I work with organisations on brand strategy and it’s surprising how often the idea of changing the name finds its way onto the agenda. Frequently it goes no further than that, but when you analyse it there are five reasons why you might at least consider the idea.
The first is a given. If there is some huge crisis or scandal in the business you simply can’t go on as before (even if you’re lucky enough to be able to go on). Think about companies involved with health or safety incidents that grab the headlines. Rightly or wrongly, that’s all they are known for from then on.
The second is where a big national or international outfit with an annoyingly similar name moves into your town. You can’t afford the confusion and you certainly can’t afford to fight them.
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Sometimes you simply aren’t getting traction with your current name. I see this a lot in sectors such as health where things are more competitive than in years past. People want names that link to what you do and are easy to remember. The same applies in government; look at how the names of departments have changed in recent years. They are shorter, sharper and clearer.
Confusion also is a problem when businesses expand into new areas. XYZ Pizza is fine when it’s based in the suburb of XYZ, but looks a bit odd when you open a second store on the other side of the city.
And the final area is where either you or the industry have changed to the extent that your name isn’t quite accurate. It may not flag everything you do, or suggest you do things that you don’t. What would you expect to find in a “hi fi” shop these days?
Actually, there’s a sixth reason. Sometimes new (or a new generation of) business owners simply don’t like the name or think it is dated.
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If your hand is not being forced by either a crisis or a pesky large competitor don’t act on a whim. Keep in mind that your current name already holds some brand equity. Do some market research. Consider whether problems can be addressed in other ways. Do you have mainly loyal customers who will ring or drop in whatever you are called, or will a new name on the door have people think you have moved?
If you do want to change, do three things. First, take the time to come up with a really good name. Think laterally and get outside input. Second, get your team on board (that’s a given with any kind of change). Third have a really good communications strategy that sees and promotes this change as a positive.
Have any questions regarding your brand? Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org