For those of you thinking about your company’s brand, what is the most important thing you think about? Is it the name? Is it the logo? Is it the personality of the business? Is it the employees? Is it all of the above?
We recently studied some merger and acquisition activity in various industries, and our interest is piqued by companies that are using the name of the company they acquired for their business. Why is that? Does the acquired brand have the personality that the acquirer aspires to have? Is it older and more respected in the marketplace? In some of these instances, the names of both the acquiring company and the target were “made up” names. Names that really don’t mean anything and need to be explained to customers, their shareholders and others. Does the company name matter anymore?
There is no clear cut answer to this. Many names are already taken. It is difficult to create a new meaningful name without stumbling into someone who thought of it already, owns the domain name, or is using it in a different industry. In the “old days,” using the same name in a different industry was often considered OK. Those days seem to be coming to an end. We recently helped brand a company and the original name we hit on was used in a completely different industry. The state would not approve the new name even though there was no realistic chance that the two companies would be confused with one another. So, off we went. To create another name.
This happens a lot, and what is really boils down to, in our opinion, is that people matter. The name of the company may change, but people buy goods and services from people they know and trust. The name may change, but the feeling that customers get remain the same. Brand matters. The personality matters. The name is important, but less important than you may think.