2013
07.18
Acronyms are great, but not when another company/organization has the same one.

Acronyms are great, but not when another company/organization has the same one.

Organizations of all shapes and sizes change their names all the times. Even churches change their names. In 2001 the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) changed its name to the Community of Christ.

The RLDS changed its name for a reason many business owners would understand so it wouldn’t be confused with a similar organization the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons or LDS). Other entities change their business names to sound more modern or up to date. Thus the old fashioned Public Service Company of Colorado became Xcel Energy Inc.

Part of the reason why Xcel changed its name was to distance itself from an old fashioned business model. Another was because it was no longer based in Colorado it was now part of a multistate combine.

Names and Business Models

Another famous example of renaming a business was the venerable World Wrestling Federation or WWF which famously rebranded itself as the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE. This move was taken for two reasons to avoid confusion with the World Wildlife Fund a respected charity that also used the acronym WWF and to reflect a new business model. The WWE wanted to emphasize that it was in the entertainment rather than the sports business.

Other organizations might adopt new business names in order to escape negative connotations. Some college sports teams have dropped names taken from Native American tribes because some people find those business names offensive.

Sometimes business names are changed to more accurately reflect the nature of their business. The Children’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, recently changed its name to Dayton Children’s Hospital or Dayton Children’s. This name does a better job of telling what the hospital does. Medical Center sounds like a doctor’s office rather than a hospital. It is also associated with a positive image namely children.

New Business Name Ideas and Customers

The first thing that you will need when you change a business are business name ideas. If you have an established brand name that customers are familiar with the new name will have to sound similar to the old one. The World Wrestling Federation had to keep the names World and Wrestling in its new name because fans were familiar with the old name.

On the other hand Public Service could change its name completely because its customers were locked in. Xcel is a gas and power company, its customers have no choice but to buy its products. That of course raises another problem with changing a business name: will your customers resent it? After all they might be familiar and comfortable with the old name.

This means you have to take a lot of care when you change a business name. You must carefully evaluate your existing name and the old name. After all you will have costs associated with it including signage, marketing, advertising, stationary, packaging etc.

That means it is a great idea to evaluate several new names for your business. You can get many suggestions for a new business name by holding a naming contest. When you hold such a contest make sure you tell the contestants your existing name and the reason you want to change it. That way you can create a new business name that accurately reflects the nature of your organization.

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