“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.” So declares Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic story of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo’s family name is Montague — the hated rivals of her family. Romeo would be just as handsome, and Juliet would still love him.
But Romeo’s family name does matter because Juliet would never be able to marry a Montague. Your brand name matters too, and sometimes it’s wise to change that name if you want to get the girl — or the customer.
WHAT IF THEY DIDN’T CHANGE?
Imagine you needed some information quickly, so you decided to “BackRub” it. BackRub was the name of the search engine that became Google.
Imagine seeing a package sitting your front porch but instead of the smile logo, you see the words “Relentless.com” printed on the side — because that’s what the online giant’s brand name was before it was changed to Amazon.
Now imagine that iconic stark Apple logo in its original version —an image of the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree.
WHEN AND WHY SHOULD YOU CHANGE?
A strong and solid brand is important, but the multiple platforms on which businesses operate today sometimes require a change. Hanover Research reports “…over time, the vast majority of companies will need to update its brand to reflect shifts in the market.”
Most marketing experts agree on the best reasons to change a brand name or logo.
- You need a brand name or image that better describes or reflects your offerings
- You want to enter a new market or have changed what you offer
- You want your brand to stand out
- Your existing brand name is outdated
- Your existing brand name is connected to something negative
Remember there is a considerable cost to most brand name changes, but there could also be considerable benefits. It’s important to be as confident as possible in your change.
STRATEGY — Consider the change as it relates to the market — will the new brand name and logo be relevant and attractive up to five years down the road? Is the move into new markets a plan that has been well-researched? How much business can it generate?
GET INPUT — Before making the decision to change a brand, it is vital to understand customer sentiment. Scott Cook, the co-founder of Intuit, is often credited with saying, “A brand is not what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other.” Use focus groups and surveys before you launch to be comfortable the customer will view the brand name as positively as you.
TELL THE STORY — When you roll out the new name, explain why. Explain how it better reflects your customer’s preferences and your offerings.
BACKTRACKING — It’s never easy to admit you made a mistake or backtrack but sometimes you must. In 2011, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings decided to split Netflix into two companies. Qwikster would rent DVDs and Netflix would be the streaming service. Thousands of Netflix customers were very upset. Netflix backtracked without much long-term harm.
NO GUARANTEE There’s no guarantee a rebrand will increase business. However, most experts agree when a rebrand is executed with sound strategy and input, it will be a positive move.
Rebranding was not an option for Romeo and Juliet, but done right, it could make your business a classic story of success. ##