Should We Change the Name of our Company? And if so, When?

Should We Change the Name of our Company? And if so, When?

By David Placek, President and Founder, Lexicon Branding

“Should we change our brand name?” is one of the most common questions we are asked.

A corporate name change can have significant benefits. The new name can help to position the company for the future, deliver a more interesting story, bring new energy to the organization, attract new talent and new customers.

However, a corporate name change and the associated launch activities take both time and resources. In most cases, a name change represents a major investment.

To help our clients make the right decision, we always ask the following six questions:

1. How does a potential name change affect other important company initiatives?  This question helps to identify resources that will be available or, as important, not available.

2. Is the name change driven by the need to shed the company’s current image or is the change about creating new ones? Since design, advertising and messaging can be used to shed old images effectively, we want to make sure that a name change is needed.

3. What results from the name change are absolute?  What results would be ideal?  These two questions help us to calibrate just how realistic the expectations are.  A corporate name change can deliver significant results but there are limits.

4. What is the fundamental message that you want your customers, employees, and partners to take away after the new name is launched?  It is important that this message is delivered before the project is approved.

5. How will the company act differently after the launch?  A new name should change attitudes and actions. This is an important question that requires discussion and thoughtful answers. We look for divergent views because a new name can and should trigger multiple attributes.

6. How will a new name affect the company’s character? At Lexicon, we avoid the jargon that is often associated with corporate rebrands, expressions like brand vision and tone of voice. We like to focus on character because character is the basis of trust and interest for all new brands. We also ask a related question:  What is the difference between the current character of the organization and the future?

These questions are the basis for a more comprehensive planning approach, which includes the development of the all-important budget, creative, trademark clearance, PR and launch strategies. 

We walked our clients from ING Direct, Canada’s largest online bank, through this same series of questions. Today, they’re known as Tangerine.

They were doing things differently, and needed a new name to reflect this fresh take on banking and bold character. It was clear that for this engagement, we needed to break away from the traditional model for naming a bank. It was time to signal a new flavor of banking. The new name linsk to the strength and reliability of its former identity by leveraging its legacy orange color. We created Tangerine and since its launch in 2014, deposits have increased by over $3 billion. Now that’s fresh.

 Learn more about some of our corporate rebrands here.