Changing the name of your long-standing business is a dramatic step that brings many challenges.
Lisa Forde changed the name of her company, ‘The Card Gallery’, to ‘Dotty about Paper’ after 13 years of business. She discusses what she learnt from this move, along with advice to others planning a similar change.
What we have learnt from our name change
If you are considering renaming your enterprise, you must be sure it’s the best move for the business.
In our case, we were fully confident it was the right thing to do. ‘The Card Gallery’ suited us 13 years ago, but the business has changed and evolved in the years since 2004. Customers and contacts would often perceive us as a greetings card company rather than a stationery company due to our name. This caused confusion at times, as people would associate us with The Card Factory.
Many of the products we plan to offer as part of our long-term strategy are paper-based. The name ‘Dotty about Paper’ gives us a clear personality and the scope to grow.
It takes time for everyone to notice the change in name, including Google. There is always the risk that customers will think you have been taken over by another business, even if that isn’t true. This highlights the importance of a strong publicity plan which not only announces your new name, but explains the nature of the change. Emphasise that you are still the same company, with the same values and commitments.
There is also the challenge of implementing the name change in a practical manner. For instance, while it is easy to adjust your account name on some social media pages, others take much longer; indeed, Facebook pages can take a few days to change. You will also need to change occurrences of your name in printed media, like leaflets and business cards.
Our advice to other companies considering a name change
Think the decision through carefully and seek advice from multiple sources. Prioritise the people key to your business, including your customers. The opinions of experts are also invaluable when examining how your new name will impact your business. There are multiple angles to consider, from the searchability of the name to its implementation in advertising.
Make the change during a quiet period for your business to minimise the significance of dips in sales that may result. Trying to change a name during a peak business season is not advisable.
Keep everyone involved in the renaming process. Passionate staff who feel enthusiastic about the name change will help make the move a success. Communicate with suppliers and clearly answer queries and concerns they raise about the change. And, of course, keep customers involved.
Create a cohesive plan to change all instances of the old name to the new one. Your original name will be on business directories, letterheaded paper, business cards, signage, and so on. It’s vital to thoroughly list all the changes that will be needed.
Finally, celebrate the change when it has happened. It’s a great milestone in the history of your business. Keep a record of the experience and use the opportunity to create a social media buzz around the event.