What Does Brevet Mean?

Brian Williams, PhD

Names are curious things. On the one hand, they can be harmless, even meaningless. On the other hand, they can be profound. Think about your own name. Some people love their name, while others go to considerable lengths to have it legally changed. There’s even scientific research suggesting that certain names can trigger bias, or worse, result in lower income and status over a lifetime. Names given to businesses can also play an important role, literally and symbolically. 

Without a doubt, one of the more challenging tasks in starting a new firm is selecting a company name. This was very much true for us as we launched Brevet. As veterans of large consulting firms like Arthur Andersen and Mercer, we took the name of our employers for granted. Andersen, in particular, opened many client doors and generated remarkable pride in its employees. Despite the tragic collapse of the firm more than 10 years ago, Andersen alum still wear their relationship with the firm as a badge of honor.

In the planning stage of our start-up, we engaged professionals from one of the world’s premier branding agencies. The team invested considerable time and energy understanding us, the market, and especially our aspiration for creating a very different kind of sales performance firm. During our naming process, the experts generated long lists of potential names, some safe and boring, others bordering on the ridiculous. In the initial list of more than 50 candidates, one name stood out: Brevet.

While it had an immediate appeal, we confess we weren’t completely familiar with the word. Was it made up? An acronym? After learning more from the branding agency (and more than a few Google searches), we came to understand and embrace the name. Its meaning and context were spot on.

Brevet is a military term. A brevet rank is a temporary promotion to a higher rank for outstanding service in times of need. Through a field promotion, a lieutenant might become a captain or a major elevated to colonel in order to effectively lead the troops. The concept of a brevet rank is used by militaries around the world and it was especially common during the American Revolution, where the need for smart, effective leadership was critical, regardless of tenure or previous experience. On the battlefields of Lexington or Yorktown, it was less important how long you’d been an officer, your formal credentials, or your societal status. What mattered was your ability to get things done, with speed and with purpose. 

The term brevet reflects how we work. We temporarily become a member of your team when you need it, offering guidance and leadership, but never overstaying our welcome. It defines us because it’s practical, intelligent, and focused on getting real work done. It’s intended to signal our passion for creating near-term results, while also building for the long haul. It’s about making things happen. Our logo symbol is a reference to a military chevron. We chose to make Group part of our name because we believe our collective power is far greater than our individual strengths. We’re The Brevet Group.

We’re proud of our name and seek to live up to its meaning in everything we do.

Brian Williams, PhD

Brian Williams, PhD

Researcher, consultant, and sales leader, Brian uses a data-driven approach to drive sales effectiveness. His clients include leading sales organizations in financial services, technology, healthcare, and professional services. Using insight from academics and change management, Brian helps senior leaders and sales enablement teams understand and succeed in today’s more demanding market. His research has been published in Harvard Business Review and other outlets.