Company Naming: March 2011 Archives

Red Sox Owners Change Corporate Name

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BostonRedSox.pngThe company that owns the Red Sox has changed its name from New England Sports Ventures to the (much better) name of its marketing arm: Fenway Sports Group.

Ironically, this name is meant to better reflect the company's extensions
into NASCAR and British football (soccer), as the principle investors control Roush Fenway auto racing team and Liverpool FC, the British football club.

Created in 2001, the Fenway Sports Group also happens to own two of the best known sports venues in the world: Fenway Park and Anfield Stadium in the UK. The sports marketing arm will now be rebranded and named Fenway Sports Management.

Seems that "Fenway" is more global sounding than "New England."

Amusingly, the company has already put out a rap video in conjunction with the announcement that is meant to get us pried for baseball season. I'll simply say that the company's real strength seems to lie in sports management and promotion. As one Youtube reviewer says, it's "terrible but at the same time genius." Nice air violin, though.

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Ann Taylor Changes Corporate Naming to Ann Inc.

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AnnTaylor.pngAnn Taylor is changing its corporate name from Ann Taylor Stores Corporation to Ann Inc. because the original name was "clunky."

Interestingly, the period in the name will change color from time to time reflect the "causes backed by the company, like pink to support breast cancer research and purple for international women's day."

This move adds Ann Inc. to what Media Post calls "one name wonders" like Cher and Madonna.

Well, not really.

The name actually better reflects its sub brands, which includes Ann Taylor and the Loft stores.

Ann Inc. is going through a heavy growth period, especially in the realm of online sales. The ever changing period is a nice touch and obviously something that can be manifested online quite easily.

Additionally, they are moving quickly into international shipping and mobile commerce and the new name reflects the mentality that the Ann Taylor brand is but one link in this chain.

The Ann Taylor brand will stay, but the new corporate name, which has been introduced almost in tandem with Katie Holmes as the face of the Ann Taylor brand, is certainly less clunky and much more internet friendly.

It's interesting to note how the Ann Taylor name was created by the founder Richard Liebeskind in 1954. While many believe the name is eponymously named after a person, the name actually came from a kind of dress that was sold in his father's store. According to reComparison, "Liebeskind was further inspired to take on the name for his own chain of stores since "Ann" was a typically New England type of name, and 'Taylor' suggested a line of tailored clothing."

Ann Inc. will actually include four divisions: Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory, and LOFT Outlet. The name change will be seen mostly by businesses working with Ann Inc. and I suppose, internet customers.

I think this move also gives more room for the internet store and the profitable LOFT stores to share branding head space in the company's face to the world.

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Morgan Stanley To Drop Smith Barney Naming

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley is probably going to change the name of its Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage unit by dropping the Smith Barney name and effectively putting to rest a 73 year old brand name in finance.

MorganStanleySmithBarney.pngThis is not surprising. The name change will streamline the Morgan Stanley brand that is now under the Citigroup umbrella (couldn't resist the pun).

Alternate names include "Morgan Stanley Advisors, Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Advisors, and Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management."

I am not sure what the outcome will be, and I doubt that the Smith Barney name will be missed... but one thing is certain - many of us recall the Smith Barney TV ad featurng John Houseman (the mean law professor from The Paper Chase), who solemnly and arrogantly tells us that Smith Barney makes money the old fashioned way: "They Eeeeearn it."

That ad has inspired countless stand ups and was the outward face for a company that was mired in scandals.

The campaign ran from 1979-1986, and Houseman himself died in 1988 after doing many similar ads featuring a buttoned down professorial type expounding the virtues of various products.

It seems hard to believe that the payoff line in those Smith Barney commercials has endured for 25 years.

This may be a case where the brand name dies, but the tagline remains.

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