I'm curious about how people come up with their business name; their professional identity. For some it seems simple, for others it's agonising and stressful. It can feel really important to get it right, so important that it creates an obstacle it's hard to get over. For me, deciding on a name and creating my brand was a process in itself, but one that I saw as a challenge rather than an obstacle.
I knew my goal was to go into private practice when I started training, so I had a long time to think about what I'd need to do and what I'd call myself. I remember specifically taking time to sit down and think of my business name. On the sofa, coffee at the ready, notebook and pen in hand to jot down all my ideas. Not a single one sprung to mind. The harder I thought, the more my creativity dried up. It just didn't work. A bit disheartened I gave up. I had time, it wasn't urgent. I could wait.
Then, having taken the pressure off myself, I found my wandering mind contemplating it on the train journey home from university, while driving familiar routes, during quiet times at work...sort of working away in the background while I was doing other things. And one evening the word 'tranquilo' popped into my head, and I liked it. My business name was born.
The name Tranquillo Counselling came to me while I was still in training and I quietly incubated it, letting it grow and settle in so I could get used to it before I announced it to the world. I said it to myself, imagined what it would be like saying it to other people, and I'm sure I still have the notebook where I scribbled it over and over again, like I used to do with the names of my schoolgirl crushes! My name was important to me and I wanted it to feel right. I wanted something meaningful.
Why is 'tranquilo' meaningful to me? I have Spanish connections and, although my mastery of the language is pretty dire on the whole, tranquilo is a word I understand and is much-used. Tranquilo means calm, peaceful or tranquil or - sometimes more informally - 'calm down'! I just like the word and I imagine (though I have never tested this out) that it is easy to guess at the meaning, even for those not familiar with the language, because it's not that different from its English translation.
The notion of tranquilo fits with my belief of what is required from the counsellor and counselling space, where calm and tranquility are needed to balance out the storms. My own experiences of therapy, and even supervision, are that a calm and peaceful place helps me make the most of my time for introspection. And I knew that I wanted to offer a tranquil place for clients to explore their issues too. So the name Tranquillo seemed to fit that intention.
Once I was comfortable with my name I started to think about what it would look like; what my 'brand' would be. A previous job in my 'old life' had given me some valuable skills in this area. I genuinely had no idea what I would come up with, but again I knew I wanted it to fit with the calm, tranquil theme. I also wanted something that symbolised a bit of what counselling means to me. It took a few times of searching online to find an image that inspired me. It feels symbolic of the core conditions being offered and the healing that counselling can promote. The colour scheme came more easily. I love green and, interestingly and coincidentally, in the psychology of colour relating to marketing and branding there's a suggestion that green signifies peacefulness, growth and health.
As part of my brand, I even considered the spelling. You might have noticed that I've used two different spellings of tranquilo throughout this blog. The Spanish spelling has one 'l' and it has been pointed out to me by people who understand the connection that I have "spelled it wrong". I opted instead for the Italian spelling with a double,'l', only for design purposes, because it mirrors the double 'l' in 'counselling', so the two words together looks more balanced and pleasing on the eye.
I'm happy to say that, one year on, I still love my brand and I feel that it's a good fit for me. It was a long time in the making, but that time was worth it. I've just launched my new website www.tranquillocounselling.com, and some of the feedback I've had about the look and feel of the site has been really positive and has confirmed to me that people are seeing what I hoped they would.
Antonia Higgins is a person-centred counsellor and has been in private practice for a year. She works with adult survivors of abuse and adults with mild to moderate mental health difficulties. Her interests include positive psychology and mindful living as a way of working on self-esteem and authenticity, and writing therapy. If you'd like to chat with Tonia about names and branding she would welcome the conversation. You can get in touch with Antonia via email or website.
Ciotti, G. The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding. helpscout.net
https://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/ [Accessed 28th February 2017]