Rebautizing the brand: A new corporate name

The model of consumer society inherited from the Industrial Revolution has given way to the 2.0 model and in the era of social networks, the real competition in the market occurs between the different reputations of companies, not between brands of products, as usual. In all areas the virtual gains ground to the real.

In this change of scenery, it is a key factor for companies to notice the potential of their corporate names. In the current market, companies compete on the basis of intangible factors and the reputation of the corporation is the most relevant and often the most ignored value. And it is so important because the consumer is placing his trust in the company that exists behind the brand. A negative experience with a Mégane or a Clio does not erode these brands but the name Renault, the corporate banner that covers these denominations.

It is, therefore, convenient to identify the advantages of corporate branding. First, the correct management of the name of the company inspires and guides the different audiences (employees, shareholders, partners, suppliers and customers), providing a long-term strategic vision for the growth of the company. On the other hand, it allows to capitalize all the commercial actions of the company, since the name acts as an element of cohesion of the brand. Third, the existence of a strong corporate brand enables the introduction of new services and category extensions more quickly and with less cost. And all this affects the improvement and increase of the company’s financial value.

The corporate brands of tomorrow will be different from today’s because a series of change factors are taking place that force the company to analyze and manage the brand better, through cooperation and alliances, which favor the implementation of strategies for cobranding, which will increase the importance of the brand as a factor of credibility and loyalty.

On the other hand, the consumer is increasingly sophisticated, demanding and enlightened. He has a deep knowledge of advertising mechanisms and has completely lost the ingenuity and inexperience that characterized him in the past. Consume and generate more information than ever and trust companies that are committed to their environment and, in addition to making money, are involved in projects that revert to the common good. But he is also increasingly skeptical and more cautious, so to earn their trust, companies must act with sincerity and be honest about their promises. All this leads to the construction of relations of loyalty between consumers and certain corporate brands, a trend that is observed in sectors as diverse as financial, energy, automotive or biopharmaceutical,

In my opinion, the key factor behind all this process is the substance that lies encapsulated in the name. When a company has a clear vision of its role in society, a well-defined sense of its mission and a clear and well-conveyed personality is when it is placed ahead of those who do not understand the importance of creating and managing a name. It is, therefore, crucial to create and maintain positive and differentiated associations in the minds of the different public

As a general principle, any change in the corporate name obeys a need to modify the perceptions of a company and improve relations with their respective public. It is an exceptional occasion to generate momentum, focusing internal and external attention on corporate objectives, to reach new audiences, to improve notoriety, gain distinctiveness and increase brand awareness.

A change of name always represents a great risk that must be assumed when, for some reason (a merger of companies, an acquisition process, a name that limits the extension to new markets or new activities due to the presence of negative or undesirable connotations, the appearance of irresolvable legal problems, the dragging of a bad reputation, etc.), the brand under which the company is acting does not allow a future development under optimum conditions.

Changing the brand is not just a name change, although this is probably the most visible and also the most risky aspect. In the client’s mind, a name is linked to a set of positive associations, a desirable experience and personal preferences. So a new name represents a new entity, with a new identity that must be implemented and made known.

When faced with this situation, it is convenient to turn it around and interpret the change not as a problem but as an opportunity, as the perfect opportunity to rethink and redefine the brand, to correct its weaknesses and strengthen its strengths, a unique opportunity to broaden the market and win new consumers and greater notoriety thanks to the attention generated by a new brand.

Rebaptizing a company usually generates strong opposition that can come from different fronts: consumers, suppliers and, of course, internal hostilities can not be underestimated. From the client’s point of view, a change of name is not a superficial act because it completely affects the identity of the company and can generate a perception that the relationship established between the company and the consumer has varied or even it has ceased to exist.

The elements of internal resistance are usually habitual and crucial in a process of these characteristics. Name changes must go through the consensus of people who are happily married to the brand of a lifetime. In my experience of more than fifteen years creating brands, the most difficult and controversial projects have been corporate renaming, in which the commitment of all those responsible must be total, something that in practice is not always achieved, and that can end by dynamiting the process.

A change of name requires the combined effort of all the departments of the company: from the general direction to the marketing department, through the commercial and logistics team. Without this agreement it is impossible for the different levels involved to move in the same direction, so the renaming process can become a real nightmare.

Reaching the desired end successfully through the various creative, linguistic, cultural and legal obstacles that will invariably be found along the way is easier in the hands of authentic professionals to lead the change.

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