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25Sep2015

What's In A Name?

Marketing

 

As a business, your name says, or can say a lot about you. Some even define a market, a genre or a product. Over at Storm12, we have been recently working on a couple of branding projects for our clients, some of which involve a potential change in name. Changing the name of your brand or business is a huge move, regardless of your industry. Through expansion or repositioning, you might be thinking that a fresh new name is just what you need to engage more of your existing, or to garner new customers.

 

 

Bain & Company's research in 2013 showed that it costs six to seven times as much to win a new client as it does to keep an existing one, so by changing your name, you may in effect be re-pitching your company to your existing clients.

 

Famous names which took the plunge and pulled it off include Nike [fka Blue Ribbon Sports], Starbucks [fka Il Giornale Coffee Company] and Google [fka Backrub], but there have been plenty of businesses where rebranding or renaming has been done for the sake of it or to hide from bad press or bad behaviour in the past. We won't name names, but you can find a list on Backrub, sorry Google.

 

If you are thinking about changing your name - and going after that holy grail of your business name becoming synonymous with your offering, it's important to see things from your customers' perspective and ensure they can identify with either your existing name, or the name you're thinking of changing to. We would strongly recommend testing the waters - just because you like a name, doesn't mean your consumer base will. Talk to them. Meet with them. Market to them. Keep yourself in front of them so they think of you the next time they have a need.

 

Let's say you achieve that status and find yourself in a position where customers refer to an object or offering by your brand name. The impact of such a success is probably something you have thought about from a "we did it" perspective, but perhaps not from a cultural standpoint. A good way to illustrate this would be to look at your typical day at work. Yes, we're generalising here, but we need to make a point after all.

 

You don't like the terrible instant coffee at the office, so you take your own in a Thermos. You've got a big document to produce by the end of the day, so you open PowerPoint and get cracking. Leaving a message for a colleague who was away from their desk when the phone rang, you jot down a memo on a Post-It note using a Sharpie. It's been a hard morning, so you grab your lunch from the Tupperware you bought from home. While enjoying your sandwich, you check Google and see what's going on. By 3pm, you've developed a bit of a headache from staring at the screen for too long, and reach for an Aspirin to take the edge off.

 

Seems fairly normal. But read the alternative version below where we have replaced the products with their alternative, non-branded appellation. As you'll see, it's not quite as catchy.

 

You don't like the terrible instant coffee at the office, you take your own in a resealable vacuum flask. You've got a big document to produce by the end of the day, so you open your presentation and graphics programme and get cracking. Leaving a message for a colleague who was away from their desk when the phone rang, you jot down a memo on a re-adherable stationery note using a pen-style permanent marker. It's been a hard morning, so you grab your lunch from the plastic food storage container - with lid - you bought from home. While enjoying your sandwich, you check your search engine provider and see what's going on. By 3pm, you've developed a bit of a headache from staring at the screen for too long, and reach for some blood thinning medication to take the edge off.

 

You get the picture. It's amazing just how many 'things' you refer to by their brand name, rather than their function, application or features. The names you're using are all owned and trademarked. And that, we suppose, is the dream for all brand managers and business owners - to make your name synonymous with your service, product or offering.

 

And just to clarify at this point, we're not actually a violent disturbance of the atmosphere usually involving rain, thunder and lightning, with winds between 55-63mph. We're fast, but not that fast.


At Storm12, we love helping clients with rebranding - it gives us a chance to flex our strategic and creative design muscles. Sometimes we even let the Web Team get involved in bringing 'new' brands to life online. It's a big decision to take, so if it's something you've had at the back of your mind for a while, why not let us take a look over your plans and lend our expertise.

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