Making the Technical Approachable
A Super-Sized Identity Issue
A recently formed government Agency was grappling with a super-sized identity issue.
The Alberta Cyberinfrastructure for Innovation had an important role in advancing science and economic development. It was created to operate and expand an advanced computing system – an ultra high speed network that accessed supercomputer processing power.
The Agency’s first customers were researchers working at Alberta universities. But it also had a mandate to make its advanced system available to corporations and entrepreneurs.
As the organization’s leaders started to formulate a plan to reach out to industry, they realized they had an enormous obstacle to deal with – the name of the Agency.
At 14 syllables and 39 letters (plus spaces), the Alberta Cyberinfrastructure for Innovation title was a real mouthful.
A Name that Tried to Do too Much
The name was based on the sincere and valid intent to describe what the Agency was about. It delivered important information. The title included the what, where and why of the organization. But the name was trying to do too much. It was attempting to tell the whole story rather just introduce the story.
The descriptive approach gave the name a massive payload, making it formal, unwieldy and even a bit ominous. The name was more of a keep out warning than a welcome sign.
Too Techie to Talk to?
Could you imagine going to a networking event and telling people you were from the Alberta Cyberinfrastructure for Innovation? What kind of reactions would you get? The name might prove to be very exciting for people already familiar with cyberinfrastructure. It could lead to spirited discussions about bandwidth capacity and a debate on computer languages.
But how would the name work for non techies? More often than not, tech-heavy names are conversation killers. They send a not so subtle signal that a microchip monologue is fast approaching. Savvy networkers who see the warning signs politely excuse themselves to go find someone to talk to where they don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science to understand the conversation.
The Need for a Distilled Message
The Agency’s leaders recognized the shortcomings of the name and contacted Identicor for help. The assignment called for distilling the long title down to its essence.
The most important part of the name was the cyberinfrastructure message. So Identicor focused creative development on the cyber fragment. It needed a little something to make it a distinct and appealing brand name. In this case all that was required was a single letter – adding an A suffix to form the six letters and three syllables of Cybera.
A Short Organic Name that’s Pleasing to Say
The new name gave the Agency exactly what it needed – a short, appealing title that has a natural organic sound and is pleasing to say. Cybera presents just the right amount of information. It sends a computer arena message without getting into the details.
The Agency’s founding CEO, Lynn Sutherland commented that the name “stirs curiosity. People find it pleasantly intriguing. When we mention Cybera at networking events, people frequently ask for more information about who we are and what we do.”
“Cybera is a terrific three‐syllable conversation starter. It makes our rather complex technical organization more approachable and easier to understand.”