From the Expert: How to Approch a Business Name Change
Minneapolis marketing agency d.trio recently changed its name to cat&tonic to reflect the company’s evolution. Megan Devine, one of the trio of founders who formed the agency in 2000, took sole ownership in 2019 and thought the name change would help lead the agency into the future. Having just been through the renaming process, she offers advice to other companies and brands before making a big change.
- Initial considerations. Explore whether your name is dated or not and if it reflects your company values, culture, and employees. Also, does it speak to your customers or prospective audiences you want to attract? If your name has brand equity, that’s a big consideration. Or maybe a new name will help you to better meet your business goals.
- Moving forward. Decide where you’re going as a business (shifting focus, offering new products and services, reaching new customer audiences or industries, etc.). Does your name need to be pragmatic, serious, fun, or creative? Consider whether you have the resources and time to go through the process without cutting corners. A new name means a new logo, new branding, a new website, and a lot of other changes to things you use every day.
- Define your process. Use a process that will work best for your team and define the criteria against which ideas will be judged. Include employees. Let people make suggestions. Choose someone to lead the project and encourage them to incorporate ordered stages into the process. Our stages were define, ideate, iterate, refine, and decide. Talk to peers in the industry and review your competitors’ brands. Develop a flexible task list and timeline. Don’t forget to contact your legal, accounting, and tech teams upfront to give them time to do their thing.
- Things to avoid. Avoid copycat naming and picking your favorite words (they’ve likely all been taken). Don’t play it too safe unless you are in a conservative industry and your naming process takes you there.
- Presenting it to the world. Take the time to communicate the name change across channels. Your audience wants to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Be open and honest.
- Create and share brand guidelines internally to get employees on board.
- Consider developing a short teaser campaign before the launch—it’s a fun way to get your team involved and excited.
- Write a press release and hire a PR agency to help spread the word.
- Update your social media pages and website and ask people to engage with them to create a bigger splash.
- Write customer and vendor notifications in advance and be prepared to send them on launch day.
- Create new digital templates for marketing and sales materials (newsletters, invoices, etc.).
- Write blogs and articles to tell your story.