What’s in a name? If it is the name of your case for support, there should be a lot in it. It’s a frame and a sign that sits on the most valuable real estate of a document, the cover. And it’s a frame and a sign of your most valuable document, your case for support. You want to use it strategically.
A sign, like a traffic sign, gives specific information about what to expect: Watch out for falling rocks, and it points to something: This way to Naramata. Like a sign, a name or title of a case should give specific information about what to expect and point the reader to a destination, i.e. their role in helping realize a vision or the promise embedded in a mission.
We can also think about a case title as a frame that puts boundaries and applies focus around specific content. It shows us what to look at. What’s in, what’s out, what’s important. The name of a case for support tells a reader about the content and helps them know what to look at and look for. And like a frame around a work of art, it enhances–decorates–the content.
A case name, then, is specific, direction setting and content enhancing. That sounds clinical. Let’s breathe life into this by trying on a few case titles.
In your view, which of these is stronger and better (more specific, direction setting and content enhancing)?
A. Honour the past. Celebrate the present. Embrace the future.
B. Hope is right here. Right now.
C. Help build a bigger, better ER.
I can’t tell you how often I talk to clients whose initial inclination is toward a title like A and B. “A” sounds exceptionally lofty and highbrow. But, in their ambiguity, what do A and B really communicate? What are you honouring, celebrating, embracing, hoping for? In contrast, option C is specific, direction setting and content enhancing. Not only do we know that this case concerns healthcare, we know it concerns the Emergency Department. We understand that there is a plan to improve the ER and that there is a role for us, the readers, to play. All that in five words.
If you are making the case for a specific campaign, make sure the name works for, or adapts easily to, the campaign. Think about how you will refer to the campaign in a conversation, “We have launched the _____________ campaign.” It needs to roll off the tongue easily. For example, the Help build a bigger, better ER case became the ER campaign. Plain and simple. Hope is right here. Right now could become the hope campaign. (But, again, hope for what?) Be sure both the written and verbal versions work for you.
Over to you now. What’s on the cover of your case for support? Is it specific, direction setting and content enhancing? If you were to re-write it, put a new frame around it, how would you shape it?
If you have comments and thoughts to share, please do.
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