Can you all just Collectively fuck off?

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Ok. This blog / rant has been brewing a while and it ain’t going to be pretty. It’s about your choice of business name dear unoriginal, trendy, startup people.

You see 10 years ago, way way back in 2007, I named my business The Creative Collective.

Like any new business I agonised over the name of my new startup. It was going to be Sparkle PR but thank God some person with much more foresight than me suggested:

‘What if you expand your services from PR and it’s a bit girlie don’t you think?’

They were right. The dodgy vistaprint business cards I had been temporarily excited about went straight in the bin.

So. Names, names, names. As you do, I strategised day and night about what on earth to call my fledgling business.

Alliteration can work, and when I struck on The Creative Collective it kinda had a good ring to it. Alliteration and consonance all in one. Lovely jubbly.

So I went out and business name registered, grabbed domains and trademarked that mother fucker. Mine. All mine I say! How wrong I was….

Fast forward to circa 2012 and a boy band were formed during the fourth season of The X Factor Australia with the name The Collective. That was slightly amusing.

‘Yes we’ve got a band now’ we joked to clients, family and friends.

‘We let them use it. They pay us a royalty fee,’ we jibed.

‘They looked like they needed the help,’ we guffawed.

Haha. Very funny. A high profile band with a name very similar to our company name.

Next up, it’s 2013, and Lisa Messenger that I’d not long prior had the pleasure of hanging out with at a conference run by Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus goes and launches Collective Hub – a print magazine in 37 countries, which quickly becomes a global sensation. And no wonder with a publishing guru like her driving it hard.

“Have you got a magazine now?” people asked us. And it was a logical thought pattern for those who knew I had a background in journalism and had been the editor of online and print publications in the UK.

‘Um no, someone called Lisa Messenger just brought a new magazine out called The Collective. It’s really cool, you should check it out,’ I said. About 20,000 times. Sigh.

Then things got collectively crazy. For some reason completely unbeknown to me, even to this day, every man and his dog seems to be lacking the earlier part of our name sake (creativity) and to be tacking the word ‘collective’ on to every possible line of business.

There’s ‘The Collective’ just down the road from us (the big Bruce Highway Road and about 2.5 hours away but that’s what we say in Queensland) at Palm Beach, Gold Coast which is an eatery.

The Collective Kitchen & Bar – a collection of good food, local craft beers, premium wines and specialty roasted espresso, overlooking Cathedral Square, Brisbane.

Hair By The Collective, which according to them is ‘a full-service boutique salon dedicated to personalising each appointment to suit the individual’.

The SeaLegacy Collective, a distinguished group of photographers and filmmakers.  

The Accounting Collective in Perth and fellow LMBDW (insert fist pump).

Foodies Collective – ‘Australia’s premium artisan food box’ supporting the movers, shakers &Australian food makers and also fellow LMBDW (insert fist pump)

The Collective Markets at Southbank in Brisbane.

The Mooloolaba Collective markets on the Sunshine Coast.

And oh so many more. See this map below for an aerial view of all the ‘Collective’s’ on Google Maps alone in my area! So many Collectives in such a little area ??

Oh and I have another business called The Training Collective.  Lol.

So what do you do? Take it as a compliment?

Keep running like a race horse with blinkers and don’t worry about the other horses and jockeys joining the field in a similar suit?

Or lie down and have a big toddler tantrum?

When I received an email yesterday from our industry body AIMIA (Australia Interactive Media Information Association which did indeed need a more relevant name having been formed in 1992) my jaw dropped when I saw the name choice.

Digital + Technology Collective. Fuck me people. Another bloody Collective??!

Let’s be rational for a moment and take stock and go searching on Google for a moment to seek the true meaning of the word ‘collective’…

According to wikipedia:

“A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together to achieve a common objective. Collectives can differ from cooperatives in that they are not necessarily focused upon an economic benefit or saving, but can be that as well.”

I can hand on heart say that when I named and trademarked the business The Creative Collective it stands up to this statement and perfectly encompasses what we did as a creative agency. And 10 years on as we prepare to celebrate 10 wonderful years in business it still does.
We’ve never been into authoritarianism. We encourage all parties involved in the company to contribute to its growth and culture on a continuous basis. We are all equal. We have each others backs. We celebrate the victories and commiserate the failures. Two heads or more are better than one when it comes to creativity, and all that jazz.

Interesting side note – business mentors in our early days couldn’t understand our name choice and would ask us if we were a cooperative and did all the people featured on our website have shares!

So where does this leave us? Well I’m pleased to say that after writing this little blog / rant I do feel a little better. But most importantly I hope we’ve set a few records straight.

I’m not saying we were the first ever Collective, and I know (disappointingly) that we won’t be the last. We did invest in the trademark for ‘The Creative Collective’ but that’s about good for nothing when it comes to collective battles (and I have better things to do with my time anyway).

We’re optimised to the nines and you should still find us if you search for a ‘Collective’ on Google. Because, well, we’ve been around a while.

Just please note we don’t cut hair, serve breakfast, host markets on the weekend or make coffee. We’re just collectively creative. And awesome at what we do.

And we started collectively 10 years ago. 😉

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