Rebrand vs. Rename: Which is right for your business?


You’ve been in business for a while now, or the company you work for has been. Things are shifting. You are looking to make a bigger splash or a bigger impact. You want to increase sales. You want to cast a wider net. Something is brewing, but you aren’t sure where to go from here.


Then someone says, “Let’s change our name.”




Would that create a big splash? Sure.


Is it the way to go? Not necessarily.


A brand is not a name and a name is not a brand.

For starters, let’s agree that these two terms are not interchangeable. Just like “logo” and “brand” aren’t interchangeable.


The name of your business is just that, a name. It’s the moniker your business goes by. It’s what you put on a business card or an email signature.


The brand of your business is much more than the name. It’s the customer experience. It’s the story you tell. It’s the attitude you project. It’s what a customer expects from you.


If I rebrand, don’t I need to rename?

A rebrand doesn’t inherently mean a name change. You can do one without the other. (Though it’s more likely that if you are renaming, you probably should consider some degree of a rebrand.)


A great example of a company that rebranded (rather than renamed): Old Spice.


You’d think that if a company needed to change it’s perception of “Old”, and the word OLD was actually in its name, that the natural next step would be a name change.


But this is a perfect example of why the name does not MAKE the brand.


Old Spice told a new story, and found a way to connect with younger consumers, without even changing its logo.


They did so through new campaigns, new visuals, and creating a new experience for a newer generation.


So there’s never a need to Rename?

Not exactly.


Here are some reasons that a business might choose to go through the process of a name change:

  • A merger has occurred
  • A company has had bad press and needs to reboot
  • A company has dramatically changed it’s products, services, or offerings, or even their target market


And if you are changing your business name, chances are, you are in need of a new logo, a new look, and probably a new brand story.


Tell your story!

Regardless of your name, you should always be focused on creating a better experience both internally and externally for your business.


Are you rebranding? You’ll need to communicate a new brand story to your customers, which requires intention and strategy.


Are you renaming? You’ll need to communicate a new brand story to your customers, which requires intention and strategy.


Yes! The name of the game may be different, but the rules are pretty much the same.


No matter what direction you are taking, make sure at every step you:

  • Identify and Understand the markets you are trying to reach, and speak to them!
  • Develop a value proposition that everyone internally knows and understands, so it can be communicated externally
  • Create a cohesive brand experience (from brand visuals to customer service, from office spaces to web presence, from advertising to company culture, and everything in between)