The BIG gig – what’s in a name?

by Oxfordshire Business First Director Paul Essery

When we first started out I thought the name – BIG gig – was daft.  Why?  Because I felt it didn’t communicate what the event was about.

In the last 6 years we have done 36 BIG gig events.  During that period 100s of people have contacted me to ask the question ‘what is the BIG gig?

They have found about it by word of mouth – perhaps from someone who has been to one – and then made the effort to contact me to find out more.  This process has led to us now having about 300 people on the email invite list for each event – every single one of which I have had a telephone or email exchange with.   And cleverer people than me tell me that ‘word of mouth marketing’ is a valuable commodity!

I’m no expert on how best to name businesses or projects.  But how you name a project or business must affect the way people perceive it.  The name signals what the purpose might be and/or helps prepare people for their role and level of expected participation.  A business meeting for example may require a different level of participation than a workshop.

However, as time has passed and I’ve realized that what appeared to be an unhelpful and confusing name has actually helped us.  And the reason it has helped is that it has been one of the main reasons that all those people have called or emailed asking for more information.  If it was obvious what the BIG gig did – there would be no need for these all these conversations to take place.

This has taught me that the value in choosing a name is not just about describing what it is, it’s also about encouraging people to be curious and ask questions.

So while it may make sense in lots of situations to have a name that makes it obvious what you do – sometimes having a name that inspires a bit of curiosity and gets people asking the question ‘what do you do?’ can be just as useful.





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