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How to Decide if Your Organization Needs a New Name

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Group of professionals deciding on a new name for their organization

Renaming your organization is a BIG deal. For over 20 years, Mercury has helped companies and associations take this brave step, and it’s never taken lightly. The process to choose a new name is usually part of an entire rebrand that involves time, energy and emotion.

Strategy first 

Mercury begins with Brand Discovery, which helps us understand what is at the core of your organization. We dig in and get really clear on who you are, why you exist and what sets you apart from your competitors. Once all of your key brand elements are identified we ask this strategic question:

Does the organization’s name align with its essential value, differentiator and other brand attributes?

Scenarios where you may need a new name

During Brand Discovery we might uncover some things that lead to the recommendation for a new name. Here are a few examples of scenarios we’ve encountered:

  1. The current name is a family name, there are plans for a change in leadership or ownership, and the original leaders will no longer be part of the organization.

A franchise owner built their business from the ground up using their own name, “Jada Simmons Financial Services”, and is now preparing to sell the business and retire. The succession plan includes selling the franchise to a family member that does not share the same last name. 

2. The current name is a functional name that no longer matches the organization’s key function.

An association was originally named for its location and purpose, but has grown to serve a bigger region and is now known for expertise for a larger breadth of services. Location-based names might include a regional name like “Midwest” for an association that now serves members across the nation. And, an association that was established to serve yoga studio owners has gained expertise with pilates studio owners over time. In this example, the “Midwest Yoga Studio Owners Association” needs a new name. 

3. The organization is growing and looking to acquire other businesses or recruit additional partners and the current name doesn’t fit the future growth objectives.

A franchise was operating under the last names of the partners, “Smith & Anderson Company”. Now they have an opportunity to bring on additional partners but the recruiting process has stalled because simply adding additional last names doesn’t make sense.

4. The current name is a historic name that is no longer relevant.

A business was named after its street location when it first opened: “Groveland Manufacturing.” But 20 years later they have grown and need to move locations. 

5. A company has a generic name in its industry and it doesn’t really describe its differentiator or brand character. They are having a hard time standing out amongst their competitors.

A jewelry store was originally named Silver and Gold Jewelers. They specialize in sales, repair and vintage resale of luxury watches. They have an opportunity to be the exclusive retailer for a global, high-end, watchmaker but their company name doesn’t fit their niche market and they are struggling with proposing a marketing plan that will highlight the partnership.

We want to explore a new name! What’s next?

Once we’ve established that a new name is worth considering, Mercury walks through a comprehensive process that includes a competitive analysis, word mapping exercises, web searches and trademark considerations. We come back to our clients with 1-3 new ideas to consider. We also include the same research and considerations for their current name. This process gives our clients the ability to compare and contrast a new entity name alongside their current name and weigh the benefits. 

This process results in one of three outcomes:

  1. The client chooses a new entity name that helps set a new foundation for growth.
  2. The client modifies their current name by adding a new descriptor or tagline that helps communicate their newly defined differentiator.
  3. The client is clear that their current name is still the best fit and they have all the research and considerations needed to get their whole organization aligned.

If you’ve been wondering if it might be time for a new name we would love to talk through our process in more detail.

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