Since the company’s inception back in 2015, “Alkari” has been a thorn in my side. There has yet to be a group in which at least one (usually several) person hasn’t asked me about the name and just what the Hell it means. Instead of suffering the embarrassment of telling them, I offer a free crate of beer or wine to anyone who can successfully guess.
To this date, I’ve given away exactly zero crates of beer. While I enjoy what I do, giving away free stuff is a great way of going out of business. So, when I offer the prize, I do so safe in the knowledge that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to win; despite being given the apparent advantage of being allowed to use Google (Search for ‘Alkari’ in Google and it’ll return information about a race of aliens from a video game. This is not the correct answer)
Most people give me the benefit of the doubt, assuming that the name must have something to do with adventure activities. Perhaps a local mountain or river? Maybe an acronym- ALl Kinds of Adventures Reached Inside? Clutching at straws a bit I know, but it’s been suggested.
I’m afraid the real meaning is-for lack of a better description-profoundly stupid. I’m not above lying about it either, often telling people that it’s a Maori word for courage. Fortunately, I get very few native Maori speakers through the door (The actual Maori word for courage is ‘toa’, by the way).
Let’s settle this once and for all-It is possible to find the meaning online…sort of. Try this: Head to Google and enter a search for Elvish Translators. I just checked, and any of the resulting links will do. Click on one and it’ll take you to a very nerdy version of Google Translate. Enter the word ‘glory’.
Provided you’re not searching in a strange dialect (yes, someone actually took the time to create multiple dialects of a fictional language), you’ll see that ‘glory’ translates to ‘Alkar’. Add an ‘i’ at the end to help it roll off the tongue a bit easier and there you have it: Alkari is a slightly altered Elvish translation for glory. Try explaining that to a company HR manager to whom you’re attempting to sell a team building weekend.
The name wasn’t chosen because of any great love for the work of J.R.R Tolkien. I picked it because I had spent hours on translators for real languages and had failed to find anything that sounded cool enough. It felt like there were more important things to be focused on, like finding clients, than agonising over the name. As it happens, an extra 10 minutes of thought may have been a good idea. It would have saved me from a name that, in best case, makes absolutely no sense and, in the worst, sounds like a terrorist organisation.
I can’t tell you just how liberating it feels to finally get this out in the open. I feel like an addict who’s finally admitted to having a problem. And I think it’s time for a change.
I’ve endured nearly three years of mispronunciations from clients and employees alike. I’ve bemused expressions on faces with increasing embarrassment after explaining its meaning. We simply can’t go on like this. Which is why I’ve decided that it’s time to let go of Alkari in favour of something a bit less…well…stupid.
Changing the name of your company isn’t quite as straight forward as writing a blog and changing your website. It involves significant costs to get the branding changed. It’ll leave me with hundreds of completely redundant t-shirts, banners, flyers, business cards and stickers. I also have a logo that I’m rather fond of and would prefer not to throw out completely.
I’ve decided to use the ‘A’ so that I can keep the most recognisable part of my old logo. There aren’t many cool sounding, adventure-y words that start with ‘A’. But here’s what I’ve gone for:
Action Adventures may not be the most original name. But it trumps Alkari simply by virtue of making sense. I like that it’s simple. You see the name and you know exactly what you’re getting when you come to us. We’re not in the business of running lazy retreats spent cooking yourself in the sun next to a pool. We run trips for people who want to get out, make the most of life and create genuine memories that’ll last them a lifetime. You might even say that we run trips for Action Men and Women (Now that’s a t-shirt!)
Over the next few months, you’ll start seeing changes to the website and social media pages as I get to work on establishing the Action Adventures brand. Don’t worry, it’s the same company with the same friendly people. Just with the added bonus of a name that explains what we do a little better.
So what do you think? Are you an Action Man or Action Woman? Or are you going to miss the endearing ambiguity of Alkari? It would be great to hear from you, and I can’t wait to see some of you later this year!