7/15/11

What's in a Name? (Brand Change Part 3)

Part 3 of the Brand Change series


Branding is about identity, but we often forget that the name, logos and marks are not the only identifiers associated with our company brand. For a company, it is the people, the services we provide, what we sell, the values we embrace and the relationship we have with our communities.

The change of a name in a brand change is initially one of the scariest thoughts, because most of us market name first rather than who we are and what we do. It is often a one way association with little differentiation from others associated with the same brand.

Venerable names have a challenge in constantly renewing and revalidating their current business structure especially when brand extension has taken the business unit away from the main business genre. New names have a challenge of gaining recognition unless it is as a part of a large company or group change which tends to gain attention and a good bump in business in the introduction.

There are many cases in which a brand name change has been a very positive boost to business. Not because the former name was necessarily bad, but, in some cases it represented the past or perhaps did not bring awareness to new offerings, products, services and more. Take, for example, the names of some of the oil companies: Exxon, Mobil, Amoco – all of these names were created to build the momentum caused in change as well as reflect that there was something new in the underlying companies. More recent examples include numerous bank name changes and ownership.

Like most brand changes, the changes did not cause a loss of business as neither the people, services nor the locations changed. Most importantly the relationships did not change. Yes, there were some challenges as there always are in the rollout of new identifiers and information, but these are really a small blip in time that you will notice more than the consumer public.

We as a culture like names and hold those identifiers near and dear to our hearts until a reason to change is presented. Then we adopt the new identity and put our energies into making sure that everyone knows and is happy for us. Kind of like a marriage when a bride adopts the groom's last name or they choose to create a name that is their own.

What’s in a name – it is the people, relationships and passion that make it far more than words.


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