Magazine article Management Today

BRAIN FOOD: Crash Course In. Renaming Your Company

Magazine article Management Today

BRAIN FOOD: Crash Course In. Renaming Your Company

Article excerpt

You've just been handed market research that shows half your target audience has never heard of your company, and the other half thinks it is a small antipodean rodent. The bloke it was originally named after left the firm 10 years ago, and you've since changed beyond recognition.

Time for a new name?

Consider not changing Good reasons for changing names include a significant strategy shift, a merger, simplifying your corporate structure or global harmonisation. The worst reason is because you are negatively perceived.

Says Peter Shaw, a director of consultancy Corporate Edge: 'If you're not changing anything apart from the name, it's like putting lipstick on a pig.' Even if you have changed strategy, consider giving the existing name a new slant. 'Getting a new name is a huge undertaking involving huge investment in financial and human resources,' adds Shaw.

Discretion rules Avoid announcing that you're planning a name-change.

That creates a vacuum and leads to uncertainty and speculation. Far better to consult internally, but keep it quiet. 'If you get an early buy-in internally, when the name-change takes place people will rally behind it,' says Yannis Kavounis, associate director of Interbrand.

Be flexible Descriptive names are helpfully self-evident but they can also fence you in. 'You don't know exactly what you'll be in 10 years' time. But a name like Starbucks or Virgin can go into any category,' says Kavounis. …

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