Skip to main content

The napkins were piling up. Filled with increasingly frightening and nonsensical names, their crumpled forms were the sole output from a marathon brainstorming effort for a soon-to-launch consulting firm. Co-founders Ewan Main and Cheryl Ferguson exchanged a weary glance – why was it so hard to come up with a name that fit the new company?

It was November 1999, and most of the hard work needed to start a new consultancy was done. They had office space. They had new hires. The firm even had potential clients lined up. All that remained was to come up with a name – a to-do list item that went without being checked week after week. Giving themselves a strict deadline, Ewan and Cheryl popped into a local establishment to doodle out a great name in no time flat – and failed. Finally calling it quits as the proprietor flickered the lights, they instead took their own medicine and brought in an expert.

The brief delivered to the creative hired gun was both succinct and challenging. The company is about transforming businesses, so they wanted a name that alluded to change. Without sounding too techy. Oh, and it had to be cool. Very cool. While also, naturally, incorporating the firm’s three focus areas of behavior change: customers, employees and executive leaders. The resulting steely-eyed stare from the word slinger was taken as a sign of intense engagement.

A week later the creative naming guru arrived back at the firm’s office. No napkins were visible as she vigorously rustled through her well-worn satchel. She explained her endless searching on the relatively new internet for names of species associated with transformation. She told them that she reviewed more than 300 name ideas before narrowing down her search. A single sheet of paper was finally produced.

And out of a shortlist of 5 names, one word stood out: Daggerwing.

Ewan and Cheryl leaned in, intrigued. A butterfly known for having three very distinct stripes, Daggerwing nailed all the criteria. Change? Check. Cool? Double Check. Three focus areas? A wing stripe for each. Check. Job done!

As with all firms, Daggerwing Group has changed over time. In the ensuing 22 years, they have added new capabilities, diversified client partners, and expanded their global footprint. But happily, the name Daggerwing is still as relevant – and cool – as it was 22 years ago.