Unmarried Equality Name Rationale

New Name Rationale

From Chuck Rees, Branding Expert and Consultant to AtMP

Before going into detail about the proposed name change I’d like to share a quote as I feel it’s so crucial, and relevant to this undertaking.

The speaker is Bill Bernbach, the legendary creative director credited for Volkswagen’s groundbreaking print ads from the 60s.

“It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen.

He learns that most readers come away from their reading not with a clear, precise, detailed registration of its contents on their minds, but rather with a vague, misty idea which was formed as much by the pace and the proportions of and the music of the writing as by the literal words themselves.

And he learns that the reader reads with his ego, his emotions, with his compulsions, his prejudices, his urges, and his aspirations, and he plots with his brain to rationalize the facts until they become the tools of his desire.”

—William Bernbach, DDB

If you read the above passage noting the lack of gender neutrality, this proves Bill’s point.

Although taken for granted, it’s in our nature to zero in on what is significant to us at the cost of what is deemed unimportant, irrelevant, in conflict with our worldview or agenda. For our ancestors this ability to effectively filter information derived from the senses was imperative for survival, explaining its pervasiveness today.

Programming that tell us getting married and ideally starting a family is the only noble path for adults haunts even those who have broken free from it.  Clearly there’s no escape the cultural phenomenon of pro-marriage bias; it’s embedded in everything from dinner parties, gossip, politician’s rhetoric, to TV sitcoms.

So to recap the two major obstacles to making the right first impression via branding are:

  1. The unpredictable nature of how people process information
  2. Cultural conditioning

This is why it’s so important to make AtMP’s new name clear to the point of unmistakable rather than clever. We must assume our target audience hasn’t completely shaken off their conditioning.  Any ambiguity in the name invites not only misunderstanding but also an opportunity for the user to distort it according to their will, however subconscious.

In order to communicate effectively we must step into the shoes of those who have never heard of AtMP before and are being exposed to it for the first time. This seems simple, but it’s tricky to calibrate and becomes successively more difficult the more one is invested in the purpose and inner workings of an organization.

The trick is for the name to entice newcomers while remaining relevant to more experienced members who are concerned with the finer points of laws and politics pertaining to marital status.

It’s our objective to find a better way to say “marital status discrimination” and also to turn it into a positive.  If change is to be brought about then change must already reside in the name itself.

For pragmatic reasons of memory retention, impact, use in every day speech, the name should also be as concise as possible while carrying the organization’s highest purpose within it.

Another concern is to make the name descriptive of a member base with incredibly diverse lifestyles. For example, use of the word “single”excludes couples that are living together.

After weighing the options based on the established criteria, this is my recommendation for the name reboot:

Unmarried Equality

Here’s a quick summary of justifications; some mentioned prior, some not:

  1. Focuses on the solution to marital status discrimination rather than the problem.
  2. Short and free of jargon for the sake of sounding authoritative.
  3. Clear and deflective of false assumptions.
  4. Instantly resonates with people with the same goals and values.
  5. Doesn’t alienate married people or wrongfully imply an anti-marriage stance.
  6. Speaks to all members and potential members.
  7. Consistent with the current domain name – unmarried.org

New Logo Rationale

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