Name changes always such a hard thing to manage. There are the external considerations to weigh – customers/clients perceptions, the community’s perception, and what your competition is doing. And there are internal considerations to weigh – what message will the name of the business send internally, and how it affects the staff?
The piece that you have to START with though, before you choose to rename a business is to check in with your motivations for WHY you want to rename the business.
- Was there a significant change that recently took place? Merger, Spinoff, Layoff, or Bankruptcy?
- Do you have BAD press and/or a BAD reputation?
- Is a Competitor simply too close to your name?
- Do you have multiple divisions that you want to try to unify?
Be honest and really check in on the WHY.
Next, consider what kind of monetary and time resources you have to lend to the project in the short, mid, and long-term. Do you have sufficient time, staffing, and budget to share with the world your new business name? Or are you limited on time and money? Name changes aren’t cheap — particularly not big changes. You’re going to have to commit a marketing budget to share with your community and stakeholders WHY you made the change. What your new VISION is, and how you new name will help you accomplish that. This is more than just changing your logo — there is a story that needs to be told, and it’s incumbent upon you to tell it, thoroughly, and well — which usually means television and radio campaigns, backed up with in-person appearances at all the local community and civic organizations.
Consider what the name change would mean to your internal staff. These folks are the backbone of your business and a wrong step here can be more than troublesome, it can be devastating. In this realm, pay particular attention to the short, mid, and long-term implications of a name change. If you’re making a change, is it really something that can be gotten behind, can it create more/new energy? If you’re doing a name change to deal with BAD press or reputations — will your staff be helpful in eliminating that concern going forward, or will it be a fight.
Finally, be honest about the motivation you bring to the table. If you’re wanting a name change from an egoic standpoint – trying to put your stamp on the business, and it not be SIGNIFICANTLY served by making the change, be brave enough to NOT change the name. There are times, places, and reasons it makes sense to change a business name — but it’s rare.
Bottom line, there is no easy answer here — just a difficult choice. My best recommendation is to make the best decision you can to serve the short, mid, and long-term needs of the business. Don’t make a decision exclusively for the long-term at the expense of the short or mid-term. Because without those, you wont have a business in the long-term. And don’t make a decision solely based on the short-mid term, because you need this business to function in the long-term. You have to make the very best decision possible for the business.
If you’re looking for support, I can help you mitigate whatever needs to be mitigated based upon that decision in order to allow your business to thrive in the short, medium, and long-term.