The Top 8 Reasons for Renaming A Business

Changing a brand name or business name is a significant action to take with serious consideration. Sometimes however it needs to be done, for good reason and it can be fundamental to the success of a business.

There are 8 core reasons to rename a business, in this post we look at each and their underlying drivers along with prime examples of brands that have changed their names as a consequence .

1. The Brand Name has Become Meaningless or Irrelevant

A brand name can lose its meaning or become irrelevant when there are significant changes internally or externally.

Internally this can be due to a company change, a brand story realignment, change in mission, vision, values, or brand promises and culture. Alternatively it can be a change in the product, service or delivery. Each can break the connection with, or create conflict with the name.

External changes can be with the market, technology, competition or a change in demand for the product or service, making the name no longer able to represent the company.

Other drivers within this category are: the name being too big or broad for what the company does; it’s indistinguishable from competitors; or it makes people think the business does something completely different.

Examples:
3M Pioneer Xerox

2. For Marketing purposes

Unless a business is a monopoly, or creates a new market of its own, marketing is the key to generating a stream of sales. During a businesses lifespan there can be many developments which make it a smart marketing decision to rename.

When the market recognizes a business more by its product brand name than its own, it might be time to adopt it. Similarly when the nickname is more commonly known and used by your market, it might be time too.

With the advent of the Internet, search and domain names are an all important asset for a brand to own. Unavailability of the domain is a concern. A brand needs to be found online, so when others own your namespace, or if when Google searching a brand name returns an overwhelming volume of inappropriate search results, it could be a time to rethink the brand name.

Examples:

FedEx Panasonic Crayola

3. To Sound Better

When a brand name has an undesirable nickname, is too long and gets truncated to a meaningless set of initials, or is an abbreviation which those newly exposed to it have no idea what they stand for there is a problem. A great brand needs to be easily heard, understood and remembered.

If people have a hard time pronouncing, spelling, or remembering it, changing the name to one that is short, sticky and sounds better could be the best thing.

Examples:

Starbucks Toyota Subway

4. To Escape a Bad Reputation

When a company publicly goes through legal and/or financial issues, or experiences a sustained wave of bad publicity, brand perception can become irreversibly damaged and negative. This can also happen due to a significant drop in standards, or quality of service and products or delivery. It can also happen due to the degrading actions of owners and leaders.

Once a bad reputation has been addressed and corrected within the company, it may be solved publicly with a new brand name. Doing so can also be a positive catalyst for change in the company culture too, which is the root of the customer experience and fundamental to brand success.

Examples:

Altria Accenture Academi

5. Business Expansion

Nationalisation or Globalisation of a brand often involves the need to lose any geographic limitations inherent within the current name. These can be language based, or a cultural limitation, difficulty in pronunciation, negative or confusing translations and more.

Expanding into a new region where another company already owns the brand name is very likely to cause legal and marketing conflicts and is a driver for name change. When brands make the move online they sometimes encounter the same issues with the various namespaces including domains and social media profiles.

A different type of expansion that can require a new name is when a company expands its range of sub brands. Creating an umbrella brand name in this instance can create a more suitable impression of size and scope for marketing the full range of brands.

Examples:

Boeing Nissan Sony

6. Business Pivot

Start-ups and agile companies under smart and responsive leadership, pivot to add new life and profitability to the business. A pivot may be towards new markets, a newer more relevant service or product, newer technology, or to escape a fledgling offering. Pivoting can cause the brand name to lose relevance and require a new name to market the new change.

Examples:

AppleFlickr Pixar

7. Change in Ownership

When a business goes through a merger, acquisition or consolidation with a stronger brand, they will often adopt the stronger brand name. In many cases an entirely new name is required to create a united brand and culture.

In the case of multiple acquisitions it can be beneficial to create an umbrella brand to trade under. It can create a more suitable impression of size and scope to market the full range of brands.

Corporate restructuring can change the direction of the brand as mentioned earlier in this post. Under new direction and with new processes the culture of the company can be significantly improved. This is often accompanied by a brand realignment and a new more fitting name and visual identity.

A spin-off, a subsidiary of a parent company that has been sold off, is essentially a new company and as such may require a new name and identity. The right new name can create the ideal foundation for marketing as a stand alone brand.

Examples:

Corus Sprint Delta

 

8.Legal Requirement

Legal action can be taken against a business to stop using a name due to an existing IP, or trademark ownership in the same marketplace, or when one moves into the marketplace from another region.

This becomes a risk when businesses do not protect their IP by registering it with the appropriate intellectual property governing bodies. It is very important to take these steps into consideration during the naming process as a name may not be a registrable trademark due to the word choice.

Examples:

HungryJacksWWE

 

What to do if your brand name falls into one of these?

Seek expert help! While you can come up with a name on your own, there are branding specialists that create names for businesses as their primary service. They understand the process inside and out, are quick and skilled at what they do, and are able to see the bigger picture. This means they can create a name for you with greater impact, greater market appeal, and of course one that fits your business like a finely tailored suit. The Sponge is one such branding specialist firm. Call +612 8091 6555 now.

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