Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Names mean different things to different ages of people

I have recently been in contact with Danny Altman who is the Founder and CEO of A Hundred Monkeys – now that is a name that gets your attention.

Danny was telling me about some work he did for a retirement homes company that shows how the connotations of a name varies by the age of the ear. This is his story

We have a naming and branding company in San Francisco and found ourselves working for three non-profit companies that merged into one group that ran 15 big retirement homes.

So we dived in and toured all the facilities and had a great time talking to the residents, aged 60 to about 95. We went through a long process and ultimately decided to go with the name Front Porch, which we thought was pretty laid back and friendly – definitely non-institutional.

Well some of the residents didn’t exactly agree with us. There was a minor revolt because some of them thought that Front Porch meant we were portraying them as old folks in rocking chairs, which was the last thing we were trying to do.
After the excitement died down, they got used to the idea. And as you can see, the overall image was pretty young and hip.

What’s the moral of the story? Most people who are over the hill are apparently not ready to be put out to pasture.
As you can see, the Front Porch web site is definitely not your usual ‘retirement’ type design. I think it is the most extreme example of an uncluttered site I have seen and all the better for that. How fascinating that the term “Front Porch” can have such different meanings and create so much angst. Dick Stroud

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