What’s In A Name?

In 2013, I decided to go all in on my idea to start a Republican political advertising company. I always knew we would eventually add other services but wanted to start with what I knew best: political direct mail. The first tough decision…what to name this company?

After lots of handwringing, I narrowed it down to three choices. The first name I stole from my wife. She had told me at one point that she thought Traction would be a great name for a political consulting company. So I thought I might swipe that one from her (with her permission).

The second possibility was Run the Table, which had been our motto in 2010 at the Tennessee Republican Party: we were going after nearly two dozen seats and wanted to ‘run the table’ (we did).

The last idea I had was FINAO for “Failure Is Not An Option.” Pretty good, but friends pointed out that eventually one of my clients would lose. I guess I could’ve gone with FISAO, for “Failure Is Seldom An Option,” but that seemed somewhat less compelling.

So I had narrowed it down to those options, and I asked some people I trusted for their advice. I had them rank the three choices from best to worst, and then I added up the scores: three points for first, two points for second, one point for last. And so, of course, what happens? There was a three-way-tie. Every choice was loved by at least one person, every choice was hated by at least one person.

To say I was overthinking this decision would be a huge understatement.

Author Napoleon Hill once told the story of how he came up with the title for his mega-bestseller Think and Grow Rich. According to Hill, he came up with hundreds of names, all of them bad. So one day his editor calls and says: “By tomorrow morning you’ve got to have a title, and if you don’t have one I have one and it’s a humdinger: Use Your Noodle and Get the Boodle.” And Hill screams out, “By goodness, you’ll ruin me!” So Hill goes to bed that evening, and in the middle of the night he wakes up with one of the most successful titles ever in his head.

I can relate. After the disappointing results of my poll, I decided to sit down and just write out every word I could think of that had anything to do with the company I wanted to create. And two words ended up on the list that I really liked: “Direct,” because obviously I was doing direct mail. “Edge” worked, since I wanted my company to be cutting edge, and I want to give candidates that edge to win. I just put those two together, added campaigns, and a few minutes later, there was the company’s name: Direct Edge Campaigns.

As I’ve seen many times since starting this business, the simple solution is often the best.

Since that day, DE has worked in 31 states, has been a part of multiple legislative chamber takeovers, and has elected over 1,000 Republicans to all levels of government. And we’re not stopping now; this is what we live for. If you’re a Republican considering a run for public office, I hope you’ll let us be a part of your success story.