What's in a name? Why do companies rebrand

Names are important.

 

It’s how we identify and differentiate ourselves and associate meaning and emotions to otherwise ephemeral corporate entities and products.


Company Rebrands: what’s in a name?

Sports Direct

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think about it. If you were offered two identical mineral water products – same price, taste, consistency etc would you choose one called Heaven’s Nectar or one called Stinky Bert’s Bogwater?

 

Shakespeare wrote that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” which may be true but you’d have a hard time selling them if they were called crapweeds or pervflowers. 

 

Everything is a subtle form of branding. It’s why dogs get called Rex, Shep or Butch rather than Dog 1 and Dog 2. Possibly children too but that’s another blog entirely

 

This is why Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International announced plans that it’s to rebrand itself as Frasers Group. 

 

The group acquired House of Fraser in 2018 along with several other high-street brands like Evans Cycles and Game Digital but it’s House of Fraser that Ashley has always held in high esteem. 

 

His much mocked ambition to turn the brand into the “Harrods of the High Street” has a solid rationale behind it – to promote a higher quality image and differentiate it from the phenomenally successful but lower rent image of Sports Direct itself. 

 

Renaming the group, not the Sports Direct stores, to reflect the higher ambitions and perceived status of the House of Fraser is one way to achieve this. 

 

There’ve been several successful examples in the past as well as some notorious failures.

 

Royal Mail turned into Consignia for 15 months before changing back again, and auditors Arthur Andersen relaunched as a brand new accounting company called Accenture which absolutely, positively had nothing to do with the Enron scandal. That was another, entirely different company called (checks notes) Arthur Andersen.

 

 

Not every company gets caught up in a multi-national financial scandals. 

 

Sometimes a company has to change its name because of trademark issues or other businesses have similar names and it can’t differentiate itself enough. 

 

A business could diversify and change direction or enter new markets. Toyota started out making looms and the distinctive green, white and yellow lorries of Eddie Stobart split into two companies.  

 

Eddie Stobart Logistics remains in the haulage industry but the Eddie Stobart Group has a wider portfolio of interests including providing Biomass fuel and running airports!

 

Changing a UK limited company’s name is relatively straightforward

 

It can be done via a simple resolution agreed by directors and entitled shareholders with a majority vote or by special permission within the company’s articles of association. 

 

The name must comply with certain rules and regulations and will not officially change until Companies House registers it. 

 

It can be changed online via the Companies House website if done by special resolution or by post for either method. 

 

While we try to avoid stating the obvious, changing your company’s name won’t remove any debts, charges, secured loans or other liabilities including redundancy responsibilities.  

 

In fact, changing the company name to avoid legal responsibilities will get you into a lot of trouble, we guarantee it

 

There are several better ways to improve your business’ fortunes rather than attempting cheap chicanery. 

 

One is to get in touch with us. 

 

We’ll arrange a convenient, free initial consultation with one of our qualified team of advisors. Once they have a better handle on your company’s circumstances and challenges, they’ll be able to work on a roadmap with you to give you the best chance of recovery. 

 

And you won’t have to change your website or business stationery either!

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