Magazine article The CPA Journal

What's in a Name? the Art of Corporate Naming

Magazine article The CPA Journal

What's in a Name? the Art of Corporate Naming

Article excerpt

When a corporation is forced to change its name, the circumstances are usually adverse. A name may become a liability or a burden, be injured in a trademark battle, or simply lose its appeal to consumers. The reasons for changing a corporate name include the following:

The name is similar or identical to too many others. A corporate name that is shared by other businesses becomes lost in the crowd. Also, a name borrowed from a dictionary often lacks distinction and simply dies from exhaustion.

The name is too old to convey contemporary dynamics. Sometimes a name reflects the great human toil of the company's founders. The problem is that the name does not reflect the current digitally savvy world. Corporate communications may struggle to shed the old image by promoting the company's new vision, but these names always fade away.

The name is spelled unusually. Many corporate names are spelled creatively to fit a logo or to avoid a trademark problem. Usually, however, the only thing the twisted spelling ensures is obscurity. The consumer's mind continually rejects the corruption of familiar words.

The name requires explaining. A company name that cannot relate simply to the business, or requires constant explanation of its obscure origin, becomes a liability. Consumers do not care what the name means to the corporation; they care only what the name means to them.

The corporation does not own a trademark with an identical name. A name is meaningless if it is not owned legally. Every time that name is advertised, it simply helps the company's competitors or the industry at large. A majority of corporate names today are not trademarkable globally and most do not have an identical Internet domain name available.

The name translates badly in other countries. A name must work not only in its own country, but in every other country where it may be used. Corporations never set out to choose a name that is embarrassing, confusing, or profane in a foreign language, but it happens. …

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