Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
Of all the interactions we have with a client, recommending a name change is the hardest thing we do. As an agency, it’s not something we want to do. We could potentially lose a lot of money by suggesting a name change, because if the client isn’t receptive to the idea, we could get fired. So if we come to the conclusion that a business should change its name, it’s because we have a lot of data to back it up, and because we truly believe it.
We never suggest a name change due to ego. We take information Aaron compiles that shows how a company’s name is limiting its potential, which backs up our recommendation with business intelligence. This helps us go from “I think” to “I know” when it comes to such a big decision; and we bring it to the attention of clients because we think it will help them meet their overarching goals.
That’s the main thing: the idea of changing the name always stems from a client telling us what they want to achieve as a company. After thoroughly assessing a business through our competitive audits, stakeholder research, and current client and potential client discovery steps, we have enough information to tell us whether a name change is needed. If a client want to go from a $5 million company to a $20 million company in the next three years, and the business’s name is hindering that, we’re going to bring it to the forefront. Just as we would address changing a company’s color scheme or determining if its current market can realistically support a $20 million business, we’re going to tell you if your name is getting in the way.
We worked with a composting company that wanted a brand update in service of selling the business. We felt their name, “Sort,” didn’t lend itself to composting as much as it did recycling; and that if it did apply to composting, it implied the company was asking clients to sort their own compost. The name wasn’t identifiable to anything they did as a company, it wasn’t their unique selling proposition, it wasn’t who clients said they were, and it wasn’t what potential clients wanted. We went to the board and proposed a new name: “New Soil.” It was aesthetically pleasing, it made me feel good as a potential client, and I understood what they did when I engaged with the brand. The business achieved their goals, and sold the company last year.
Can I attribute that 100% to a name? No. But everything we did for that company was based on that name change and was built around that new brand. It really carried that company to its success. They didn’t change their product at all; they didn’t change their services at all. And on top of that, they did zero drastic marketing efforts to get the brand out there in any significant way.
A name that communicates your brand’s core message clearly and effectively goes a long way toward cultivating a customer base, and, ultimately, toward achieving your business goals.