It’s a big change – and a great opportunity to make a strong impression.

In our last post, we looked at reasons you might change your company’s name. Should you decide to go that route, you’ll want to pursue it thoughtfully and strategically.

Shoot for something memorable, relevant and evocative of your brand. Here are eight tips to point you in the right direction.

  1. Start with a defined strategy. Any renaming should be based on a clear and defensible brand position as identified through customer research.
  2. Approach with an open mind. Ditch your assumptions about what your name should or shouldn’t be. Seek inspiration not from your competitors, but from diverse markets. Stretching beyond the limits of the expected is often the key to a powerful new name.
  3. Don’t merely describe. This is your chance to create an immediate, emotional connection. Leave the company or category definition (if it’s even necessary) to a quick cutline – a short phrase that typically appears right below the name in your logo. Renaming-Image-1-3-13
  4. Don’t try to say too much. Your name should give people a sense of who you are and what you stand for, but not if it loses punch in the process. It’s better to set a more abstract mood with a name. Let the cutline clarify what you do and let a tagline make a clear brand promise.
  5. Do your due diligence. Before you get attached to any name, make sure it doesn’t infringe on any relevant trademarks or website URLs. This is why made-up hybrid names are increasingly popular – but even many of those are taken.
  6. Look out for the Achilles’ heel. Seek outside opinions, but do so more to help uncover problems you can’t fix – such as unforeseen negative associations – rather than to try to appeal perfectly to everyone.
  7. Launch with a story. A strategic communications campaign, starting with your employees, is essential to making your new name stick. Help people embrace the new name by sharing the purpose, goals and rationale through a variety of channels and tactics.
  8. Own it. Ultimately, your new name will mean what you and your people actually make of it. It can only be as innovative and unique as your company proves to be. Give the process the time and effort it takes to embody a new name and use it to your greatest advantage.