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Janice Laubach Janice Laubach

We Can Help You Decide If Renaming Is Right for Your Business

 

If you’re like most home service company owners, your business is your “baby.” Whether you were personally responsible for bringing it into this world or you became a “parent” somewhere along the way, you are fully invested in helping your “child” grow and achieve full potential. In other words, you want your business to be the best it can be.

With that goal in mind, you might be asking yourself: Is my company’s name a catalyst for success? Or a stumbling block?

The answer will vary, based on your unique name, circumstances and market. At KickCharge Creative, we have the skills and experience to size up your existing name and help you decide if a new name is the right move for you.

“Renaming is, by far, the most anxiety-inducing decision our clients have,” says KickCharge Executive Vice President Terri Lynne Briggs. “But we have never had a client regret renaming. Not one.”

That’s because the team at KickCharge truly has your best interests at heart and will give you honest advice about renaming.

You also might be asking yourself: Isn’t it in KickCharge’s best interest to rename as many clients as possible?

“Nope,” says Briggs. “It is in our best interest to put our client’s best interests first. We only recommend renaming when it’s truly right for our client.”

In fact, Briggs says, KickCharge only recommends renaming about 25% of the time. And, even though we receive dozens of requests every week from clients whose brands aren’t serving them well, we won’t provide design services (such as a vehicle wrap design) for clients we haven’t branded ourselves.

“If it were all a money grab,” Briggs says, “we would take on that work and churn out designs that we know wouldn’t move the needle an inch for those clients. Instead, we respectfully pass and explain that we wouldn’t feel right accepting a fee for a deliverable that will not deliver results.”

Does Your Name Check the Right Boxes?

So, what factors does the KickCharge team use to determine whether renaming makes sense? Here’s what you want to consider:

  1. General business data, including company longevity and revenue
    “These two factors together can be a blocker to a rename since there are sooo many customers who have known the company by the name for so long,” says Briggs
  2. The name itself:
    • Plusses:
      • Is it easy to pronounce?
      • Is it easy to spell?
      • Is it memorable (sticky)?
      • Can it be reinforced with a strong visual?
      • Does it represent the company’s brand promise?
      • Is it ownable? (more on this in #4)
    • Minuses:
      • Is it too descriptive?
      • Does it use a first or last name?
      • Does it use initials?
      • Is it generic?
  3. The digital space
    A new name means a new URL. If your existing site is optimized and ranking well, you need a solid strategy from a respected digital partner to avoid hiccups. (More on this later from three digital experts we love working with.)It is also important to check which domains are available for any given name. At KickCharge, we typically recommend registering the domain that includes “call,” followed by the brand name. For example, if “honeydudes.com” isn’t available, we’ll recommend “callhoneydudes.com.” It is very rare to successfully secure the “.com” domain with the brand name alone, which is why we recommend adding “call” to the URL. We also always recommend ending the URL with “.com,” which is why we’ll suggest “callhoneydudes.com” rather than “honeydudes.info,” “honeydudes.co,” etc.
  4. Long-term standing/legal
    Is the name federally trademarked or can it be trademarked?
    “This is particularly important if the client wishes to expand into other states, wants to franchise or potentially plans to sell,” Briggs explains. “Lacking a trademark could prevent growth.”

Sometimes, Briggs says, it makes sense to “tweak” an existing name rather than rename.

“This can be effective, especially when the name isn’t ‘bad,’ but is a bit generic in nature and trademarking isn’t possible,” she says. “We can augment the name—adding another word that isn’t considered merely descriptive to help make it more unique and memorable.”

Renaming From a Digital Perspective

Navigating the digital world is an important factor in the decision to rename or not. When you’ve worked hard to optimize your website and other digital assets that keep you top of mind and help generate leads, you don’t want to lose that momentum. That’s why it’s important to make this decision in conjunction with a strong digital partner.

Here’s what three respected digital experts had to say about the renaming process:

Eric Thomas, co-founder and president of Rival Digital, pointed out that company longevity is an important factor from a digital perspective, too.

“For many older companies, with domain names that have been registered and utilized for many, many years, with citations, listings and backlinks all across the web, it can be extremely difficult to work with,” he says. “But it all depends on their current online presence. If their current presence is bare and they are practically non-existent online, there is less harm in a name change.”

Bernie Ollila, vice president of special operations for 1SEO Digital Agency, says the upsides of renaming from a digital perspective include:

  1. Enhanced SEO
    “A new, relevant name can improve search engine optimization if it’s executed with a strategic approach,” Ollila says.
  2. A fresh start for your online presence
    A rebrand allows you to revamp your digital presence, including websites and social media profiles, to better reflect your business values and goals, he says.
  3. Increased engagement
    Renaming can generate excitement among new and existing customers.
  4.  Alignment with current trends
    Updating your brand can help align with current market trends and customer preferences.

Other upsides, says Katie Donovan, co-founder and CEO of CAMP Digital, include better recruitment results and better image results. Image results, Donovan says, are becoming very important, especially since Google recently announced a greater focus on searches beyond text.

A Great Brand Can Reduce Your Marketing Spend

Businesses with weak names typically need to spend more of their marketing dollars on attracting online attention. When you have a memorable name and brand, customers will find you much more easily (and organically).

For instance, 1SEO helped us compare the branded monthly organic searches of 15 KickCharge brands vs. 15 non-KickCharge brands. Our brands averaged over 1,600 more searches per month, a whopping 252% increase! You can read more about our findings in this blog written by Dan Antonelli.

All three digital specialists agreed that the biggest downsides of renaming are the initial cost and the effort involved.

“The main downside,” Thomas says “is just having to unpack, redirect and rebuild things like backlinks, citations and listings.”

“If you are not working with someone that knows what they are doing,” Donovan says, “it can suspend ad accounts such as Local Services Ads (LSA) accounts. It can cause Google Business profile issues and more as well as negatively affect your current installed customer base.”
Strategically transitioning from the old website to the new one is essential, the experts say.

“My advice, and what we practice at Rival,” Thomas says, “is to keep the old website/citations/listings/etc. live for roughly 12 months while the new website and brand have time to generate some traction organically. Business owners need to practice extreme caution when renaming and not completely pull the plug on the old brand too soon.”

Getting Past the Jitters Has Its Rewards

While renaming your company is a major change, it is one we recommend for a reason.
“When done correctly, I have seen as much as an 18% reduction in cost per leads over time,” Donovan says. “And this is when cost per leads were going up for others!”

Says Ollila: “With proper SEO practices, the rankings and traffic should recover over time, potentially within a few months. If the name is more relevant and the rebranding is executed well, it can lead to improved SEO performance in the long run.“

According to Ollila, the best practices for rolling out a new name in the digital space include having a comprehensive plan, a solid SEO strategy and consistent communication across all digital platforms to avoid customer confusion.

“To mitigate risks and monitor customer response,” Ollila says, “you should gradually introduce the new brand. You should reach out to employees and stakeholders early to gain their support and ensure alignment. Just as importantly, you need to clearly communicate the reasons for the name change to customers to maintain their trust and loyalty.”

“Be prepared to be uncomfortable all around,” Thomas says. “It is a lot more than just changing the name and re-wrapping some trucks. Work closely with all of your marketing partners to get the process handled properly and you’ll be fine!”

Briggs says one of her most important roles in the renaming process is helping to address each specific concern that may be holding a client back.

“For example, when a client is afraid of the new brand getting lost,” Briggs explains, “I educate them on how we have a great strategy to launch the brand, reintroducing them to their existing customers and getting in front of new customers. I help them see that reaching out to loyal customers with wonderful news about a brand evolution can shake trees, making them top of mind to loyal customers, who are their best brand ambassadors. I help them to see that while renaming does add an additional layer of cost, time and effort, it is very doable when you follow a proven implementation strategy.”

How about you? Are you looking for expert advice about whether it makes sense to rename your “baby?” Or do you already know it’s the smart thing to do? We’re ready to help! Request a quote online to get the ball rolling on your project. Or, to connect with our team, contact us online or give us a call at 908.835.9000. We look forward to hearing from you!

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