Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Change Your Name

Marketing Idea Category: Word of Mouth

Want to create some talk about your business? Change your name. Seriously.

Read this example of how Rouge, a Seattle women’s clothing boutique , changed their name and leveraged some great publicity, including this additional article (and our blog).

People love new things and new places to shop and this idea can gain you new attention. Obviously, this is not the tactic for every business but here are the standards under which you might consider changing your business name:

  1. You have very little brand equity: Your name recognition in the community is low and people generally don't know who you are or what you do.

  2. Your name has no personality or is generic: "The Clothing Corner" "The Coffee House"

  3. Your market has shifted: As in the Rouge example above, they began appealing to a younger demographic and carrying different brands.

  4. Your business name has a bad connotation in the community: You received some bad publicity from the misdeeds of an employee or previous owner.

Changing your name may not be cheap to do, so consider the costs involved in changing your name. After you do change your name, make sure you leverage your new name to get some well-deserved publicity.

  1. Send out press releases and contact your local media personally.

  2. Have a ribbon cutting with your local chamber of commerce.

  3. Have a "Grand Unveiling" event. Use your mailing list and email list send an invitation to all your previous customers.

  4. Invite a local celebrity to cut the ribbon on your store and be the very first customer of your newly named business.

We followed up with Stephanie Duryea, who says the change was worth it, but it was a lot of hard work. She offers this advice if you decide to take the big leap:

"Make sure it's what you want to do and be committed. Make sure it fits."

Word of warning: Good marketing cannot save a bad business. If you have internal problems and operational deficiencies, a name change will not be of help. But, if your business simply has the blues, this may be a way to get the music playing again.

Coming tomorrow: Case study in The Customer Experience
For more marketing advice and lessons: The Marketing Spot
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