Nominative determinism is the joyfully iffy hypothesis that we tend to gravitate towards work that ‘fits’ our names. You may be doomed to dentistry if named ‘Fang’, or just to everyday astronomical wealth if named ‘Ricci’ (or ‘Diamond’).

While clearly pleasing, do these names change perceptions in the minds and hearts of those around them in any way?   I’ve been wondering about this after having been undeniably affected by the power of beautiful naming. Dram naming.

A jaunt north of the border last week involved some light whisky tasting.  This took place (mostly) at a welcoming hostelry of true experience and expertise. The range and variety, depth of knowledge of cask and flavour, stories and individual quirks about different distilleries, was magical.

The boggling array of malts was arranged by number. Four digits: two denoted the distillery, and two the cask.

We listened and concentrated, but could barely retain or absorb the descriptions of but a few examples.  The numbers were confusing, and anonymous.

Then, breakthrough.

Some of these beauties bore exquisitely evocative names.

If you truly want to persuade your team to do something, to engage with an idea, to join you in a magical mystery tour, then choose the name of the enterprise carefully and lovingly.  It was impossible – absolutely impossible – to resist such names as ‘Opening Grandma’s Cake Tin’, or ‘Irreverent Painter in Church’, or ‘Tug of War in a Meadow’.

Imaginative naming can only encourage – as another bottle’s label proudly proclaimed – ‘A Happy Gathering’.

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