PICCADILLY — It’s our birthday today and we’d like you to help us celebrate. (See our challenge below.)
Able and How opened its doors on 8 September 2008. And today seems a good time to explain where the name came from.
Yesterday someone wrote to us out of the blue and said how much they liked our name. And then this morning I read an article that referred, half sneeringly, to the “liberal ideal that the world can be made a better place…” And those two things made me think it’s time to talk about why we set this business up.
We think that ‘work’ can be improved.
We think that the world can be made a better place.
We think that we can help make that happen.
So about a year ago, when we were trying to sum up that idealism in a way that was clean and optimistic, without being arch or arrogant, we happened on Able and How.
When it came time to think about putting all this together, I approached a branding guru and said we needed help on naming.
“We’ve got one, but we’re not sure it’s right. However, we do have six reasons why we think it works.”
The reply was simple and categorical. “If you have six reasons, then I don’t even need to hear it. You should go with it.”
Nonetheless, the name Able and How was influenced by a number of conversations.
1. A branding expert from Landor in the USA told me that professional services companies do better when they have people’s names in them. And I certainly didn’t want my name in the firm’s moniker.
2. The URL was available. And you just never seem to recover from having a .tv or .biz web address.
3. It’s short and easy to remember. Although our colleague Nick Band still insists on calling us Willing and Able.
4. It’s at the very top of any alphabetical list. (We did look at Aardvark…)
5. It vaguely describes what we do.
6. The American radio show “Car Talk” on National Public Radio is a wry and yet broad comedy show about cars. The two fast talking hosts always thank their lawyers at the end of each show. They thank the firm by name: Dewey, Cheatem and Howe. And there’s no joke better than an old joke.
Most of the people we talk to have only registered one or two of these concepts. Some ask who is Able and who is How. (Although historic photos of our founders Mabel Able and Hugo How now hang in our offices).
We opened our doors one year ago today. Today is our birthday. And (so far) we have survived one of the worst recessions in living memory. We’re quite proud of that. But we know it couldn’t have happened without our friends and supporter, like you.
Therefore, how would you like to help us celebrate?
Please take no more than 5 minutes and write us a limerick or a haiku poem using the words ‘How’ and ‘Able’. If we get enough submissions we’ll think of some appropriate prizes.
Oh, and, thank you! Thank you very much for your support.