before changing brand name

Changing a brand name can be a risky proposition. It can interrupt sales as well as confuse current and prospective customers.

A corporate brand name change is typically reserved for the following situations:

  • The brand name is too similar to another and customers are confusing the two. And if the other comany is suffering from a poor brand reputation, it may indeed be in your best interest to make the change.
  • When it is discovered that the name means or represents something distasteful, offensive, or vulgar in another country or culture.
  • Mergers and acquisitions (the most common)
  • A radical change in business direction, focus or values
  • When the brand name is the name of the founder who is either no longer a part of the company, or by its presence is devaluing or eclipsing the personal brands of other key leaders.
  • When it is a regional name that has no meaning or significance in other regions or markets, thereby pegging the brand as being small.
  • The brand reputation is damaged past the point of repair.

If your situation does not align with any of the above, consider the following risks and consequences associated with changing the brand name of your company aside from legal and tax implications:

  1. Customers and channel partners can only assume that a change in your brand name means there must also be a change in how you company does business. and there may be a change in personnel (including their key opint of contact). If this is the case, as it often is, some customers may like the change, and some may not. Therefore, it will be difficult to estimate how many customers will stay and how many will, you know, explore their options. So, prepare for some level of attrition. 
  2. Prospective customers you have been courting over the last two, six or eighteen months will wonder why your name was changed, giving them a reason to reconsider and take a much closer look at familiar competitors.
  3. You will need to spend a significant investment of time and money educating your channel partners on why you changed your name and what it means to them and their buyers.
  4. If your company relies heavily on search, it will take some time for your new brand name to climb in the rankings.
  5. There is also the added expense of creating new stationery, brochures, trade show displays and signage.

In those situations where you believe your name may be dated or irrelevant, consider an internal and external brand assessment to validate those beliefs. Often, the best maneuver may be to redefine your brand and make sure all employees are on board, fully understanding how your brand is unique and what it stands for.

If you have even a modest amount of brand equity and recognition, it will probably be worth the time and effort to stay your course and infuse your existing brand with new meaning and relevance.

Before making the decision to change your name, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

If you’re thinking about changing the focus of your brand or your brand name, let’s talk.