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What to do About a Bad Corporate Brand Name

In Branding Evaluation by DistilityLeave a Comment

Reframing the Issue of a Bad Brand Name

One of the biggest obstacles to brand marketing success is a badly named brand. For both new marcom hires and marketing consultants, it is a difficult issue to raise, but, as few of us are hired to be yes-men, it is not an issue that should be avoided. The problem is compounded if the company’s founders came up with the brand name and little consideration has been given to it since the brand’s launch. How can you break the bad news to company leadership and get approval to embark on corporate renaming?

Make it a strategic naming decision

Embarking on a renaming project should not just be based on your subjective opinion or your desire to put your mark on the company.  Whatever the reasons, the key is to make it about customers, competition and building the brand strategy.  Before blurting out how bad the name is, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Does the brand name reflect the brand promise, brand personality or brand position? If not, there may be marketing reasons to raise the subject.
  2. Is the name mis-descriptive? Leading customers to the wrong impression? If so, gather some customer data and make it about the customer, not what is a good or bad name.
  3. Are there cultural or linguistic issues with the name in current and planned expansion markets? Cultural and linguistic (including slang) issues impact the perception of your brand by your customers and its reputation. It is important for leadership to be made aware of these issues.
  4. Can the name be protected and trademarked in current and planned expansion markets? If not, that’s a significant reason to get a change in gear.

Make company naming a business decision

Make the case that your company name is more then just a sign on the building.  A company name is an important element to building the virtuous circle of brand awareness, sales and customer loyalty.

  1. A memorable name promotes awareness.
  2. A name that is easy to spell and easy to say promotes word of mouth marketing.
  3. A strong protectable trademark is a key weapon for business growth and success.

Get permission for a company naming investigation

Rather then try and sell the leadership on a wholesale and costly rebranding, it is wiser to get buy-in for a small study of team members, customers and prospects. Such a study can be done by anonymous emails, or informal interviews, and will help flag any brand name issues, the importance of the name to brand marketing success and lay the ground for informed decisions on renaming.