(By Idris Katib)
“As the saying goes, good name is better than gold and silver. One’s name is one’s trademark or passport which can open or close doors of opportunities in different contexts. In politics, sports and even on media platforms, some names sell than others. Because of what they do, certain actors/actresses, models, media presenters and bloggers have earned the favour of their fans through constant re-echo of their names on media channels. Names constitute windows through which people are viewed. Names portray colours by which people are perceived“.
EVERYONE has an identity. Every locality, every city, every country and every continent have their identities. Our voices, our faces, our aura, our character(s), our families, our schools, our teams, our associations, all form for us differing identities. When subject to examining, our fingerprints and footprints have peculiarities that differentiate a person from another. But in all of these and numerous others, the unique of human identity is the name by which individual is identified or tagged.
As the saying goes, good name is better than gold and silver. One’s name is one’s trademark or passport which can open or close doors of opportunities in different contexts. In politics, sports and even on media platforms, some names sell than others. Because of what they do, certain actors/actresses, models, media presenters and bloggers have earned the favour of their fans through constant re-echo of their names on media channels. Names constitute windows through which people are viewed. Names portray colours by which people are perceived. They suggest persons’ origin, ethnicity or even religion at times. When names are named, listeners easily identify the region, country or locality with which such names are attached, although this may not apply at all times.
In religious realm, we are informed that the Creator named Adam, the first man, and endowed him with knowledge to name other things and animals. This was practically not without a purpose. Just like a producer of a product giving a name to that product or an explorer naming a territory!
When a new baby is born, the father and mother or their parents or either of them comes up with name(s). So, the child is christened. It is now given more recognition and clearer identity. Oftentimes, the choice of the name it is named may depend on the time, sex, cultural norms and circumstances in which the child comes to life. Hence, the name brands the baby differently from all others. Sometimes, it may be the name of a grandfather or grandmother or friend or father himself. There may also be the pet name, the special one. Several cultures believe that there is so much to a name. In relation to law of attraction, good names seem to attract goodness. Many names, for example in Yoruba, and other African societies, have history and circumstances surrounding them.
The Abrahamic religions also posit that on the day of resurrection when the trumpet will be blown, everyone will be resurrected by their name.
When names of certain families are mentioned, the earth will shake and the trees will bow while heavens will thunder. But when other names are named, they reek of no names as such names, in the eyes of people, are not proper ‘ surnames’ that have been built overtime on recognition of the world. Several family names are built on reputation over the years. It may be due to some bravery displayed at war front or dying for the cause of the truth, for instance. Such names may also be built on some ideals such as honesty, masses’ advocacy or philanthropy.
When we meet new people, after their appearance, their names are the next impression with which some opinion is naturally formed about them. Names differentiate people, institutions and natural features. Names differentiate royal families from business merchants or reputable politicians. Names separate doctors from lawyers. Name identifies a country from others while different periods of history are tagged by their names and their related events.
In advertising and marketing, names are used as selling point in copywriting. The manufacturer, who has done some environmental scanning, carefully chooses her product’s name/brand. So, brands and products enjoy market acceptance partly by names that can appeal to their target audiences.
Some people are addressed differently at different times. For example, in broadcasting/cinematography environment, from producer to director, cameraman to costumier and presenter to the lowest crew member, everybody calls themselves by their first name. This is the culture in radio, television and cinematography. In formal situations like office settings, workers may prefer calling themselves by their surnames.
For several reasons, people change their names, for instance for the purpose of marriage by ladies, for realisation of an essence, for rebranding particularly if somebody or a product or brand had been in a sort of mess or disrepute.
Cultural differences reflect in the way some demand to be addressed e.g. In Yorubaland, older persons expect to be addressed with some respect from younger ones. Anything contrary is disrespect to the culture.
Some people can seriously be offended if certain titles are not added to their names when introduced at public functions or when addressed directly. The compere has a duty to get it right to avoid the wrath of the Crème-de-la-Crème, when it comes to introducing people.
Specifically in Nigeria, it is taboo for anyone to address for example Prof. Johnson as Mr. Johnson or Prince Williams as simply Williams except and, of course, if the caller is that name was Johnson’s or Williams’ old classmate or someone with whom he or she grew up together.
When meeting new people, it may be desirable to deliberately and politely ask them to know how to address them because everyone wants to feel important when addressed especially in public. Most times, the way some people are addressed at home is quite different from how they are at work.
In formal situation, especially whether in speaking or writing, correct spelling of people’s names may bring about their further friendship or foe.
Once it so happened in a healthcare facility that a medical director was calling out names of his patients in turns into the consultation room. Suddenly, a man who accompanied his wife to the hospital, on hearing his wife’s name, took offence with the doctor for omitting ‘Mrs’ in his wife’s name. The doctor apologized, explaining that he was under pressure as he had many patients to attend to. According to that doctor in a presentation at healthcare customer service training of his staff, that was the last time he would see that family, who had hitherto been constant in his facility for medical check-ups and consultation in his medical facility.
What do you make of your name? It is an everlasting impression.
Katib, a PR practitioner, wrote from Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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