Of all the decisions you make when starting a business, one of the most crucial is picking a name. But what happens when your company is looking to change business operations – even to the slightest degree? Does re-branding your business mean re-naming your business?

The answer is… not always. But in many cases, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy. Renaming a brand presents you with the unique opportunity to establish a fresh and unique trademark, engage a larger audience, boost visibility, and convey a new story about your growing business. Often when a company is looking to do this, they aim to maintain their company vision – but have updated business operations for the better. Therefore, a new name will help to identify and illustrate these exciting changes.

Rebranding is a big step, and not something to be done lightly. But there are some specific circumstances in which a name change makes perfect sense:


  • Change of ownership
  • New business direction
  • Alteration of services
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Freshen up


Of course, there are pros and cons to re-naming your business. One of the main struggles with a name change is whether or not to go all-in (change the brand name completely) – or simply make a subtle modification.

Many times companies want to incorporate the old name with a new designation. For example, adding an extra word or syllable to the current name seems like your best option because the customers are familiar with you, and you don’t want to scare them away at the notion of something “different”.  On the other hand, taking the plunge and changing a name in its entirety can represent confidence in the company’s new direction, and engages an audience to learn more – and consider your new offerings.

As a helpful guideline, the following are some basic strategies to consider before making a change to your brand’s name.




Will a new name communicate growth, stability, opportunity, power and/or confidence? And how do you choose the right name to align with your new business direction? Name considerations must be memorable, and…

  • Communicate something new about what you do (or how you do it)
  • Appeal to your target customer.
  • Has a catchy sound
  • Works well online.
  • Is unique (and won’t be confused with someone else’s business).
  • Is approved by (most of) the people you test it with.


A blend of simple + creative is the ideal combination for a brand name. (It may not seem very creative to use your surname as the company name, but look at how successfully it worked out for McDonald’s, Rogers, and Abercrombie & Fitch).



A new company name needs to be strategic. It needs to have a purpose and more importantly, longevity. Keep in mind it needs to fit into both your current and future business plans. Realize that you will encounter some initial resistance from both internal staff and customers that have grown accustomed to your current identity. They may not understand your long term strategy, so remain confident in all of your communication plans to demonstrate a sense of leadership.



While sites like Twitter and Facebook provide an ideal scene for crowd-sourcing ideas, you can also use more traditional methods like orchestrating internal meetings and asking people face to face. If you have employees or business partners, ask them to contribute some ideas too. What name best represents your company NOW, as opposed to when the company first launched?



People hate sudden drastic changes. Though there are always potential risks, you don’t want to aggravate your loyal customers by pulling an overnight name change, leaving them feeling deserted and out-of-the-loop. Make the transition as painless and simplified as possible. Keep clients in-the-know. To help people find you online through your new business name, consider operating two websites for a few months, and set up your old site to direct customers to your new website.



Type your new business name into Google and see what happens. Is the name unique? Is there a product or company that already has this name? SEO is incredibly important for getting your name in front of prospects. Also, social media is vital to make sure that the increased visibility is improving your overall reputation. Throughout the name-change process, you’ll need to go back and update every online listing with your company’s new information. (Yes, it’s tiresome – but your local SEO efforts depend on it). The search engines will eventually figure out the connection between your old and new company names, but the less confusing you can make it, the better. Someone who searches for your old brand and ends up on an unfamiliar website becomes confused. (And confusion = bounces).



As soon as a decision to re-name has been made, it’s important to inform your customers. Use all of your social networking platforms to promote the new name of your business. If you have a customer email list, send a brief message announcing the new name and explaining the reason for it. If you have a mailing list, send out an announcement explaining your new name. If customers are slow to adjust to the new name, modify your marketing to better explain the reason for the change and allow them to provide feedback.

At the end of the day, whatever the decision may be, the main focus is always to keep the brand:

  • True to itself
  • Meaningful
  • Powerful enough to make a difference.


Consider your audience, ask for feedback, and be sure that it aligns with all of your future marketing goals and company vision.  Although it’s common to sit on the fence about a decision like this, if your current brand name is genuinely holding you back from greatness, it may be the perfect time to make the change.