Marketing Is A Unique Aspect Of Sport Management Because latest 2023

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Changing Your Organization’s Name

Names are central to our lives. In a very real sense, without names, we are unknowable. Names tell us who and what, sometimes even where.

The use of a person’s name indicates contact or acquaintance with that person. To “know” a person is to know their name, even if it is preceded by “Mr.” or “Miss” or “Mrs.” To know a person well is to use their first name. To know a person well is to use a nickname or other endearing personal term. Americans name people, places, things, and organizations for deeply philosophical reasons, frivolous purposes, and practical concerns. We sometimes give organizations multiple word names because the words create a meaningful acronym, for example, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD. Or we choose a name just because it is unique and we like the sound of it, for example, Google.

For most Americans, names are practical if not always philosophical.

In ancient times, people also gave names for all of these reasons, with the possible exception of acronyms. But generally, people from ancient cultures gave names because the name had a special meaning. Names were more than a label.

Names were often given as a symbol of an important event or characteristic in the person’s life. Names often represented a person’s essential nature and could reveal certain aspects of a person’s innermost being. Eve was the “mother of all living”. Names were often changed in Bible times to signify a new beginning. Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel. A newborn was named, Ben-oni, “son of sorrow” by a dying mother, Rebekah, but quickly renamed Benjamin, “son of the right hand”, by a loving father, Jacob. Jesus renamed Simon, the rough fisherman, Peter.

The name changes were part of the history of the college I had the privilege of leading for a few years: Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary (GRBC&S). In 1941, an evening Bible school was founded under the name Grand Rapids Baptist Bible Institute. With the growth in student numbers and educational program, the name was changed in 1959 to Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. Later, the term “theological” was dropped when Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary was established as a separate but related graduate school with the same board of trustees and president.

In 1972 the name of the college was again changed from Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College to Grand Rapids Baptist College. This new name described the expansion of the academic program from a Bible college program (featuring Bible and music majors) to a Christian liberal arts college program (including Bible, music, history, biology, English, business administration, education and several other majors). But the new name still suffered from some limitations. For example, it was geographically limited to a single city. The school’s longtime moniker continued as “Baptist College”, which tended to send the message that non-Baptists did not need to apply. And the school’s name was still regularly confused with the old name or a derivative, Grand Rapids Bible College, or the more convoluted Grand Rapids Baptist “Church”.

This confusion of names was particularly problematic because it tended to perpetuate the institution’s previous mission as a Bible college rather than a Christian liberal arts one. Thus, in the spring of 1992, the Board of Directors again authorized a study to examine a change of institutional name. Following a preliminary review, the Board of Trustees in the fall of 1993 voted to implement a process to determine the best name for Grand Rapids Baptist College. At this time, the board also voted to maintain the name, Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary.

One of the wisest decisions the Board has ever made was to allow me, as President at the time, to immediately announce the Board’s decision, to announce it as a “study” as opposed to a name change. fiat accomplished, and advertise it as a study to determine what might be the “best name” for the school. On a political level, this meant several things: that voters heard about a possible name change without being cut off from the process, which gave many of them time to acclimatize, and that people who believed that the former or current name, GRBC, was the “better name” were not excluded from the process, as it was still possible that the Board would ultimately reaffirm that name.

Over the next several months, students, staff, constituents and the public were invited to submit ideas or name suggestions. Perhaps the funniest submission was the name “Hobbes”, for political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. This created a local joke as Calvin College, a quality higher education institution, is located just three miles from GRBC&S on the same road. If the board had chosen Hobbes as the college’s new name, locals would forever have referred to “Calvin and Hobbes” on East Beltline Ave.

In March 1994, the board of the GRBC&S reviewed approximately one hundred and thirty names divided into four categories: geographical, theological, historical, denominational, reduced the list to three names including the GRBC, and finally decided to rename the college, ” Cornerstone College”. “The name Cornerstone College met the practical need for a name that reduced confusion about the college’s mission. But it was also philosophically grounded in Christian symbolism and biblical meaning.

In Ephesians, Paul refers to Christians as “members of the house of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building is united and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (2:18-21). Jesus is the “tested stone” who makes “righteousness the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line” (Isaiah 28:16-17). Jesus Christ is the “living stone” and Christians “like living stones are being built up into a spiritual house…through Jesus Christ…a chosen and precious cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:4-9 ).

A capstone is also the key stone or building block in a foundation by which all other stones or blocks are measured. A cornerstone speaks of the permanence of values ​​such as truth, faith, beauty, virtue, righteousness, justice, freedom, peace and love.

By any objective measure, the new Cornerstone name was an unqualified success. It was quickly, if not immediately, embraced by students, and the region’s business community and public responded with admirable enthusiasm. Reaction from alumni was initially mixed, as you would expect for any college name change, but within a relatively short time most alumni signed up. The main value of the new name was its message that a new wind was blowing through the institution, a wind that looked to the future and positioned the school for the future.

In the fall of 1998, after an internal academic process and interaction with the relevant state authorities, the board of trustees voted to change the school’s name again, this time from Cornerstone College to Cornerstone University. At the same meeting, the board and administration agreed to announce the new status in April 1999, not knowing that the school’s basketball team would win the NAIA Division Men’s National Basketball Championship II in March of the same year. This unanticipated PR giveaway has created a much larger media platform than would otherwise have been available, as a national championship is remarkable and deservedly attracts attention at all levels of sport.

The university avoided a backlash from those who might have seen the change as a cheap catch for the brass ring, probably because, in the end, it made sense. The college had grown, the national championship didn’t hurt, and a well-designed marketing campaign drew positive attention. The campaign featured billboards throughout the city showing a small sprout of spring green corn in a plowed field, the new name and the phrase “Think Big, Think Bigger”. Simple. People understood it and they liked it.

Organization name changes should not be taken lightly. They should also not be avoided at all costs, as the cost can be potential loss or even untimely demise of the organization. Name changes provide an unparalleled opportunity to send a message to constituents, customers or the general public. New initiatives, new products, new services, or better yet, a new and worthy vision can be etched in people’s minds when an organization changes its name.

What’s in a name? The future of your organization.

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