Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Names may change, but things stay the same. What's in a name, really?
In this edition of #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to November 18, 2010 and m discussion of when Google first announced their "Google Places" service.
Well, honestly, there's not much to say about Google Places any more since it changed its name to Google My Business in October 2014.
A business or product name is supposed to give you a clue of what that product or service is. Personally I don't like the name "Google My Business" because that sounds like a verb phrase more than a service noun.
They've done it again recently too. On May 20, 2015 Google announced that "Google Webmaster Tools" was changing its name to "Google Search Console." Their reasoning was:
We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well. What you all share is a desire to make your work available online, and to make it findable through Google Search. So, to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search, we've decided to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.
The Search Console name change better reflects the users of their service tool, rather than what the tool does. This doesn't make sense to me today, but knowing Google, they have a plan to expand Search Console into different areas tomorrow.
While I don't recommend name changes as frequent as what Google does, I have to admit that they appropriately change names as services morph from one incarnation to the next.
Your product name, service name, and even your brand name are arguably the most important component of all your marketing. Names shouldn't be chosen lightly.
There are certainly times when a name change is immediately appropriate. If you've taken a marketing class in the last 20 years you've probably heard the tall story of the Chevrolet Nova and how GM had to change the car's name after sales bombed.
A more appropriate, and a real, example of an immediately appropriate name change was the flip flop of Belgian chocolate maker changing its name from Italo Suisse, to ISIS, then to Libeert. They didn't research the name ISIS before choosing it, and nearly killed their business.
Naturally you don't change a brand name without seriously considering what's involved. Changes in your brand name will haunt you for years because it takes such a long time to change your entire corporate identity.
Your corporate identity includes all your traditional printed materials (business cards, signs), and all your sales tools (website properties, brochures, products). Even if you aggressively try to change all occurrences of your business name, there will always be one more place you forgot about.
Google changes the names of their services to better represent how those services have changed over time. Libeert Chocolates was forced to changed their name because sales plummeted because of their negative name association with the ISIS terrorist organization. A third reason to change a name is to more accurately describe what it is you do, or represent.
My own business went through a few name changes since 2008. My original corporate name was a contraction of my last name, which was then changed to JewelerWebsites.com in 2008 and then Jeweler Websites, Inc. in 2012. We had hoped that these name changes would better represent our dedication as website programmers for the jewelry industry.
Little did we know that the name would come back to bite us in the ass because we completely overlooked how the nature of our business was changing. By early 2013 website programming was no longer the primary focus of our business... websites were transforming from the simple marketing tool to a business tool that we used to provide consulting services.
Eventually we figured out our mistake and rebranded again as Sapphire Collaborative in 2014. We are the "collaborative" team that helps jewelers and designers now.
Effects of a Name Change
Although it might seem like a really odd suggestion, even a jewelry store could change their name as a marketing tactic to increase business.
Let's imagine that my fictitious retail jewelry store, Perosi Jewelers, has a pitifully declining business. My business is still declining even though I've tried different marketing, adding blogging to my website, tried to engage socially. The truth is that I just can't seem to attract the new wedding generation to my store.
Sadly, the local community knows we are a small retail jeweler that's been in business since 1970, and the store looks 45 years old too. It's time to remodel the inside of the store and give the outside a facelift. It's also time to rename the store!
If this were a real store, I would probably rename it to Perosi's Jewelry Design Center. Not only would I rebrand all my marketing around custom design, but I would also change the presentation inside the store to fully support an atmosphere that promotes custom design instead of picking boring items out of a showcase.
Coinciding your new branding with remodeling and a store name change will transform you from the same old local jeweler into an exciting new concept that attracts a different set of clients. Those clients are the ones who walk in expecting that their custom design item will cost anywhere from $2200 to $4500.
Sure, you might lose the people coming in looking for a $10 watch battery, but do you really care? You'd have to change 220 watch batteries to have the same sales volume as a single $2200 ring.
You might also lose all those $40 bead sales, but again, how much time do you spend with people sifting through your bead displays before you manage to sell 55 of them? It's much better to service one customer for $2200 than 55 people at $2200.
Conclusion: Throw Back A Few
I never really know where these Nuggets will wind up when I start writing. This wasn't so much a #ThrowbackThursday as I thought, but a bit of a mix of Google name changes and why you might want to change your own name.
Seriously though, give this some thought. Does your business need a severe change to help it to the next level? Or get it out of a rut? Go throw back a few tonight and give this some thought.
Changing your name gives you the opportunity to start over with the wisdom you've gained from the previous incantation of the business.
Take it from me, that rebranding your business creates a lot of new business opportunities as long as you are correctly renaming yourself to better describe how your business has grown.
And remember, it's nobody's business but the Turks'.