Rebrand Yourselves

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Richard Marsden
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Location: Phoenix Arizona

Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Richard Marsden » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:42 pm



What's in a name? Well, not much if it is Crystal Pepsi, but otherwise, quite a bit. One of the things I have noticed in the HEMA Movement is to create a club and pick a name that sounds

A - Bad Ass

B - Historical

At the time, it may seem like a good idea, but in hindsight if you're thinking of making a club, or school, consider choosing a name that spells out what you do. Organizations with historical names have a harder time being found, harder time being remembered. Branding is important if you want your club to grow.

I originally was part of an organization called the Loyal Order of the Sword. My dedication to the group can not be questioned. I still sport a tattoo from it. The banners hang in my house. The old 'gang' still get back together now and again. But as a name, the Loyal Order of the Sword sounded as much a cult, or a Freemason spinoff as anything else. Sword was in the name, and that's the only clue.

When John P. and I were creating our own group, I was at a loss for a name. John created You-Tube page for us before we were even formalized and he laid down a threat. Pick a name, or else we are Swordpals and our logo will be a bunch of stick figures holding hands with a crudely drawn sword in the middle.


How serious was John about this threat? Check out our you-tube channel. Note what it is called.

We needed a name.

We came up with the Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship. From a marketing standpoint our name has been beneficial.

1 - It says what we do. Historical Swordsmanship.
2- It says what city we are in. Phoenix.

Altogether, it's a bit long, but that aside, the name has helped in our marketing efforts. People find us easily on the web and facebook, and in the Phoenix area we are known by numerous organizations who remember where we are and what we do.

Do they just call us, "Swordguys"? Yes, but even I can't be as informal as calling us the Phoenix Swordguys.

Overall, the Phoenix Society has benefited from our name alone in drawing people into the club.

If your club has a long name, or a name that doesn't really indicate what it is you do, consider changing it.

Are you Blood and Iron? Well- you have a building, a you-tube channel, and long track record, so your name is fine. No need to change it.

Are you Spada de Noblise della Compania y Ordos? Well... consider changing your name unless you have the above.

Do you reallllllly love your name? If it works for you, hey, I can't make you change it, but consider the larger impact a name might have, and how you plan to brand it.

If you are just forming a group or plan to, sit back and ponder what your group's name will mean not only to yourselves, but to the public.

We all dream up interesting names for our organizations, but if it is a mouthful, or isn't clear on what you do, or doesn't indicate where you are, the name might be cool for the insiders and those already in the HEMA community, but an ever-lasting unknown to the outside world.

Richard Marsden

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Last edited by Richard Marsden on Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Matthew Brown
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Location: South Texas

Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Matthew Brown » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:17 pm

This is very interesting. I've thought about what I would name my group if ever I started one, at least before I found out about Brandr. Never came up with one.

Thanks for the article, Richard.
You can find me on Facebook and YouTube.

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Erik B
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Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Erik B » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:34 pm

Minor correction: B&I has two buildings! :)
Erik Bailey
Head Instructor, Blood and Iron Victoria

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Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona

Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:19 am

That's true!

I forget it's spreading.

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Sean F
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Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Sean F » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:28 pm

This is a very important topic, which not a lot of people think about.
While we are referred to as 'Blood and Iron' the full name of the school is Blood and Iron Martial Arts.

The inclusion of 'Martial Arts' in the title was a very deliberate choice. Unfortunately European Swordsmanship is still saddled with the stigma of out of shape guys dressing up in poorly homemade costumes and wailing at each other with random (excessively heavy) sword like objects. In order to attract people who want to train hard and take this seriously we brand ourselves as a professional martial arts school, one that is focused on European swordsmanship.
Instructor, Blood and Iron Martial Arts
Head Coach, Blood and Iron Fight Team
"Everyone has an interpretation until they face an opponent at full intent."

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Sean Karp
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Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:43 pm
Location: Wakefield, MA

Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Sean Karp » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:14 pm

Good points Richard & Sean.

Both PSHS and BAIMA have a no B.S. name that gets right to the core, is easy to remember, is not silly, and "sounds right" which may not seem important but Schola Gladiatoria is no less silly or speaks to the core or hard to remember than Noble Science Academy but it sounds "righter" as the NSA has an unfortunate acronym, and sounds much too much like an advanced placement school for STEM teaching which makes it a forgettable name. Why something like 'Western Sierra Martial Arts', which would sound really good and get right to the point while being spot on wasn't chosen I do not know.
"If you're a guy full of sh** without the gold medal...when you get the gold medal, you're still a guy full of sh**"- Didier Berthod, First Ascent

Scott Richardson
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Re: Rebrand Yourselves

Postby Scott Richardson » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:43 pm

I chose the Black Wolf Historical Fencing Club because:

1) I'm quite fond of wolves;

2) Wolves are a pack animal that kill as team, and I liked the implied togetherness of the club;

3) Black wolves are a rarity, and let's be honest, so are we HEMA types;

4) We are indeed a historical fencing club.

So all in all, I think our name works with this model. Plus we get the added badassery of being able to refer to ourselves as The Black Wolves. :)
Scott Richardson, Chief Instructor
Black Wolf Historical Fencing Club

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