Renaming When Rebranding

Written by Shanna Dennis, Brand Strategist

wooden letters on table enticity renaming rebranding

Renaming To Sound Better

When starting a business, one of the first things that must be done is deciding on a name for it! As time goes by, you may discover that people have a hard time spelling or remembering it! A great brand name is one that is easily understood and remembered. It may be worth it to change the company name to something short, catchy, and memorable. 

An example of this is Subway. Originally called Pete’s Super Submarines, they found the name was too long. They shortened it to Pete’s Submarines, then they further shortened it to Pete’s Subs. As the food chain expanded and began spreading across the country, they changed the name to a much more memorable one. “Subway” is short, easy to remember, and stands out from the rest!

 

Expansion

Some brands grow so large that they need to consider renaming in order to remain relevant. This often means removing geographic references in the current name. This could be based on language, culture, pronunciation, or words that may sound strange or bad when translated.

Sony is a great example of this. The brand started out as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. In English, this can be translated to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. As you can imagine, this business name would have some difficulty being understood outside of Japan. After renaming to Sony, their name was easier for those speaking other languages to identify and pronounce.

 

Better Marketing

Some companies develop a product that is extremely successful and well-known. In these cases, it can just make sense for the whole company to adopt the name of the product. This goes for nicknames as well. Companies might have a long official name, but a short nickname I more often used. It might be time to think about renaming in these cases as well. It’s important to check the availability of domain names and social media account names — that could factor into the decision.

Did you know that Crayola used to be called Binney & Smith Company? Their wax crayons were sold under the brand name Crayola. It wasn’t until 2007 that they reorganized as Crayola LLC to reflect their number one brand.

 

Renaming to escape a bad reputation

We hope this isn’t the case for you, but if it is, be comforted that you are not the first. When a company experiences a legal or financial issue, it affects the overall brand. Some companies go through a time of bad publicity, and the brand can become damaged irreversibly. The first step is to solve whatever issues have arisen to cause the company’s bad reputation. Then, they can move forward, renaming and rebranding to stick to new strategies and values that will keep the company in good standing.

Philip Morris Companies, Inc. used to be a huge name in American business. They were most well known for their sales of cigarettes and tobacco. When health concerns arose around the dangers of smoking, the company decided that renaming was the best course of action. They are now known as Altria.

 

So many more reasons…

This article skims the surface and mentions some of the more common reasons, however, there are so many other reasons why a rename could be the best strategic move for the future of your company. The best place to start is to speak with a Brand Strategist. They have insights into trends and understand brand architecture which will help you to avoid making another common naming mistake.

Shanna Dennis

Brand Strategist

We are a strategic brand agency located in Barrie and Toronto Ontario, focusing on spreading our passion for branding within Toronto and the GTA. We love working with small to medium sized businesses looking to brand or re-brand their company. We also love working with entrepreneurs who are passionately shaping our economy with their innovative visions for our future. If you are an entrepreneur, a business owner, or a marketing director, we’d love to work with you on your brand strategy and discover ways to heighten your consumer’s experience. Our Discovery Session and our Define Before Design® strategic brand process has been developed for you.

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