We caught up with CMO Helen Døcker to discuss the company’s recent name change from CSAM Health Group to Omda.
Could you please share why the name was change from CSAM?
As our company becomes more international and visible it’s important to be able to legally protect our company name worldwide. We needed to ‘own’ the name in the business spheres we operate. With ‘CSAM’, we faced some issues here, so we needed to find a stronger option.
We also saw room to improve on CSAM, originally invented to stand for ‘Clinical Systems All Managed’. We pronounced it ‘SEE SAM’ but others might read it as four letters ‘C-S-A-M. Our new name is far easier to read correctly, and it will sound similar in most languages. The word Omda is less likely to be thought a set of initials. Having a short name makes it visually easier to unite all our products under one brand, enhancing the visibility and perception of the whole company. This will develop opportunities for expansion, as well as cross- and up-selling to existing customers.
What can you tell us about the naming process?
We chose to work with Fruiting League, a brand consultancy with a strong B2B track record and excellent knowledge of Nordic markets, as they have long association with the telecommunications companies Telenor and Telia in both B2C and B2B. Their understanding of our home markets and their British background with global experience have made them a great partner – one who understands our diverse operational and commercial footprint.
So how do you begin when you rename a company?
It started with Fruiting League drawing up a longlist of pronounceable four-letter name options, that were then screened for availability in the relevant trademark registration classes. Choosing from this list was difficult because our company is both highly specialised and extremely diverse; there is no one word to convey this complex, continuously evolving reality. The real task of the name is to imply our seriousness, scale and dynamism. After several workshops, we arrived at a shortlist of the eight most suitable and interesting name options, all with a strong pathway to registration and protection, and with dot-com domain availability. At this point the clear favourite emerged: Omda.
So what’s in the name Omda?
Although the long list comprised mostly of abstract names, Omda actually means something in Norwegian. The two words ‘om’ and ‘da’ in Norwegian actually mean ‘if-then’. For a software company with strong scientific heritage, having a name that linked to the ‘if-then’ logical premise seemed very appropriate. An “if-then” statement is a fundamental concept in programming and logic. It represents a conditional statement that specifies two possible outcomes based on the evaluation of a condition. We were sold on it. We were looking for a short pronounceable name like IKEA or Nokia – names that mean very little in themselves, and we rallied behind this one, which made sense to us from a Norwegian heritage perspective, and which resonates well with the foundation of everything we make.
Also, our partners at Fruiting League had also more fundamental reasons why Omda would make a strong brand for us. But they are better at explaining this than I am.
Curious to learn more, we reached out to Kershen Teo and Paul Vinogradoff, the Fruiting League team behind the new name and brand design. Please tell us more about Omda and why you found the name appealing
While brand names need not have meaning like words in a dictionary there is a further dimension to consider in developing, screening and evaluating name options. This is the qualities and resonance of their speech sounds. Underlying modern languages lie thousands of years of recorded language and probably tens or hundreds of thousands of pre-literate language. Speech sounds themselves are not wholly random; sound and meaning sometimes converge across widely diverse languages. A name can be a destiny as much as a simple identifier. We look at any name’s construction and elements as holding a key to the brand’s short- and long-term performance. Omda, for example, is profoundly attractive for the following reasons.
Let’s start with ‘Om’. If you ever do yoga, your instructor may ask you to say ‘om.’ In many eastern religions ‘om’ means connecting or healing all life in the universe. In Latin, omni means everything around us or the holistic view, while the English word womb has an om (i.e., life force) within it. In Greek ‘omphalos’ is the navel, symbolic of life’s origin and the transmission of vital energy through generations. This ‘om’ sound refers to slightly different things, but is present in many contexts where life in its universal aspects is the focus. For a company developing software for the healthcare and emergency sector, the “om” in its name would generate very positive subliminal signals. As for ‘da’ this sound has positive connotations in many languages as the patriarch (another source of life) and in mandarin Chinese ‘da’ means big or great in stature and strength. When the phonemic elements of a name have deep-rooted positive value in ancient and modern languages, and those meanings are relevant to the industry, then we have a deeply attractive and value-oriented name. So, while we are not looking for a word or word elements of obvious relevance, there is an art to arriving at a brand that implicitly converges from numerous directions on customers’ deepest concerns and motivation.
We expect this new name will contribute to the company’s performance over the medium and longer term.