Continuing on the theme of naming companies, you should read “Company Naming Changes 2006” by Strategic Name Development. 1,900 name changes occurred last year. The company has identified nine categories of name changes:
- Dog Eat Dog (34%)
- Too Big or Too Little (29%)
- Build on the Brand (Building on a Strong Brand) (5%)
- Quick Makeover (14%)
- U-Turn (8%)
- User-Friendly Naming (4%)
- Buying Into the Club (3%)
- Rebuild, Restructure and Rename (2%)
- Spinning Off Into The Unknown (1%)
My favorite is “Center for Minority Educational Affairs” becoming “Center for Multicultural Equity and Access.” Three is a lot to learn from this report if you’re changing your company’s name and undertaking rebranding.
I read the report and it reminded me of what happened up here in Ontario Canada a few years ago. All beer sales were conducted at the retial level by a company called Brewer’s Retail Co. But everyone just referred to the outlets as “The Beer Store”. A few years back they got smart and re-branded all the stores – “The Beer Store”.
It would be interesting to see a list of the company name changes from the Tech bubble era compared to name changes of present Web 2.0 companies. From the bubble,
Intelligent Systems for Retail >> Webvan comes to mind.
Fedex and BevMo are great examples of companies renaming themselves based on what customers are actually calling them.
Maybe some law firms should read this book :-) Trust me, these are all real existing firms.
1. Low, Ball, & Lynch
2. Harness, Dickey, & Pierce
3. Cummings & Lockwood
4. Lawless & Lawless
5. Johnson & Cox
And a dictionary comes in handy too when searching for a new name: Look at google for Body & Sole
Sometimes a name-change can also be a closet sex-change operation. The Victoria Terminus railway station in Bombay, named after the British Queen, was renamed Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, an Indian King, in the mid 1990s.
In the late 80s, the mental health company I worked for started renaming all their components “The Center for….” whatever. They were descriptive, but sounded generic.
Of course, we renamed our softball team “The Center for Softball Services.”
there should be also a category like “change to a leader company product” where a company decide to change its name to the name of its leader product that everybody know…. Danone is an example.
I love this information. Have you ever noticed, however, how paralysis and navel gazing can set in when companies start to think about changing their name?
Too often organizations get way too wrapped around the axle and make naming far more complex (and ultimately costly) than it needs to be.
We wrote recently a bit about simplifying the naming process on our “Changing Aging” blog here: http://www.ecumen.org/changing-aging/189/brand-building-5-tips-for-an-effective-name-change-on-any-size-budget/