One of the first things our inbound marketing agency did with a new B2B client was go through a name change exercise for their business. Changing a business name is as traumatic as changing your own name and there are many factors to consider. Perhaps you’re considering a name change? If so these are things on my shortlist for name changers to consider:

What’s in a name?

One of the most recognizable elements of your business brand is its name. People do judge books by their covers and companies by their names so your success may very well be determined by your choice.

Is there ever a good time to change names?

Changing your company’s name makes sense if your business has outgrown its original business model or identity.

Does your current name support your positioning? Does it express your company culture? Does it convey leadership and original thinking in your industry? If the answer to any of these three questions is no, a name change may be a good idea.

Do you stand out?

With solutions for any business-need just a click away, how you distinguish your brand online defines the success of your business. Focus as much on making it easy for your customers and prospects to find you, as you do on finding them. (this is the central tenet of inbound marketing)

The name of your company is your most powerful keyword. If it is too easily confused with other businesses, either in your industry or not, you have a disadvantage that a name change could address.

Do you have new things to say to your customers and prospects?

A name change can help your customers and prospects see your business in a new light.

Your brand name should mirror the primary focus of your business’ activity. Consider changing your business name if what you do has changed substantially such that a new name better reflects your activity.

Examples of successful business name changes. Can you imagine these companies by their old names?

Old Name 
New Name 
BackRub Google
Relational Software   Oracle
Arthur Andersen Accenture
VauleJet Airlines Airtran
Philip Morris Altria
Telcom        Telstra
KPMG Consulting Bearing Point
Galvin Manufacturing
TMP Worldwide&nbsp Monster Worldwide
Quantum Computer Services
America Online

Can the current name be confused with other businesses?

Google your business name. Do the results create potential confusion? If so, your current name may be a disadvantage. As you ramp your marketing, things may get worse before they get better depending on how well you have your website (and URL) positioned as the anchor of your marketing efforts. This problem extends to social media as well. If you do not have a strategy to support your brand name and positioning with compelling content that tells your story loudly and clearly, and sets you apart from others with similar names, then you can become lost in the noise.

Our new B2B client, BTW, is OPS Rules Management Partners or OPS Rules for short. They’re the first of a new breed of management consulting firms focusing on optimizing the value delivered through the supply chain to customers and shareholders using the work of world-renowned MIT supply chain expert Dr. David Simchi-Levi. You can find a copy of his book here. Check them out!

For those who want to read further on business name changes, Dave Smith at Inc. Magazine took a run at the name change question and came up with Five Characteristics of Great Company Names:

1)      Does It Stick?

2)      Short Is Sweet

3)      Be Functional

4)      Tell A Story

5)      Invent A New Language

If your company is struggling with its identity or building its brand online, look through our marketing services offering. There’s lots of good information to facilitate your thought process. Or, check out our executive inbound marketing blueprint for a 180-day roadmap to get your online brand and sales back on track.