Method or Madness?
Sorting my email, I came upon a survey sent to me by an acquaintance:
I'm about to change the name of my company from The Success Clinic to something else, and I need your help to find the best name.
Which of these do you like best?
____ Academy of Success and Leadership (ASL)
____ Champions Training Institute (CTI)
____ American Success Academy (ASA)
____ Academy of Champions Training (ACT)
Inexplicably, I tapped Reply and placed an X by my answer. Tap. Send.
I soon received a follow-up:
Thank you very much for sending me your vote.
You don't know how surprised and honored I was to get a response from you.
I wasn't sure if you'd remember the time I visited the old Academy and you introduced me to your students as the author of Permission to Succeed and Afformations.
I thought you might like to know the results so far:
1. This survey produced by far the hugest response from my list EVER.
(If you like, I can tell you the story of why I think this is the case and what your readers might like to learn from my experience)
2. Leading the way by a huge margin is Academy of Success and Leadership.
3. Your vote to me equals 10,000 votes.
So I was wondering if I could ask you:
Why did you say Champions Training Institute?
I would really love to hear your thinking process, because I know there's a reason behind your answer (and it goes against the grain of what the “average” person would say).
I really do appreciate hearing from you.
Thank you again, Roy.
You, reader, were surprised by my choice as well, weren't you?
As Noah suspected, I did have my reasons. But whether they constitute method or madness, I cannot with certainty say.
You asked. Here are my answers:
1. Champions Training Institute offers a sharp FMI (First Mental Image.)
Champions are easy to imagine. They have Succeeded at something and they Lead the way for others. Hence, Champions is an easily visualized word that replaces two words, Success and Leadership, which offer only a fuzzy, ambiguous mental image at best.
2. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” I agree. One word, Champions, is more than equal to two words, Success and Leadership.
3. Training is a marvelous verb. Now that we've chosen to create Champions, how will we do this? Through training. Academy of Success and Leadership has no verb. It's a passive construct. This makes it sound like a museum.
4. The place where the training will be done, “Institute”, comes at the end, where it belongs. It's the LMI (Last Mental Image.) Academy of Success and Leadership inserts the place (Academy) as the FMI.
5. You've been asked, “What do you do here?”
Strong Answer: “We train champions.”
Weak Answer: “We teach entrepreneurs and professionals how to achieve greater success in their chosen field of endeavor. And we teach people how to lead.”
6. CTI is a more sparkling acronym than the others, due to its lack of sonorant phonemes.
Here's a general overview:
Open Big. Close Big. FMI-LMI
Make us see it clearly. “Memorable” is more important than “Accurate.” Be accurate if you can. But above all, be memorable.
Verbs have magnetism. The most vivid order is Verb First, Object Last. But this is not a likely construct for a place name. “We train champions” is an example of verb first, object last.
Modifiers are a mark of weakness. Delete them at every opportunity. Mark Twain said it this way, “Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will edit it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
Having said all this, let me close softly: Noah, please name your school whatever feels best to you. I will not feel slighted if you choose to do exactly the opposite of what I've told you. I have no emotional investment in this advice whatsoever. I just felt you asked an interesting question and I was in the rare mood to answer it.
Come see our new campus.
All the best.
Roy H. Williams
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PS – Another way to see the new campus is in person during the Free Public Seminar we're having on February 1st. But be warned: there's a catch…
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January 9 and 10 in Tuscan Hall: Interested in getting some press coverage in 2007? When the world's largest PR firms need guidance and advice they turn to Dean Rotbart. Spend 2 days under his tutelage at Wizard Academy.