard-working, creative lot, so it shouldn’t have been a huge deal, or so we thought.
Toward the end of our session, we realized that a genuine challenge lay ahead. With a half day under our belts, we had few, if any, quality names. To be fair, we were our own worst enemies. From day one, we tabled two non-negotiables when it came to a new name. Firstly, it had to resonate with us. In our mind, a clever name was useless if it didn’t connect to us in a significant way. Secondly, it had to tell a story. More specifically, it had to tell OUR story. With these two criteria in mind, our hope was that our new name would embody who were and would naturally open the door to further conversation should anyone inquire as to the name’s origin.
The reality was that that the naming process took a full five months to complete.
As we dove into the process, we quickly found that most one or two word names that might seem viable had already been taken by other firms. In response, we listed a series of adjectives that we felt described us and/or what we do. Words like unique, empowering, and enabling came to mind. From there, we began translating these words into other languages, and splicing syllables together to form candidate names.
Some worked (e.g. Emgen) and others clearly did not (e.g. Fapalena).
We made efforts to draw from science nomenclature, riffling through all subjects imaginable. Again some held promise (Cingulate – a fold in the brain: Mito – drawn from mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell), but most did not. We scoured plant and animal species names looking for parallels to our company, but again, came up empty. We even briefly explored using names of famous Sherpas as a way forward.
All told, the fruits of our labour produced more than 300 candidate names. Through an aggressive whittling exercise, the list was reduced to 11. Through further discussions, the final four candidates were tabled, and our staff was asked to make the final decision. On the basis of the criteria listed below, our team ranked the candidate names.
• How easy it was to pronounce
• How memorable it was
• How it sounded when it was said
• How credible it sounded
• How it “fit” with the company
• The quality of the story it told
When voting was finished, Iridia Medical stood apart in the minds of our staff.
The name is borrowed from Iridium, an element with properties that align perfectly with our company, as outlined below.
• It is very rare, much in the same way that our team is a very unique collection of people, interests, and expertise.
• It connects with other metals to form alloys, as we engage stakeholders to build solutions.
• It is a standard of measure for weight, and we set the standard for practical, effective solutions for our clients.
• It is durable as are we in having weathered economic slowdowns, competition, and a changing market landscape.
Lastly, and most intriguingly, is the fact that Iridium is found in very high concentrations in meteors and asteroids when compared to the amounts found in the earth’s crust. This finding has led to the idea that an asteroid colliding with the earth triggered an ice age and the eradication of the dinosaurs. This “out with old, in with the new” paradigm aligns perfectly with our company, as going back to our founding days, we are perpetually challenging the status quo in the interest of finding new ways to bring about improvements.
In the end, we find ourselves with a name that might trigger a double take when first heard, and we’re perfectly happy with that. In our view, it gives us license to tell our story and share how Iridia resonates so well with us.