What’s In a Name?

Our President and Chief Experience Officer, Shane B. Santiago, shares how Bravely got its name.

For those of you with kids, you know how meaningful a name can be. It’s not simply a label; it’s an identity… a way you can create unique meaning for someone’s own personality, culture and sense of place in the world.

That may not fit on a business card.

Naming a company is no different. In this Golden Age of Entrepreneurialism, where startups abound—and new, unique names are so scarce that words are literally invented for the sake of disruption—it presents a daunting challenge.

So as we formed our collective of creatives and began ideating on a name, we started with what we felt was most important to convey when we stepped out into the world:

Purpose.

Meaning.

Value.

Easy enough, right?

Being an agency guy for nearly two decades, the easy solution was to slap our names on the door and call it a day. After all, it’s common practice in the ad world, and what’s more meaningful to an agency than the people who founded it?

That’s where we wanted to be different.

How can our name provide deeper insight into who we really are, and what value we believe we can share? We found the answer in our brand archetype.

We’re explorers.

Psychologist Carl Jung created archetypes as a construct to identify the primal and instinctive stories we all share through a collective unconscious and connect us as humans.

Of the 12 classic archetypes, it was easy for us to lay claim to The Explorer. We started this consultancy to stray from the herd. We wanted to find adventure, and to take risks. Discovery is paramount. Freedom is our promise. This couldn’t parallel our journey more accurately.

Levi’s gets us.

In an industry where “there are no new ideas,” copycat creative platforms often seek to build on already-existing successes rather than truly doing something different. It’s like pitching a movie; How often have you heard big ideas pitched that sounded like “It’s like Geico-meets-Snickers-but-on-Snapchat?”

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, if it works. But for us, our vision is to create value in doing the opposite. Testing and learning what’s successful by finding new insights.

But that’s scary.

Following trails blazed by successful ideas and insight isn’t a bad strategy. And we won’t completely abandon it. What we don’t want to do is become a slave to it. We can’t innovate by conforming. But when brands and clients have millions of dollars on the line, how can we convince them to take risks?

By having courage.
Is this how a big idea should be presented?

We hope to partner with clients to be their stewards of courage. Our approach relies heavily on collaboration. We eschew the traditional creative process in which we ruminate on a brief, disappear for a few weeks, then have a “Big Reveal™®©,” in a pageant often worthy of Vanna White flourishes. Ironically, I find this often more risky in that, for decades, this process is essentially a gamble that has our adrenaline pumping in hopes that the client simply “gets” our vision.

This is where we think we hit on something. By partnering with our clients throughout the process, with more frequent conversations and insight into the creative process, we’re essentially walking alongside them through the uncharted territory together. We’re like sherpas, guiding them through the adventure of discovery and innovation. Together. Not as agency-and-client.

As partners.

That settles it.

This was a profound moment in our process. We knew we wanted our clients to allow us to take risks and try new things. That’s table stakes today for innovation. But we want to be courageous with them. As a trusted partner where dialogue creates ownership and accountability on both sides, we think magic can happen. With less risk in the process itself, it allows us to take more risks creatively. Neat, right?

That was it. We decided to name ourselves not after who we are, or even what we do. Rather, we focused on how we do things. We empower our clients to have courage.

Our brand identity is a commitment to that process and we wanted our name to clearly and succinctly deliver on that promise.

As a result, we can confidently say, that the way we do anything — whether it’s creating a story, crafting an experience, building a product or developing a brand—is to do it Bravely.


Bravely is a modern creative consultancy at the intersection of storytelling, technology and experience. Or simply, “we make cool stuff for brands.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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