21 Apr

The Name Game

Changing Your Company’s Name? Start Here

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

One of the services we offer as a comprehensive marketing and communications agency are discovery audits— a thorough process that is designed to help our clients best position themselves in their industry and differentiate them from their competitors.

Sometimes, as part of this process, we also conduct a name audit if the client is looking to update/change their name and/or branding. And due to the equity and history tied to most brands, making that change is significant and not something to be taken lightly. It’s also important to have a solid strategy in place to ensure that you won’t end up losing your audience members in the process.

However, there are times when a name/brand change makes sense. Recently many brands (and even some bands) have done just that— changed or updated their name/brand to help overcome stereotypes and become more politically correct and socially conscious.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when entertaining a name or brand change. For the following examples, I’ll use the fictitious “Animal Rescue, Shelter, and Adoption Support Services of Aberdeen Ridge.”

  • If a formal, longer name must be retained, consider incorporating a less formal, shorter version that can be used on second reference, such as:
    • “Aberdeen Animal Services” or “Animal Support at Aberdeen”
  • Taglines, like the example below, can also be used to help round out the messaging and clearly state
    • “Rescue. Shelter. Adopt. Providing all of the animal support services you need, in one place.”
  • If an entire name and/or brand change is not an option, you could also consider updating your logo to visually help communicate your products/offerings/services.
  • While minor, you could also consider using an ampersand instead of the word “and” to help tighten things up a bit as well.

So, if you are wondering where to start when embarking on a name audit, or really any kind of audit, research is your friend. Find out as much as you can from the people who matter most— key stakeholders, target audience members, employees, etc. Interviews work well, as do surveys, to gain precious insight into what people associate with brands and names, giving you a great place to start.