Interview with Fernando Beltrán (El nombre de las cosas)

Written by Techsoulogy
Created Nov 21, 2022 - Updated Aug 08, 2023

Techsoulogy was given its name by the poet Fernando Beltrán. Indeed, he is one of the world most prestigious namers of brands, and a pioneer in the field. Amena, BBVA, Rastreator, Opencor, Aliada, La Casa Encendida, Faunia, Vodafone Yu… These names, so familiar to us all, are all fruit of Fernando Beltrán’s creative process. And so is Techsoulogy.

We chatted about this with Fernando in this interview. We asked him about the creative process involved in naming things, about the poetry it contains and, of course, about how Techsoulogy came to be so called.

Fernando, first of all, thank you for naming us. It’s almost as significant as giving us life, don’t you think?

What has no name, does not exist – cannot be named, spoken, touched, communicated… That is certainly true, but in reality, more than giving life, what namers do is help an entity to be born. We are not little gods who go around the world giving things their name, but merely midwives who assist in the process of birthing – of naming a project, a product, a company, a dream, an idea… And in that sense, working with you, and naming this new journey, has been a luxury… A challenge too.

Do you remember when Fernando Saiz Camarero commissioned you to christen us? What did you think at the time? Were you clear about what it would involve?

I remember, yes, because it was at a particularly sensitive moment in my professional life. I had just decided to give my head a little break, at least for a couple of weeks, and twenty-four hours later I was fully involved in a new project. And all because I had been infected by the contagious enthusiasm that Fernando transmitted to me when he told me about this exciting business prospect, and an even more ambitious projection of its future with clear and precise objectives. But at the same time, absolutely open to tomorrow, that as for technology, it has no limits.

Can you summarize the goals that the company had set itself?

They gave me a table of values and attributes that the new name should encompass, yes, but that list, being basic and unique in some aspects, could almost seem to be the starting point for all such tasks, regardless of the sector, because one takes them as a given: innovation, avant-garde, effectiveness, honesty, professionalism, experience… that kind of thing. Here, however, what most appealed to me was a brief but substantial final addition: Humanising the technological component of the company. Achieving the famous high tech, human touch which, in this case, was already embodied in reality: a company already considered as one of the most technologically advanced, but equally as highly valued by its customers because of its human team. And that was the differential that needed to be named. Bringing human intelligence and empathy to artificial or technological intelligence…

I would love it if you could tell us what the “behind the scenes” of a brand namer looks like. How do you work? How do you arrive at Techsoulogy?

Oh… professional confidentiality… Unless you want me to answer in a conventional and also slightly boring way that will not surprise you at all: by following a work protocol created as a result of decades of experience – and more than seven hundred names – that gradually given shape to the ideal way of working in order to guarantee success when it comes to the creation of a new Verbal Identity. But before the creative process even begins, and this seems more important to me, one must get to know what is to be named. And since this is such a technologically advanced field, it was necessary to learn about many complex processes. That period of gestation, however, shone a light on the key to the final result: getting to know Techsoulogy in situ and in parallel with the human team behind it. That helped us first to believe, and then to create a verbal identity which fulfilled the goal set by the client; a client, by the way, whose personnel gradually became friends, accomplices, people who treated me with devotion, when in actual fact they were the ones who taught me so many things that I did not know…

In short, listening, looking, consulting, building a myriad of lexical fields and areas of connotation, but above all opening the eyes – those of the brain and those of the heart – and the rest of the senses, including professional and commercial awareness. And of course, trying not to let myself get carried away just by my position and experience. Because every project is a world… And you have to start from scratch. Which is where this profession can be of most use…


Techsoulogy making-of: The what, how, and why by our CMO

I have heard you say that there are times when you need to travel to find a name. Where did you come up with Techsoulogy?

A name may arrive at a given time, but in reality it is travelling with you for an indefinite period of time: you carry it within you, it is simmering away inside, forming, you are refining it, you do not arrive at it just like that, you arrive by working it over, thinking, comparing and contrasting, putting it to the test… The name is always there waiting inside the thing to be named… But you have to see it, reveal it, illuminate it, make it new and at the same time look like it has been there all along. Where or at what precise moment it was born I cannot tell you, I do not remember; but it was written for the first time by biro in a notebook, trying to synthesize everything going on in my head with my team in the studio.

And it is curious that I initially wrote it by hand, if you think about it, because the fingers of our hands are digits in reality, (finger comes from the Latin digitus), so that somehow, and with an unpremeditated poetic justice, the desired humanization of technology was fulfilled.

I imagine the name of a brand to be a balance between many nuances: the way it sounds, its length and, above all, the objective to be achieved. Is it a brand to sell, to make people fall in love, to internationalise…? What are Techsoulogy’s objectives?

Bringing humanity, teamwork and human imagination to technology. In short, to add feeling to the numbers, algorithms, statistics, and technology that are the beating heart of your sector… Soul, in short, understood as an essential element of a technology that provides concrete results, yes, but in a human way that makes it both easier and friendlier on a daily basis.

Why choose English? Do you agree with those who say everything sounds better in English?

Actually, it’s not English, it’s a brand. And brands are encoded in their own way, regardless of the language in which they are created and built. In any case, and to answer your question, the English language has overly colonised the collective subconscious, to the point that we forget that the word technology, written in any language, comes from the Greek. Its origin is therefore classic and absolutely Mediterranean – and very beautiful and complete, by the way, in combining two concepts, tekné (the trade, the skill to do something), and logos, the study of that trade. Ultimately, technology is the ability to transform something to build or create something new. So what has been done is to add to that concept, to add to it, to imbue it with that soul, that spirit, that human heartbeat…

And how do you imagine the future of Techsoulogy? Where do you see it going in the future?

The name will undoubtedly help, but having got to know your team over these last few months, and given your professional know-how, I can say with certainty that it will achieve any feat it sets itself. Always recognising, however, that in your sector you must never risk settling, you cannot afford to get distracted or complacent.

Let’s have a round of quick questions. The first thing that comes to mind. Create or discover? What does naming things mean to you?

Track, snoop, find, feel, pronounce, name…

If you had to name yourself, what name would you choose?

Vocation and Passion.

And at home? Did you take charge of naming your daughters?

No. Naming falls to the mother… No, joking aside, I didn’t name my daughters, of course. They are named for various, family-based reasons – Marta and Lucía…. The most beautiful story there ever was and will be…, as Serrat’s song goes… That’s what my daughters are to me….

To choose a name, what comes first: write it down or say it out loud?

Writing it and pronouncing it at the same time.

Is an image worth more than a thousand words?

A picture is probably worth more than a thousand words, but the magic, the miracle, the discovery I have experienced with my trade is that a picture is never worth more than a single word. They are equal, they are complementary, they coexist, they do not know how to live without each other. And vice versa. A word, an image.

How much did you charge for your first name? If you don’t mind saying…

Very little. Nobody believes me when I tell them… It was in pesetas, and it was a long time before names began to be perceived as having value. Until I decided that it was not an advertising copy job – with all due respect to that profession – but rather, and quite rightly, that it was a matter of Corporate Identity. And that was another world. A Corporate Identity, as its name indicates, begins with a verbal identity, a name, writing, a pronounceable name, a name that makes something real, that illuminates it, that makes possible the very existence of a living being or entity… whether a person, idea, project, company…

By the way Fernando, how much poetry is there in Techsoulogy?

As much as each individual wants or needs there to be at different points in their professional life. Always bearing in mind, as the best scientists say, that to arrive at the great universal scientific truths, it was often necessary to start out from great abstractions. Poetry is always there, at the origin, whether we believe it or not.

Seeing the name written on a website, printed on a label, stamped on company merchandising… What do you find most exciting after you create a name?

When it is successful. Seeing it grow and enjoy good health. It’s like a son, who
we have entrusted to somebody’s care. Yours, in this case.

Take care of it!

Thank you very much Fernando, for the chat and for Techsoulogy. We will take care of it!

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