How do you put a positive spin on changing the name of the company?

We have a sister company that is keeping the name but we are changing ours. How do we tell the employees and the public without hurting the sister company and our own good reputation?

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5

As part of naming and re-naming businesses and products I have had to deal with this several times. First off, don't assume there is a negative message that needs to be fixed or use defensive posturing to justify it. Most importantly, the simple truth is almost always the best way forward. If you see a need - explain it. Transparency and logic are always appreciated.
Look for other successful name changes and the stance they used in their press releases etc. A current example with plenty of publicity is Alphabet. Shareholders, myself included, were not happy with all the R&D spending and new ventures Google was involved with from Google Glass to smart jeans to self-driving cars. It was eating away at the profits of the core business we invested in. It's not that these new ventures were bad ideas that I wouldn't consider investing in, they just higher risk and shouldn't be tied to a blue chip Google share. They were hurting each other. The truth made sense and I like both companies better for it.
PS. to be honest, the self-driving car is something I wouldn't invest in, but that's another matter. The manufacturer would have to provide 100% free car insurance for me to give up the wheel. ;)

5

Hi, Tricia,

I agree with many answers here. It is often easier to alter names when the company is still "newish" but we see companies do it often.

You have an opportunity to renew interest in the business, so make it exciting. Change is good. Share the reasoning (keep it brief). Hold an unveiling event to get people on board and excited. Make sure that this is it - create a name and brand identity that you're happy with for the long haul. Companies that consistently change their name create leeriness and reduces faith in customers eyes.

Have fun. Look at it as a new beginning and put yourself in employee and customer shoes while crafting a plan to announce. Clearly you're empathetic, but they will really feel like you thought of them in the process.

Good luck!

5

Your business strategy and the reason(s) why you're creating the spinoff company should answer that question for you. I doubt that's the only question you need to be asking.

Is there more value in the new company than there would be in keeping it part of the sister company? If so, why and why is that bad?

Is there less value? If so, why the spinoff - just don't do it to begin with.

Is there product/service overlap that can't be resolved by tighter niche/market focus in either company? Are you marketing generically or generally to begin with without specific market messages?

If anything I would think people will be happy/glad you have the new entity as it should be a positive thing in and of itself. But you don't provide any details as to why it's happening, what products/services are involved between the companies, what real or expected issues are present or anticipated and why, or anything else. So it's difficult to fully answer the question.

If it's something you are forced to do and not something you wanted to do, again, I'd look at the business plan, marketing plan and strategy for both businesses and let those docs and specifics lead the way.

They should be doing that anyway to totally justify/explain the why of the new business and why there is still the previous business at all.

Like most of the questions here, there's not enough info to provide anything more than a general answer.

4

Why do you feel it would be a negative? The name and company are still in the marketplace. Your company sounds like it evolved and you're adding services or products that need to be separate from the original company. It should be viewed as a positive and something that will help clients in the future. It's all about how you position the change and how different the new company is going to be.

3

This seems straightforward to me.

"We're Changing Our Mission, We're Changing Our Name. With our new/increased focus on blah, blah, blah, we're changing our name to suit.... The same Quality/Value/Effectiveness is still in our DNA, but our new name will better suit us and prepare us for a long future as the best provider of blah, blah, blah in the City/State/Region/Country/World/Galaxy."

Hi Ray, I bet demand for your content management skills must be going through the roof!

3

I suggest you will find your answer hidden in plain sight within the policy decision that prompted the name change in the first place. My advise would be not to "spin" it at all, be honest about why you are making a tactical marketing decision to "update and improve" the company's branding and image. There will be strategic reason that the sister company isn't going through a similar re-branding process at this time. Hope that helps!
Darren M.BAbb

3

You should talk in a positive way about the reason for spinning off from the sister company and announce the new company along with its name, mission/vision, goals, etc. and how it will relate to the sister company if at all. Keep it positive, simple, and above all sincere!

2

Ms Tricia, Retain your Name!! In Business transparency and a good reputation is required. So your choice lies in this. Florence MacDonald

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