After changing the name of the exhibition at the former Ford Factory, we should draw lessons from the experience and use them to improve our operational systems and actions.
While the intention of the organiser is positive, however let’s not forget the wisdom behind the proverb, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The name and meanings behind the name can be two different matters.
Therefore, we should choose the name not just from our perspective but also from the perspective of the targeted audience.
Take responsibility for the name as well as potential interpretations of the name.
Be sensitive to and respectful of the people’s thoughts and feelings and ensure that there are no unintended consequences and reactions.
The name should be perceived to reflect the purpose and objective of the project.
There should not be any room for ambiguity, misinterpretation and negativity.
This is important because many people may just be caught up with the first impression.
They may not research or think too deeply beyond the initial understanding of the words.
For example, the word, “Gallery” may give the impression that it’s part of the name of a permanent site rather than the name of a short term exhibition.
In addition, “Gallery” may be deemed to gentrify or play down a dark, painful and tumultuous period of our history.
Effective research should be conducted to improve the process of crafting and developing a name.
Vigorous focus group and other research can be adopted to ensure that the naming of an important place or event is based on a data-driven decision making process.
Key stakeholders can be consulted to leverage on their experience, knowledge, expertise, and other resources.
These stakeholders should be of sound character, committed, competent, and well-connected to the appropriate audience.
Before launching the name, it should be market-tested to ensure that the name will be well received by the targeted audience and will not invoke any negative reactions from them.
Be mindful there’ll not be a perfect name.
Therefore, it’s important to identify the name’s potential downsides, trade offs, and other negative consequences.
Proactive, professional and prompt plans and actions should be put in place to respond to and resolve the potential negative consequences and reactions.
Taking the effort to craft an appropriate name will go a long way in contributing to the success of a project.
I hope this message will find a place in your heart.
By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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