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May 8, 2007 | Tate Linden
This is from page 75 of the May 2007 issue of Associations Now (Published by ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership.)

I suppose this means that I have to un-pause the association-building process soon...
Community now Building an association—and community—from scratch ASSOCIATIONS NOW, May 2007

By: Randi Hicks Rowe

About 30 namers—those individuals and companies whose specialty is to help companies develop the best name for their organization or new product—met informally in San Francisco in February. As far as anyone in the group knows, it was the first time that so many namers gathered in one place before. Their purpose: forming an association with a name they can call their own.

“We had a great time and took a positive step toward developing a group identity,” says Tate Linden, principal of the Stokefire Consulting Group. “Almost every other profession has an association except ours. Quite a few of us talked about creating our own vehicle for sharing best practices and to advocate for and support excellence in our industry.” About a dozen naming professionals and companies have indicated that they like the concept of the association and hope to move forward.

One of the ongoing discussions is how to define the membership. Linden says one way would be to make the association exclusively for namers—a group of perhaps a few hundred worldwide—who are not represented by any association. Another option would be to also open the group up to those people who create identities for organizations or products, which would be a larger group consisting of namers, branding experts, and graphic designers. However, some of these groups are represented in other associations. The tradeoff would be less control for the namer founders in the larger group but more power for the association as a whole, Linden says.

One thing not on the table yet, surprisingly, is what to call the association. “I figure with all the potential brainpower we’ll have available as we near our filing date [that] it is better to hold off. Imagine having all the best painters in the world create a painting together... I’m not sure it’d be pretty, but the story around that picture would be legend for centuries. Not sure that this concept will transfer well to the world of descriptive association names, but I can always dream,” says Linden. “No pressure, of course.”

Randi Hicks Rowe is CEO of Rowe Communications of Alexandria, Virginia.