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May 30, 2007

Brand Naming: A Naming Company's Best Friend

Alex Beam has a great column up in entitled "It's a re-brand new world" that takes a hard look at the prodigious amount of renaming that's going on lately.

He looks at the very intelligent rebranding of Boston University as "Boston's University," a nice step up from "the third great University on the Charles."

cingular_ATT.png He then takes a swipe at the Cingular/AT&T , and goes on to to say: "Boston Scientific just rebranded its troubled Guidant brand of heart devices out of existence. Healthone Care System has rebranded itself as Atrius Health because of a name conflict with a Denver hospital network. Citigroup, Delta Air Lines, and even the Iraq war are all said to be in various stages of rebranding."

And while renaming and repositioning cemeteries, cities, and, indeed, countries (he has fun with Canada's new slogan "," which I think is pretty good) may seem odd to the casual observer, we do it because naming matters. Slogans matter and even mascots matter.

I'd love to see a debate between Seth Godin and Mr. Beam. Seth just a great piece entitled "Naming: Of Renamed Brands and Previous Names." Seth says that in general, use an existing name with a great deal of recognition (think AT&T and Cingular), but change your product name or company name only grudgingly for three reasons:

  • A merger makes is a necessity
  • You need to simplify your brand architecture
  • Your current name has too much negative baggage.

Once you implement the change however, make a clean break with the old name and market the new name aggressively.

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Posted by Diane Prange at May 30, 2007 10:39 AM
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