What we learnt from changing our company name

How to change a company name.
Dotty About Paper
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The decision to change the name of The Card Gallery was not a sudden choice. Although the name suited us when I established the company, that was no longer the case. As the business grew and our long-term strategy developed, the name was failing to reflect our products, services, and future plans.

Furthermore, customers and contacts were confused by the name due to its similarity with other greetings card suppliers (although we are a stationery company, we focus on invitations and accessories, not individual cards).

We relied on advice from experts to ensure the new name would not damage sales. Analysis of search trends, combined with the viability of the name from a marketing viewpoint, helped us to develop a fitting new name that would let us grow in both business terms and in personality.

We also saw the importance of keeping our customers, suppliers, and team involved with the move. Taking their feedback into consideration helped us to shape our new identity.

Although we had lots of ideas for new names, finding a viable option was a challenge. Many domain names were already taken, and some names were too similar to pre-existing companies, meaning we would face competition. In addition to checking major domain names, we checked for social media pages and small businesses on sites like Etsy that might have already taken the names we were considering. Eventually, we managed to find a name; ‘Dotty about Paper’ even let us develop our own unique hashtags to use for social media marketing.

By planning the change for an off-peak period, you can minimise the financial impact.

A big risk with any name change is the potential for customers to think you’ve been taken over by another company. A strong marketing plan should be prepared to announce the new name and explain the reasons behind the change.

We emphasised that we were still the same company, with the same passionate team and great products. Different platforms were used; we sent newsletters, created a social media plan and blog posts, utilised word-of-mouth, and took advantage of PR opportunities.

It can take time for the new name to be noticed by others, including Google. And, as such, a dip in sales can be expected. This is coupled with the extra work your team will face during the changeover. Replacing all instances of the old name with the new takes time, and the cost of updating your printed material can’t be taken lightly.

These issues are outweighed by the positive elements the change will bring. Our social media campaign increased our presence and raised awareness of our brand. We had a fantastic reception from our customers and received features in local newspapers and magazines, which we valued as a community-driven business. We also hosted a small launch party the week of the renaming to take advantage of local interest.

Our team was also motivated by the fresh new look. We had been working on a series of new designs for our products, and seeing them against our lovely updated website was a positive experience. There was a renewed enthusiasm when we saw the scope for growth that had opened up.

Advice to businesses considering a name change

Don’t take the decision to change your company name lightly; it’s a dramatic step forward, and you must be confident it’s the best choice for the business.

Plan thoroughly, seeking advice from professionals who can help you determine the best name for your business. Consider feedback from customers and staff, but ensure the name is viable from a behind-the-scenes perspective, too. Contemplate questions about how the name will rank, how it may affect marketing strategies, and any legal ramifications it might involve.

Prepare for a dip in sales. By planning the change for an off-peak period, you can minimise the financial impact. Prioritise stability during your peak business season. You can also make the most of your new name through increased promotion. For example, we gave our customers a discount code they could use on the day we launched the new Dotty about Paper website, which was received well.

Keep the lines of communication clear during the renaming process. Explain the reasons behind the change to your staff members and encourage enthusiasm, which will help make the move successful. Do the same with your suppliers and partners to reassure them, and answer any questions or concerns they may have about the development. It’s also vital to keep your loyal customers updated. Let them know the brand they’ve come to know and love is staying true to its core values and aims.

Make sure the change is positive. Celebrate the new brand with both staff and customers. Keep a record of this big milestone, storing any related press or promotional material – it’s an important part of your company’s history.

About Lisa Forde

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