A name change could give your company a new image, but how far can this help with the rest?

Businesses increasingly incorporate their names into their digital identities, business cards, and social media accounts. While changing a company’s name has a long history, it has become more prevalent in recent years. Why? It’s become a way to stand out from competitors, create awareness for a new product or service, or simply give a company a new identity.

Companies choose their names carefully. Because words become synonymous with meaning. They evoke certain feelings. Just look at the word Brexit. It invokes a multitude of emotions and opinions instantly. Company names are no different. Some company names bring intense pride, while many are synonymous with negativity. And that’s thanks to the actions that the company has made. So can changing your name as a company really wipe the slate clean and clear you of past sins?

What’s In A Name?

Just like with ourselves, names mean a lot. They’re part of us and our personalities. Companies are no different.

The name of a company is more than just a catchy name or a catchy acronym. It’s the identity that people associate with your business and this can have a lasting impression. The name tells people what you do, who you do it for, and how customers will experience it. The name can also help potential customers determine whether it’s the right company to do business with.

The name is often the easiest and cheapest way for a business to stand out from competitors. It’s no wonder then that companies are becoming more willing to change their names in an effort to gain a competitive advantage.

A name is part of the overriding brand for any company or business. It reflects who you are and what you do. And names can become household with time and a catchy slogan. Just look at Nike with their ‘Just Do It’ motto. There are very few people in the world that don’t know where that phrase comes from. But if a company has a bad reputation, its name is synonymous with negativity.

Companies Who Changed It Up (The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly)

When a business changes its name, it usually comes down to a few reasons. The first is that you want to increase your brand recognition. For example, Yahoo was initially known as Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. That’s one hell of a mouth full. So their name change was wholly down to the fact that Yahoo is easier and snappier to remember. Your name, however, does not matter if your products or services aren’t good for customers.

More recently, Facebook underwent a complete rebrand. And changing their name was part of that. Now wanting to be known as Meta, the company hopes to shake off the never-ending list of controversy surrounding them. The move was classic. The company makes a public boo-boo. They lose public favour because of this. So they rebrand and rename themselves. BP did something similar. Starting off as British Petroleum, they’re now known as BP with the slogan, ‘Beyond Petroleum.’ All of this was a last-ditch attempt to appear more environmentally friendly

Another common reason for changing a company’s name is simply because it’s time for a change. The reasons for this may be a new owner who wants to brand the business with a new image, or it may be because the company has outgrown its current name. Hermes is an excellent example of this as they’ve recently changed their name to Evri. This signals to their customer base that they’re entering a new era.

Do Name Changes Really Work?

Changing a name doesn’t really change your customers’ attitudes towards your business when it comes down to it. The change can help companies gain a few more customers, but it doesn’t do much to help find new customers who don’t know your name.

However, changing a name does have a lasting impact on a company’s success. Without a doubt, it can be a great way to gain a competitive advantage. With that said, do we really forget everything negative the company did beforehand? True, name changes are effective when the company wants to signal something new. A new service, attitude, or end goal. But if you’ve spent the last few years in the public eye for messing up, a name change won’t do much good. Especially when the people involved in the issues are still front and centre during the rebrand.

Does A Change Of Name Really Mean A Change Of Heart?

It’s easy to assume that when a company changes its name, it’s because the business owners had a change of heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A name change can be an effective way to gain a competitive advantage. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the company has changed its business model or practices to give better service to its customers.

There’s no hard rule on why companies change their names, especially compared to smaller companies. Some companies may just want to take advantage of a name change law and attract more attention than they might otherwise get. There’s no way to tell why a company has changed its name and this is something that should be considered carefully before going ahead.

The Bottom Line

The real issue is whether a name change works or not. Can we really forget and give a problematic company another chance? Especially if they don’t back it up with actions. Are these all just symptoms of a bigger problem? Name changes made to escape the cloud of negativity are often done just to continue capitalising on us, the customer. More often than not, companies just want to make more money. So they change it up to appear different without any fundamental changes being made.

Is it just a symptom of the problems of Capitalism? Where not much else matters other than money. It’s all about selling a commodity, no matter the cost. And companies who do care don’t get the funding or exposure. Because nothing makes you more money than taking advantage of others.