Don't Change Your Brand Name — Unless You Really Have To – Entrepreneur


Signing out of account, Standby…
Considering changing a company or product name? Stop. Before you jump to conclusions, use this framework to conduct a name assessment and think through your options carefully.
Maybe it’s a trend, maybe it’s a coincidence, but lately I’ve seen an uptick in companies reaching out to me for “name assessments.” In each case — based on a hunch or a few too many snide comments from customers — the client was seeking an informed opinion on whether or not it was time to change their company name. If you’ve ever wondered whether a company or needs to change, this article provides some of the basic considerations I’ve shared with my clients and an overview of my approach assessing a name.
To provide a recommendation to my clients, I pore through any existing research, conduct some of my own, and look at how a name stacks up against its competitors’. On one recent project, I recommended the client keep their current name. They did. On another, I recommended a slight tweak to the company name, but the client decided against the change. In other words, despite legitimate concerns around both of these company names, neither of them wound up changing. And, big picture, that’s a good thing; names should almost never change.
When clients ask about changing a name (or a , for that matter), I always remind them that their default position should be to avoid change. Both long-standing marketing wisdom and recent marketing science point to the importance of consistency in building strong . In their 1981 classic, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote, “More than anything else, positioning requires consistency. You must keep at it year after year.” And more recently, Dr. Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute advised, “When assets have been embedded for a while, it is tempting to tinker with them. Don’t. … Fight the natural urge … to change your Distinctive Assets.” (Building Distinctive Brand Assets)
Related: When Is It Time to Rebrand? Lessons From Meta, Block and More
Don’t change a long-standing company or product name simply because you’ve grown tired of it or a handful of customers have pointed out its flaws. Name changes come with many costs — time, money, lost — and risks. And there is no perfect . (Upon hearing “,” founder Phil Knight said, “I guess that’s the best of the bunch. Maybe it’ll grow on us.”) Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, work to build awareness, associations, and preference around the existing name.
Whether a brand name works depends on context, so the first step in evaluating a name is learning about the underlying company or product, the audience(s) for the name, and the competitive landscape. You may want to start by conducting some interviews, reviewing marketing or strategy materials, and checking competitors’ websites.
Rooted in an understanding of the context, brand names should be assessed in each of three categories of qualities: strategic, creative, and technical:
To conduct the assessment, assign the name “grades” in each of these categories of qualities. The grades should be informed by your understanding of the context, including competitor names and objectives for the brand name. Your work may highlight the name’s weaknesses, but don’t jump to the conclusion that a change is necessary. Many brands have succeeded despite seemingly problematic names, including Google (too cute to be taken seriously), Netflix (no longer descriptive of everything the company does), Nike (unclear pronunciation), Kodak (meaningless), and Diesel (negative connotations).
Related: When to Consider a Rebrand (and How to Do It Right)
Of course, there are situations in which a name change is recommended, or even necessary. Here are six situations in which a name change may be required:
Related: More Than Changing Racist Names, Brands Must Create New Social Footprints
Name changes, whether at the company or product level, need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Assessments should be informed by the brand’s context, and the default position should always be to avoid change. If you’re debating the pros and cons of changing a brand name — maybe for one of the reasons listed above — the steps and framework above will help you make the right call.
This Founder Wanted to Infuse a Marshmallow With Chocolate, for a Better S’More. He Had No Idea How Hard That Would Be.
Why Your Franchise Depends on Strong Unit Economics, and 5 Ways to Strengthen Them
3 Reasons Espresso Could Be Your Shortcut to Productivity (It Works for Elon Musk)
Lessons I Learned After Everything Went Wrong in My Business
How This First-Time Author Turned His Coaching Experience Into a No. 1 Bestseller for Kids
The Future of Startups Lives Outside of Silicon Valley: Here’s Why
The CEO of GoDaddy’s Secret to Creating a Culture of Experimentation
Amanda Breen
Susan Lang
John Kitchens
Subscribe to our Newsletter
The latest news, articles, and resources sent to your inbox.
I understand that the data I am submitting will be used to provide me with the above-described products and/or services and communications in connection therewith.
Read our privacy policy for more information.
Copyright © 2022 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Entrepreneur® and its related marks are registered trademarks of Entrepreneur Media Inc.
Successfully copied link



Related posts

Prep football: Cabell Midland playing for playoff positioning vs. Riverside - Charleston Gazette-Mail

Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 43F. Winds light and variable..
Read more

CM: Heat maps demonstrate De Ketelaere positioning problem Pioli must solve - Sempre Milan

A report has highlighted some concerns about Charles De Ketelaere’s role at AC Milan and whether…
Read more

Positioning Equipment for Radiotherapy Market Recent Trends and Growth 2022-2028 | CIVCO Radiotherapy, Elekta AB - Digital Journal

Hi, what are you looking for?ByPublishedPositioning equipment for radiotherapy is an important…
Read more

Sign up for The Pro People Community's Daily Digest and get the best of Industry updates, tailored for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *