Labels, badges, titles and trade names are an integral part of our personal and professional lives. They allow us to identify, be identified and set us apart from the masses. In the case of an individual, the tag is assigned without any input from the owner. Long before the cognizance of self or existence is determined we are given a forename, born with a surname and our challenge to defend the earnest intentions of our parents to represent the honor of that name begins. After naming a business the proprietor, while providing goods and services, strive to insure the reputation of the enterprise is reflected and maintained by the moniker displayed on the logo.

Over the years, many have researched and written on the meaning of names and the result of that study has been published and is readily available. Perhaps you came to the realization of the meaning of your name through parental conversation, the curiosity of pre-teen or teenage conversation with friends or by accidental exposure while browsing through a magazine. No matter the source, when the significance of your name is revealed to you, a sense of pride and responsibility to that significance follows.

The name bestowed on a person is in no way a guarantee as to the lifelong behavior of that person. The parents of a child may have the best intentions by calling their daughter Teresa, but will that young lady grow to become a selfless, compassionate soul is only a question to be answered by the life lived by Teresa. In general terms, the obligation of one to act in a responsible manner within society becomes greater as the age of the individual increases and upon reaching the age of majority, accountability for ones actions does as well.

When the nomenclature of a business or public organization boasts philanthropic, humane and noble activities the public expects it to deliver on that promise and most have in their title a direct reference to the product or service to be delivered. When the cause is not so obvious, a mission statement is provided to allow potential clients and customers the opportunity to decide if that entity is one which will meet their needs. The challenge of the business is to meet the expectations of each consumer each time the public exercises the option to utilize it.

But when the performance by an establishment of choice fall short, one must ask is it accidental or with purposeful intent to deceive? A higher level of scrutiny should be applied to an organized commercial enterprise not living up to the meaning of its name than that of an individual, with the difference being the corporate name was given with a specific behavior in mind and that behavior is controllable at the onset or birth of the entity. This examination is not meant to question the occasional incidence of poor service. After all, businesses employ people which are not infallible. But the scrutiny is to address the divergence from stated objectives and routine practice.

The manifestation of the discrepancy becomes most noticeable as the age of the conglomerate increases. Years of familiarity with the name, accompanied by good works and early positive reviews from the public and media will solidify the organization as a benevolent member of the community. As time passes people involved with the concern change, their ideas and priorities as well, and the original purpose of the establishment is altered. By example, any auto dealer can sell cars but the rendered service after the sale varies from dealer to dealer. If service above and beyond was the original premise and this feature is altered or eliminated, the business becomes just another place to get a car. The charitable organization which is of greater benefit to the administrators than to its beneficiaries soon becomes not only ineffective, but the persona non grata of the community and the potential recipients of its benevolence will suffer.

Too often we are blinded by the informality of the familiar insignia and precedent “good” reputation of the corporate or organizational citizen. That ease of acceptance tricks one into a false assurance of good deeds being done, “just because”. We as compassionate citizens must continue our due diligence. To learn the meaning of your name, consign an identifier to your child or engage the services of a community charity, consider the implication of the moniker and the probability of the owner to meet that expectation.