What's in a Name?
Time Inc. was co-founded by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, who published the first issue of Time magazine in 1923. Time, Inc. recently announced that it is considering a name change as part of its re-branding effort. Senior executives say the move would be a marketing strategy “intended to reposition the publisher as a modern media company with growing digital and video ventures.”
News reports say Time Inc. isn’t planning to change the names of any of its magazine titles which include TIME, People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune.
My first question when hearing the news is why? With so much equity built in the name, and with an organization that has been around for almost 100 years, why would it need to be changed?
Choosing a name for your company or in this case, changing your name, is an essential business decision and one that should be done with careful consideration. With today’s global business environment, it is important to consider how your business name will be received not only in your home state (or country) but around the world.
I remember discussing in a college marketing class the failure of the campaign for the Chevy Nova in Mexico. In Spanish, the phrase “no va” means “not going.” Not exactly what you want your advertising to be promoting.
We’ve worked with clients over the years that have, for various reasons, changed their name. We did it for our company back in 2000. Some things to keep in mind:
- Do a copyright check on the name. Are there similar names already in the market? Are there companies with a similar name doing the same type of work you are?
- Is the name easy to spell, easy to pronounce? Don’t make it difficult for your customers to know who you are.
- Does your company do business outside of the United States or where different languages are used? Make sure the name doesn’t translate to something that doesn’t make sense in that country.
- Think about all the things that need to change once you’ve made the announcement—website, business cards, marketing materials, directory listings, social media channels, billing/invoicing.
- Consider how to transition from one name to the other ie: XYZ Company, formerly known as ABC Company.
There is nothing wrong with a little creativity in naming your business. As long as that creativity isn’t a stumbling block to doing business.