What’s In A Brand Name? Lessons Learned From 5 Brands Who Made A Change

A strategically selected brand name can convey immediate and implicit value. It can command attention and communicate meaning. Though a brand is comprised of many elements, from the brand promise and brand mission to the brand voice and brand personality, the brand name instantly triggers thoughts of all of these components in the mind of a customer. Alongside the logo, the brand name is the single most recognizable element of a brand’s identity, and it can make or break your brand recognition.

 

Branding is NOT marketing or design but the bedrock strategy supporting and directing your whole business so your brand name creation takes it’s brief from the strategy underpinning your brand.

 

Simply put, your brand name is no small matter. So what happens when the name you’ve chosen is no longer serving your business goals or helping you connect with your audience? It might be time for a change. Here, we’ll examine five brands that changed their names to accomplish diverse objectives and deconstruct what can be learned from each example.

 

 

1. Brand Name LANDESK to Ivanti

 

LANDESK was founded more than 25 years ago as an IT systems management provider. Since its inception, the company has acquired several other brands with various service offerings, from network security to supply chain management. They’ve also launched a number of new products like a support ticketing manager and various analytics tools, all designed to help businesses operate more efficiently.

 

Though the company has worked hard to stay on the cutting edge of information technology, its original name–LANDESK–felt neither modern nor innovative in recent years. For starters, the name is the combination of the words LAN and desk, two terms that feel antiquated in an increasingly mobile world. Additionally, many customers had trouble separating the company–now a major technology solutions provider–from its original, single product, the LANDESK management suite.

 

Brand Name

Image via ncsi.us

 

When Steve Morton took the helm as CMO in 2013, he knew a name change was in order to fully usher the company into the digital era. By the start of 2017 the name change to Ivanti was complete. As Morton explained to Forbes, it was less about the name itself than about everything the name stands for[1].

 

By evolving not just the name but the brand identity it represents, Ivanti has been able to ensure it’s serving all segments of its customer base (management, security, supply chain, et. al.) while conveying assurance that the brand is at the forefront of evolving technologies for business.

 

Watch below as Ivanti CEO Steve Daly explains how the brand mission has evolved alongside the technology the company provides.

 

 

On the fence about a potential name change for your brand? A brand audit will help determine if your name is negatively impacting your brand recognition or company profits. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like us to give your brand and health check for you. Brand audit outcomes determine areas of weakness and strength together with opportunities for innovation and growth — and the degree of change if needed. 

 

 

Alternatively, if you prefer to undertake the brand auditing process yourself, our Auditing Analysis Accelerator™ is the programme for you. It walks you through, step-by-step how to audit your brand, how to evaluate the level of brand awareness among your target audience and identify opportunities to improve the overall strength of your brand — which may include a name change.

 

Related: Brand Naming, Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation

 

2. Brand Name Sovereign Bank to Santander

 

In 2008, US-based Sovereign Bank was acquired by Spanish banking giant Santander, which is a household name in much of Europe. Though Sovereign originally opted to retain its name, the institution met with significant struggles during the Great Recession and faced subsequent challenges with its public image. In an effort to move away from its damaged reputation and embrace the global brand recognition enjoyed by its parent company, Sovereign eventually opted to adopt the Santander brand name and incorporate it into all of its brand collateral [2].

 

Brand Name

Image via Wikipedia

Brand Name

Image via Wikipedia

 

In the video below, Santander CMO Kathy Klingler describes the process of introducing the Santander brand name to the US market. As she explains, the transition had to be conducted with great care so as not to confuse or alienate existing Sovereign bank customers–a critical consideration when undergoing a brand name change.

 

 

As demonstrated by Santander, a carefully planned and executed name change can be an effective way to move into a new market (international versus US-centric) and evolve as a company (shedding negative associations from the financial crisis).

 

If you’re considering a name change and you’d like professional branding input or want access to the whys, whats and hows, and all the other critical factors in the brand strategy process behind a name change then get in touch? Alternatively book one of our transformational workshops, brand building intensives or masterclasses.

The Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind empowers you to build your brand strategy, raise the visibility of your brand, increase sales, reduce customer acquisition costs and position your brand as the №1 choice for your customers.

 

Persona Brand Building Blueprint Workshop

Build your standout brand at the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind with Lorraine Carter

 

3. Brand Name Sound of Music to Best Buy

 

Best Buy is known the world over as the place to go if you need a computer, cell phone or television. But did you know the retailer originally started out as a mom and pop hi-fi stereo store? The brand, originally named Sound of Music, got its start in Minnesota in the 1960’s and soon expanded to multiple locations throughout the state. Even as its storefronts spread, though, the brand struggled to expand its customer base beyond the core buyer group of 15- to 18-year-old males.

 

Brand Name

Image via Best Buy

 

When a tornado destroyed Sound of Music’s biggest store in 1981, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, providing key insights on how to widen the customer base.

 

Brand Name

Sound of Music’s “Tornado Sale” – Image via BestBuy.com

 

In a massive post-tornado clearance sale, founder Richard Schulze learned that his customers craved three things: lower prices, more products to choose from, and a “superstore” shopping experience. This feedback led to a dramatic product expansion, new store model and shift in brand name to accompany the changes, from Sound of Music to Best Buy Superstores.

 

The video below shares more details about the transition (watch starting from 1:13)

 

 

If your goal is to reach a larger customer base, like Best Buy in the 1980’s, adjusting your core product offering or service model is one way to do it. A brand name change is a practical way to signal this shift in the minds of customers.

 

Related: Is It Time For A Rebrand? 4 Things To Consider Before Making The Change

 

4. Brand Name 6SensorLabs to Nima

 

In 2013, startup 6SensorLabs announced plans for an innovative sensor device with the ability to instantly identify gluten in food. Hailed as a godsend among food allergy sufferers, the debut sensor product, Nima, was a home run with customers. In the years that followed Nima’s release, the company went on to introduce a suite of related food allergy products like test kits, capsules and an app. Even so, most customers knew the brand best by the name of the debut product, Nima, and referred to the company as such instead of 6SensorLabs.

Related: Brand Hierarchy Fundamentals for Multiple Brands To Avoid Confused Customers or Stagnant Sales

 

The company’s founders were faced with a choice: hold onto their lesser-known name and battle brand confusion for years to come, or embrace the new name and the brand recognition that came with it from customers. The founders opted for the latter and officially changed the brand name to Nima in 20163.

 

Brand Name

Image via FinSMEs.com

 

 

Brand Name

Image via nimasensor.com

 

Nima co-founder Shireen Yates explained to Entrepreneur that the name change not only eliminated confusion but helped to cement a selection of key brand values.

 

“Nima means fair and equitable [in Persian],” Yates said. “It really stands for everything that we’re doing in regards to food transparency, giving everyone a chance of enjoying their meal and having that peace of mind.”

 

Thus, going with Nima for the brand name made sense in the greater brand strategy.

 

Related: Brand Renaming, Name and Tagline Change Considerations

 

Branding is about much more than a name; it’s the feeling, personality and promise associated with a company in the hearts and minds of customers. When your brand name is out of sync with this customer perception, as was the case with the name 6SensorLabs, a name change can be an effective tactic to bring things into alignment.

 

 

Your brand name is a recognition device used to convey a clear and consistent identity to customers. Don’t leave it up to chance! Brand name origination is part of our core expertise. To learn more about our brand naming services, get in touch at T: +353 1 8322724 or by clicking here. We’d love to talk with you!

 

5. Brand Name Huffington Post to HuffPost

 

When news broke of founder Arianna Huffington’s departure from her namesake news outlet in 2016, there was much speculation about the future of The Huffington Post. Would there be panic among investors? Would the shake-up add to the existing turmoil within the editorial department? For much of 2016, there remained a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the platform.

 

Then, in 2017, the company announced its first major branding move since Huffington’s exit: a new name and reimagined website, which represented a major shift in the brand’s look and feel4.

 

 

For HuffPost, the name change was meant to serve as a turning point. It not only represented the separation from Arianna Huffington, but a step forward from some of the issues that had plagued the brand in the past, like the struggle to become profitable.

 

A leadership change is one of the most common reasons for a change in brand name or a complete rebrand. It can also be used to signal other shifts, like a change in ownership, target market, brand direction and more. For HuffPost the timing of the new look and feel, website and logo was a natural time to make a brand name change, as well.

 

Brand Name

Image via MashableUK © HuffPost

Related: Rebrand or Refresh? That is the Question

 

We’ve talked about many of the benefits brands can gain from making a name change, but it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s one that should be considered as a critical piece of your overall brand strategy and only executed only after conducting a brand audit.

 

To determine if your brand name (or any other pieces of your brand identity) are holding you back from growing your business, consider getting a professional brand audit health check. If the findings from your brand audit determine a name change will enable you to achieve your specific business objectives and brand goals, aligned with your business plan, then a name change is in order.

 

 

If you prefer the DIY route check out the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™ Programme. It’s a step-by-step process taking you through the key elements of a typical brand audit that will teach you how to audit the health of your brand and identify points of weakness and strength together with opportunities for innovation and growth. The outputs then determine your next best step to improve your bottom line.

 

Related: Brand Audits – How to Use One to Grow Your Profits

 

Questions To Consider:

  1. What objectives were you hoping to achieve when your first selected your brand name? Have those objectives changed since then? If so, does your brand name serve your new objectives?
  2. Who are your target audiences? Is your brand name relevant for all of them, or does it alienate certain segments?
  3. Is your brand name recognizable? Do your customers know and remember it? Is there another word or name they more commonly associated with your brand?
  4. What, if any, shifts in leadership, business structure, brand mission, brand personality or brand identity have taken place since you chose your brand name? Are any of them out of alignment with the original name?

 

If you’re considering a name change and you’d like professional branding input or want access to the whys, whats and hows, and all the other critical factors in the brand strategy process behind a name change then get in touch? Alternatively book one of our transformational workshops, brand building intensives or masterclasses.

The Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind empowers you to build your brand strategy, raise the visibility of your brand, increase sales, reduce customer acquisition costs and position your brand as the №1 choice for your customers.

It also provides you with the strategic direction and creative briefs for brand naming, marketing and design so you get an effective return on your investment because its the bedrock strategy underpinning your whole business.

 

Persona Brand Building Blueprint Workshop

Build your standout brand at the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind with Lorraine Carter

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnellett/2017/05/16/when-your-company-name-no-longer-applies-change-it/#779e96ed5c85
  2. http://archive.boston.com/business/articles/2011/09/28/sovereign_changes_its_name_to_santander/
  3. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276115
  4. http://mashable.com/2017/04/25/huffpost-redesign/#iLVGD6_BHOqK