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Welcome to the future – today enarah becomes Kognitive.

Ethan Glessich
March 14, 2017
3 mins

Video transcript

Shakespeare got it wrong!

Stop the press! We have an important announcement to make. Today, enarah becomes Kognitive. Why on earth would you do that? I’m glad you asked ;-)

We are bringing cognitive science to the masses, helping organisations and people invest their limited time in the things which truly matter—and we feel that Kognitive is a better platform to take us there (check out our new webpage for the rebirth).

But it wasn’t an easy decision, and we’ve learnt a lot along the way. Grab a cuppa and come on a trip down memory lane as we explore how Shakespeare got it wrong, what inspired us to transition from enarah to Kognitive and what we've learned from all this naming nonsense.

What's in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet” Juliet so sweetly muttered in her famous passage to Romeo. Nice try Julie-Jules, but you obviously flunked marketing. Snap out of your love goggles and get with the program. A name, particularly a business name, means a lot. We’ve learned that the hard way.

The beginning

Back when we founded enarah, we searched for a long time to come up with a name which communicated the essence of what we do. Eventually, when our search failed and we couldn’t wait any longer, we chose the name enara. We chose it because we liked the sound and added the silent ‘h’ to the end to get a domain, and so the adventure began.

1. Meaning madness

Being an unusual name, people would frequently ask “what does it mean?”. Our initial response of “eerrrr.... nothing” was like throwing a wet towel on the enarah flame, so we eventually started to search to see if it actually meant something in another language.

“arah” we discovered meant ‘the path, the direction or the purpose’ in ancient Malay, and “en” in Spanish (where we chose the name) means ‘on’. ‘Interesting’ we thought, our name means to be ‘on the path, on purpose’; quite fitting for a productivity business. Juliet’s rose started to smell a little sweeter.

LESSON 1: Search in other languages for the meaning of your name. We were lucky to escape a brand blunder, but others, particular Mitsubishi's Pajero were not.

2. Pronunciation problem

With the meaning madness behind us things were looking up... until we hit the pronunciation problem. Shortly after founding enarah we landed a big contract with CPA Australia presenting at their conferences all around Australia and New Zealand. Over and over again, when the chair would introduce us, they would pronounce enarah in all kinds of creative ways. “en-ha-ra, an-ra, an-ra-ha” were just some of the creative attempts. After a while I would stand in angst in anticipation—not a great state to start a presentation to hundreds of people.

LESSON 2: It might be obvious to you (in fact it should be, you chose it!) but get OTHER people to pronounce your name. Show your family, friends, random people on the train your proposed business name ‘written down’ and ask them to pronounce it. If you hear any weird sounds or hesitation—WALK AWAY! From the name that is.

3. Spelling shortcoming

And then came the spelling shortcoming. If you thought enarah was hard to pronounce, try spelling it when you hear it over the telephone. Now that is where people really got creative.

LESSON 3: It seems kind of obvious, but in the branding whirl wind it is easy to overlook—Say your name to others and get them to spell it. Any weirdness, WALK AWAY!

4. Stickiness

The final straw for us was came when we met a branding expert. “enarah, hmmmm… it’s a lovely sound” she said, “but it’s so soft, it doesn’t stick. It leaves your mind almost as fast as it came in.” ‘Shit. She was right.’ On some level I think we knew this in the beginning, but in our nameless desperation, we chose to ignore it. Big mistake.

LESSON 4: If ever there is any doubt, there isn’t any doubt. WALK AWAY!

The light

When we were at our darkest hour (like Frodo lost in Mordor), with no hope in sight, then came the light. No, no, no. Quite literally! The light.

I was presenting to the ATO on prioritisation and almost as soon as I loaded the presentation, a gentlemen at the back the room confidently affirmed EN-NA-RA. “Wow, have you heard of us before?” I asked. “No” he responded, instantly deflating my excitement (and ego), “enarah is an Arabic word which means enlightenment”. The excitement returned “What, really?”. ‘Wow’ I thought. No kidding, the name we had chosen because we liked the sound meant “to be on the path to enlightenment”, and we were in the business of helping people achieve their goals. ‘That is fate’ I thought. A Spanish, Malaysian, Arabic twisted sideways and stretched over backwards kind of fate, but fate nonetheless.

Finally we began to like the name again. We made our peace with the pronunciation, spelling and stickiness issues, and began to proclaim in our introductions, “We are the founders of enarah. enarah is a word with traces to many ancient languages which means to be on the path to enlightenment, and as a business we help you achieve the things which are important to you—faster.” ‘Gold’ we thought. But somewhere, deep inside it still felt forced, feigned and fragile.

LESSON 5: Listen to that little voice inside of you.

An unexpected twist

And then something unexpected happened. Sitting at home one night, my hand wrote a word by itself on a piece of paper. k-o-g-n-i-t-i-v-e. cognitive with a k. ‘What’s this?’ I thought as my eyes glanced across my doodling. It was strong. It was clear. It was easy to pronounce and spell. It was sticky. And most importantly, it represented our scientific approach of leveraging cognitive science to enhance productivity. ‘But surely this name is not available.’ A quick domain, business name and trademark search revealed that in fact yes, the name was available.

The internal battle

And so the internal battle began. ‘Should we, shouldn’t we? We’ll lose the enlightenment connection. We’ll lose the light. We’ll lose all the hard work we have put into building the enarah brand. But is it really a brand if people can’t remember it, say it or spell it? Ow, I don’t know.’ Two quick telephone calls to my trusted advisors and it was overwhelmingly clear. They loved it. Everyone loved it. But more than that, it just felt right. enarah felt like our past, Kognitive feels like our future: a future where we stand as an authority on the cognitive science of high performance.

The birth

And so, it is with great pleasure, enthusiasm and excitement that I announce the birth of Kognitive, or perhaps I should say the reincarnation. With enarah we may have been on the path to enlightenment, but with Kognitive, we believe we are there. Let the meditation begin! The future is bright, our name is strong and we are ready and roaring to bring this ground breaking science to the masses and make a positive difference we were born to make.

And so, it turns out, that Shakespeare got it wrong. In fact, science has since shown that ‘a name’ can in fact change our perception of ‘a rose’. Our preconceptions, thoughts and beliefs do change our experience. You’ll have to come to a workshop to learn more about that. But what’s in a name? A lot more than our beloved Juliet thought, and a lot more than we all intuitively think. And I can tell you… as the proud Managing Director of the new Kognitive, we really feel the difference. I hope you do too.

Welcome to a new era. Welcome to Kognitive.

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