Would Your B2B Brand By Any Other Name Be Better Off?

A prospective B2B client is considering a name change for their business. There are many factors to consider, and I was asked by the CMO to share any immediate ideas I had on the subject.

I was happy to comply and thought I’’d share my thoughts with you too. Some of these ideas apply as much to a new product name or business unit branding as they do to a company name.

a roseWhat’’s In A Name?

One of the most distinctive elements of your brand is your name. It is only part of your story but it may be the most important. Regardless of what we’re taught, people do judge books by their covers and a company by their name.

When does it make sense to change names?

Changing your company’’s name makes sense if your business has outgrown its original business model.

Does your current name help position you in the marketplace? Does it convey the culture of your company? Does it convey leadership and innovation in your industry? If the answer to any of these three questions is no, a name change may be a good idea.

How well does your name stand out?

In today’’s marketplace, with solutions for any business need just a click away, how you distinguish your brand online is a critical factor in the ongoing success of your business. Focus as much on making it easy for your customers and prospects to find you, as you do on finding them.

The name of your company is your ultimate keyword. If it is too easily confused with other businesses, either in your industry or not, you have a disadvantage a name change could address.

Do you have new things to say to your customers and prospects?

A name change can be a catalyst for introducing a more dynamic business model. If it’’s done with your marketplace in mind and not simply for the novelty factor, a new name can help your customers and prospects see your business in a new light.

Your brand name should mirror the primary focus of your business’ activity. Consider a new name if what you do has changed substantially so that a new name would better reflect that activity.

Some examples of successful name changes:

Galvin ManufacturingXerox
Relational SoftwareOracle
Arthur AndersenAccenture
VauleJet AirlinesAirtran
Philip MorrisAltria
Quantum Computer Services
America Online
KPMG ConsultingBearing Point
TMP Worldwide&nbspMonster Worldwide

Can the current name be confused with other businesses?

If a google search for your company name yields many results that create potential confusion, then you are working with a disadvantage. And it may get worse before it gets better depending on how well you have your website (and URL) positioned at the center of your marketing efforts. This problem extends into social media as well. If you do not have a strategy to support your brand name and positioning with compelling content that tells your story and sets you apart from others with similar names, then you can be lost in a sea of confusion.

Prior to responding to my prospect’s request, I came across this article by Dave Smith from Inc. Magazine. Dave points out five secret ingredients of a great company name: Five Characteristics of Great Company Names

1) Does It Stick?

2) Short Is Sweet

3) Be Functional

4) Tell A Story

5) Invent A New Language


What does your company’s name say about you?

I’’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks!