6 reasons why you should RENAME a brand


In a previous article we have explained the difference between naming and renaming. Now, it’s time to dedicate this article to the renaming, since it is one of the hardest decisions a company makes for its corporate brand or for a brand in its portfolio.

Renaming is always a part of a rebranding process, but a rebranding process doesn’t always involve changing the name. There are many cases when a rebranding is done and the name of the brand is kept.

There are more reasons a company chooses to change its name and we will mention you six of them.

If you want to see what is the difference between naming and renaming, you can read the article here.

Now, let’s go back to the reasons why a brand is renamed:

  1. Geting away of bad publicity

Renaming the brand is the last shot a company can do in order to get away of negative publicity. This bad brand awareness happens for various of reasons, sometimes because of bad management, other times because of external factors that the company can’t control. If the brand image is strongly affected, well the last chance is to start a renaming process in order to save the company.

This is what ValuJet did when it couldn’t shake the bad reputation it got after flight 592 crashed in the Everglades in 1996. All 110 passengers perished. An investigation revealed SabreTech, the airline’s maintenance contractor, was responsible for the accident due to unsafe cargo conditions. So ValuJet became AirTran Airways.


  1. Merger or Acquisitions – Michael Kors

This is one of the most common reasons why a company changes its name. A lot of companies are planning their growth through merging with competitors or by buying them. In cases like that a completely new name is chosen, in order to express the new direction or one company is taking over the naming of the other one.

For instance, the company Michael Kors changed its name in Capri Holdings after buying Versace fashion house. Capri Holdings is inspired by the “iconic, glamorous and luxury destination” Capri island and reflects the company’s efforts to move further into luxury and away from the more affordable handbags for which it has long been known.


  1. The name no longer meets the brand’s needs and objectives

Another common reason of renaming is the fact that the business is developing and the actual name doesn’t reflect anymore its activity, the brand promise and the new objectives.

If the name is limiting too much the business’ growth, there is a need of changing it in order to support the desired development.

Dunkin’ Donuts shortened its name in just Dunkin’ starting 2019. The stores still sell donuts, but they offer other food such breakfast sandwiches and different types of drinks. Considering that, the renaming makes a lot of sense.


  1. Trademark Issues

A brand can change its name if there are some trademark issues also. It is not impossible to lose your brand name if you don’t take care of the trademark part from the beginning. How is that possible? Either you start building and promoting your brand without trademark the name, either you use a name that can’t be trademarked. Or, another case is when another company is legally opposing to your name because of similarity situations.

The SciFi Channel, a television channel from USA, changed its name in Syfy Channel, because they couldn’t trademark SciFi, so they chose the alternate spelling Syfy. That’s was not the best option, though, since Syfy is a slang term for syphilis in most parts of the world.


  1. Leveraging a strong brand name

A brand name change can be done also in the situations when a company owns a lot of brands in its portfolio, but only one of them is an iconic brand which supports the whole business. In such situations, the company is changing its name with the name of the most powerful brand in its portfolio. This is a good strategy, since the strong name brings trust to the overall company.

Online travel giant Priceline Group changed its name to Booking Holdings, emphasizing its shift from travel to hotel-and-home-rentals. The online travel giant, succeeded in online world and became a go-to platform for travelers to bid on flights. It also diversified through a number of deals, including its acquisition of restaurant reservation site OpenTable and online reservation site Bookings. became Priceline’s largest brand, a position the company said it wanted to reflect with its name change.


  1. Companies split

Another situation when a renaming can occur is when a company decides to split its activities areas with the purpose of business development, a better management or even to focus more on one part of the business and diminish the activity of one division. In such situations, a split is happening and so does a name change.

When Kraft spun out its Oreos and Nabisco cookies and crackers business, it gave it the name Mondelez, keeping the name “Kraft” for its North American grocery business.

No matter the reason a renaming is necessary, the most important is to do it carefully because it may be the hardest move in a brand’s life. Follow a step by step renaming process and a well-established criteria and make sure you don’t fail. It may be your last shot.

Do you need our help in a renaming project? Write us and let’s talk more about it.

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