Naming Strategy

Can a Company Change Its Name?

By January 21, 2020 May 25th, 2020 No Comments

Can a company change its name? Of course. Should a company change its name? Let’s just say it’s not something you should do on a whim.

There can be crucial advantages to making a name change. But the process of changing a company name and rebuilding around it can be a major headache, and you have to decide if yours has more to lose or gain by taking the big leap.

Why Changing Your Name Is a Big Deal

Building a brand takes an investment of effort, time, and money. Over the course of even just a few years, a company name accumulates audience awareness and preference. Changing it could mean starting from scratch in the brand equity department.

Most companies undergo rebranding at some point; it’s part of surviving in a swiftly evolving marketplace. A website redesign or an updated logo can be refreshing to your target. And your audience won’t find it jarring unless it’s too drastic a change or happens to be an eyesore. But a name change doesn’t fall into the same category as a minor rebrand because it requires an entire reintroduction to your audience and partners.

There are also costs associated with making the change, from legally staking a claim to the new name to dedicating resources to its launch in order to ensure its success.

If you do decide to take the plunge, it needs to be a highly strategic and informed decision. Don’t change your company name simply because it’s a few decades old and your board members think it’s a bit stale. Do it because it’s undoubtedly the best move for your business.

Compelling Reasons to Change Your Company Name

A reinvention can be a tactical, logical move for your company. Here are a few reasons you might want to go ahead and make a bold renaming move:

  • Legal issues. The trademarking process is complex, and not all companies have a handle on the consequences of the name they’ve chosen until they start using it. If you are facing challenges such as trademark infringement or unexpected likelihood of confusion, that’s a valid reason to explore other options. Even if legal challenges aren’t a factor, you don’t want to be living in another company’s shadow due to the similarity of your names, and you don’t want to have to out-spend your competitors just to distinguish yourself.
  • Reputation recovery. Just like people, companies make mistakes. Sometimes the only way to progress and continue to grow after a public misstep or failure is to rebuild your brand from the ground up. You want to choose a name that demonstrates the different approach you’re taking to business, and one that establishes trust with your audience.
  • Growth and expansion. If your company is expanding, venturing into new products or services, completely changing its focus, or all of the above, a name change can help steer it smoothly in the new direction. Changing your business approach doesn’t always require a name change — Southwest Airlines, for example, has grown far beyond its initial mission of serving the Southwest United States, but the name still works. However, what works for one company may not necessarily work for another, and major growth or expansion is often a legitimate cause for a company name change.

How Can NameStormers Help a Company Change Its Name?

If you’ve thought through the implications of changing your company name and decided it’s the right approach, allow us to be of assistance. Our seven-step process involves getting to know you as a client and developing a deep understanding of why the current name isn’t cutting it. We start NameStorming with your company’s identity and ambitions in mind. We then put the viable candidates from our ideating phase through an extensive preliminary trademark screening, using tools that trademark lawyers use. Additionally, we run a web screening and linguistic viability screening in order to narrow down the list to only those that meet our lofty expectations. Finally, we present you with our top contenders. If you don’t fall in love with our list, we’ll repeat the process as many times as it takes.

Whatever the reason for your name change, we can help provide you with fresh enthusiasm and confidence for the future of your company. Get in touch with us today.


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