Changing Brand Names

By Tom Dougherty

9 July 2014

Changing brand names usually not needed

Changing brand names is rare occurrence if your goal to grow your market share. If your category is relatively mature, then re-evaluating your brand is as important as your advertising messages.

Eighty percent of our clients change their brand but never change the name of their product, service or company. The only other thing that changes is their bottom line.

Rebranding Elements. Brand Is A Contract.

changing brand namesThink about the dollars you spend on marketing and advertising. Then compare that to the allocation you have made on your brand strategy.

If your fiscal goals are not being met, it is possible that the problem is not in your ad copy. It might not be in the media mix or sales force. It might be a problem of  your brand permissions.

In the DNA of your brand resides in its permission to be important to the customer you wish to influence.

Changing Brand Names. Wasted Bucks

Without a full and complete understanding of your brand, changing brand names may mean dollars being wasted.

We understand that, more often than not, the profit we will make on a new business deal is decided when the contract is signed.

changing brand namesFor this reason, we have our legal departments pour over the fine print before we affix our signatures.  And we sign it only when we are sure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.

Your brand has the same importance as that legal contract in influencing your marketing fortunes.

As a matter of fact, it would be helpful to think about your brand charter in exactly those terms. It is a contract because it is a contract with your target market. If you don’t have a brand charter, my point has already been made. (Read more about our rebranding process here.)

Brand Permission is an Important element in changing brand names

Your brand elements are under an umbrella. And all that you can rightfully promise to the target market needs to fit nicely there. Changing brand names can be an important consideration.

Your advertising certainly needs to be different. And it needs to be important but it also needs to be believed as “lawful” within the permission of your brand.

Think about Toyota. They have enjoyed long reputation as a reliable builder of solid automobiles. And they have successfully marketed low cost vehicles all the way up to the pricy 4Runner. (Read about brand permission here.)

Changing brand names is not a certain element

However, when they decided to build a luxury automobile they realized that the Toyota brand could never command its rightful price-point. Not if it was sold as a Toyota. The brand did not have permission to sell it. They needed to consider changing brand names.

As a result, they launched Lexus. A new brand with permission to do exactly that. And, in less than a decade, Lexus gained entry into the considered set of luxury car purchases right next to Mercedes and BMW.

changing brand namesThe same Toyota designers might very well design the Lexus automobile. And the Lexus cars might even be built in the same factory. (Both have plants in Kentucky.) But from a brand perspective, it is a different beer.

If you gain a clear understanding of your brand from the perspective of your target audience. And, if you can define you brand’s permission in stark and definite terms. You will come face-to-face with all of the opportunity and limitations that are inherent in your brand today AND your limitations.

The price of changing brand names

EXCLUSION is the price of brand clarity and it is the currency you need to bank on.

A great brand tells the target audience who it is for AND whom it is not for.

Because a brand that is for everyone is not a brand at all. It is a description of your category.

Clarity is your ally and brand management is its cost., including in changing brand names. Get it right and you can grab market share right out from under your competitor’s nose. Miss it and you might just as well change your name.