What’s in a name?

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There’s always somethin’
July 17, 2015
Lady holding C
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August 20, 2015
Brand, Design, Advertising

Over the last 27 years I’ve been involved in many revamps to company brands, hundreds probably…mostly in the transportation sector. When it comes to physically changing the name, I’ve done much less. Why? In the B2B world, the equity in your company lies in the name, not the physical look of your brand. As a matter of fact, you could change the look of your brand daily with very little negative effect other than the devastating impact on your wallet.

Look at entrepreneur Mike Andlauer and if you don’t know Mike, you aren’t a hockey fan or in transportation. I worked at the same company with him 30 years ago. Probably the most successful rise to fame and fortune I’ve personally seen. Like many start-ups, the name of his company was based on his surname and then shortened to the 3 letter acronym ATS. He designed the original logo himself and though emotionally attached to it, I would suggest graphic artist was not his most significant achievement. Still, I learned a valuable lesson from the experience. Branding matters, but the product or service you are branding matters a whole lot more. And, like ATS, the physical look of the brand can evolve with time and serve to better represent the company’s overall perception and professionalism.

With most of the companies I’ve dealt with, very little thought was put into the initial name or branding but equity is created none the less. With time, the name surpasses its original intent or reason for being. If you think you have chosen poorly and need to change your name, try to do it early when your client base is small enough to reach out to and protect. On the other hand, changing a well-respected name is a high risk and costly venture.

At the end of the day, marketing is about bold, memorable moves balanced with:

  • A strategic look to the future
  • Respect for the goodwill tied to a long standing brand name
  • A generous amount of caution
  • A minimal amount of ego


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