The Story Behind the Name Radix Collective

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I’m often asked about the naming of Radix Collective. Where did it come from? Is it a made up word? What does it mean? What does it have to do with a collective? And, how do you pronounce it?

The path to arriving at its doorstep started many years before founding Radix. The first part begins with the word Collective. Eight or nine years ago I had a mental flash of a check-in desk at an office that I could tell was mine. The receptionist was standing up and blocking half of a wall logo. The only word I could see was Collective.

It made me think of hives and collaboration, of rising tides and community, and industries in need of galvanization – and what it takes to go about that. All related to the PR industry and its impact on business, a topic I’m passionate about.

“I’m going to build something some day, that will lead to an office, and it will have the word Collective in it’s name,” I told myself. Then I filed it away.

Cut to a handful of years later and I find myself in the sudden situation of deciding to finally start an agency – at least a tweaked version of one. We had a client project starting before we had an email, things happened that quickly. I needed a name. THE name.

Words are important. They are specific. They are purposeful and should not be taken lightly. Words hold accountability.

I consulted one of my creative bouncing balls – my mother. She is also a logophile – she is probably where I get it. We were discussing elements of the name: tone, style, word association, vision, etc. I relayed it must have collective in it, but beyond that, I was at a loss for the full name, let alone it be available as a domain.

We ran through word options, consulting thesauruses and dictionaries. We scratched word association trains in email and on pieces of paper to read over the phone as I had flashbacks of many rounds of Boggle while growing up.  The words renegade and radical kept flashing behind my eyes.

As Radix focuses on the independent PR market, and having been there myself, I see this massive group as trailblazers, people who make a decision to become entrepreneurs. Every independent is stepping out and planting a stake in the ground, looking to build something, be it a one-two person shop or adding talent and building an agency their way. They may not be building apps or cloud-based software, though some are, but launching your own client service business is a start-up too.

Renegades. Bad asses. People who shake things up. Radicals.

We also discussed Radix’s guiding philosophy that Communications is the root of every aspect of business. It is the single most crucial function. Without Communications, even the best products can’t be saved. Having efficient Communications, excelling at the art of it in the business environment, and using it strategically should be in the DNA of every company. It is, however, not. It should be but that is a topic for another day.

Then there was no more time for brainstorming. We were at deadline – a Tuesday. I talked to her Monday night. “How’s the name coming?” she asked. “I don’t know yet. We might use generic emails for now because we have to start tomorrow.”

It has to be said, because it is important to the story, that my mother is a faithful woman. She informed me she’d pray for a name. “I’ll take anything I can get,” I told her.

8:00am the next morning my phone rings. “I have the name,” she says.

Apparently she was putting in good words with the Big Guy and felt compelled to go to her dictionary, flip it open at random and point, landing on the word Radix.

I’d never heard it. She read the definition:

Ra·dix: rādiksLatin for “root”: The root or point of origin of a part or organ, as of a nerve at its origin.

That felt right. Perfect even. Radix does encompass the philosophy that communications should be at the central nerve system of any company, attached and engrained at the very roots and carried upward. The word has strong consonants, is short, and I liked the pairing with “Collective.”

“It’ll do for now,” I said. Quick domain search to check….available….bought. BAM. I had myself a name – and a company.

I researched the origins of the word and discovered Radical descends from Radix and radical is a synonym for renegade.

“…of or pertaining to the root, having roots, radical”), from Latin radix ‎(“root”)”

One definition is also associated with Biology which re-enforced the planned iconography of a tree to represent Radix on a visual scale. See how that all came together?

I’m a  big believer that when you’re headed where you’re supposed to things fall in to place. Radix coming together is one of those stories. There is a big vision attached and now you know where our roots are from.

P.S. It’s pronounced rey-dix.




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