The Name of the Game

The Name of the Game

Don’t panic, we’re not channelling ABBA. Well, not today anyway.

We were recently approached by a new client, looking to change their company name. Ooh that’s a bit risky we hear you gasp. Well yes. And no.   

Your business name is the first thing people mention when talking about your company. You say the name, your employees say the name – sometimes hundreds of times a day. It’s likely to be on external and internal signage, not to mention all your marketing collateral. To decide to change the name is a big ask, from a practical perspective as well as from a customer perception.

Your brand name really should convey the right message to capture and keep the attention of the audience. It should be memorable, but easy to spell. How will people find you on Google if they can’t remember how to spell it? It may seem clever to name a hairdresser ‘Bay Kutz’ but how many people will remember that is how it’s spelt? However, if your name is too boring or generic, you’ll have a to work twice as hard to gain the attention of your target audience.

The right name will build a long-standing relationship between you and your customers. But if your company name isn’t communicating the right message – is it time to change?

Here are some tips to consider before making a company name change;

  • Have a clear strategy. Ensure you have a clear understanding of why you exist and how your business can meet the needs of your customers.
  • Allocate appropriate resources. Spend the time and money getting it right. Work with a creative team to help you craft the best name that reflects your brand story.  
  •  A new name cannot fix a broken business. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Deal with what needs resolved then consider how a new name could work

When it started…

In order to keep ahead of the competition, businesses need to be able to evolve, and sometimes diversify. If you change your core offering or product or have moved into a different industry, you may need to consider a new name – especially if your brand specifically mentions the work you do.

Sometimes, a name is flexible enough that it can be successful a new market. Virgin are really the poster brand for having a level of flexibility in their name. It allows them to work across industries including airlines, hotels, mobile phones and even space travel. There aren’t many global brands that have the ability to do this.

Legacy or leave?

There are many established, traditional names out there, usually named after the company founder. You’ll often find this within the financial and legal sectors. However, time moves on as do people (at the risk of sounding morbid!) and that name is no longer relevant. Anyone remember Arthur Andersen? He’s now Accenture. And there’s a brand that’s gone from strength to strength over the last 20 years.

Having said that, Walt Disney is still going strong and it doesn’t look like that name will change anytime soon! Although if you have that level of brand recognition, it’s not likely you’re feeling the need to change your name.

Location, location, location

At start-up stage, it’s an easy solution to name your company based on your location. But what happens when you decide you want to expand? Launching a start-up, for example, The Edinburgh Bakery is great. If it’s based in Edinburgh. It doesn’t really work so well in Glasgow….

Here are some of our favourite name changes (for the better - we think you'll agree!)

  • Google was once Back Rub.
  • Yahoo! Was originally Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.
  • Before it was Amazon, it was Relentless.
  • PepsiCola started out as Brad’s Drink.

We’re not convinced that if they’d stuck with their original names, they’d have been quite so successful! That’s why your brand name matters; it's the identity of an entire brand. It deserves time and attention, and when handled properly, it'll change a business forever.

If you would like to chat to us about creating or changing your brand name, get in touch. We’d love to help.