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Reimagining Your Brand for a New Vision and Mission

Reimagining Your Brand for a New Vision and Mission

Sometimes we start with a good plan and later get a better plan. That may mean renaming and rebranding your business or non-profit. I’ve been there with my own business and worked for businesses that went through the process. I’m helping a non-profit through this process now. It takes a lot of planning to do well.

Naming and Re-naming

In grad school, I was fascinated with naming and wrote a marketing paper about “The Art of Semonemics.” I’ve got it on a 3.5 floppy disk somewhere. Semonemics comes from Greek “Semon” for sign and “nemeon” to appoint. It is the art and science of the creation of company names using marketing factors. In short, the business name itself needs to communicate some of what your business means to the customer. I started my business with the name “GAMA Health Technology, Inc.” with the idea of focusing on secure IT services for healthcare, but that soon became too limited. I went through several exercises to find a new name.

One exercise is to get a few people to brainstorm with you on creating a new massive TV or internet commercial for your core “Brand X” product. Look for inspiration in popular TV, music, and movies. Imagine a dog food company doing this and creating a little team of horses pulling a chuck wagon through the kitchen to feed the dog, with the dog chasing after it. The actions and the imagery then lead to the name “Chuck Wagon” dog food (TM of Brand Squared, LLC).

Convey Meaning

The other thing to consider is using word parts or phrases which convey meaning, yet can be combined to create a usable name. Try mind-mapping to generate words for use in the naming or tagline for your business. Start with your basic product or service in the middle. Next, add everything that describes your customers, the product, the services, and especially the feelings associated with it. Using these ideas and exercises should quickly yield a short list of possible names.

Large companies that plan to invest heavily in branding, should also include identifying name variants, psycholinguistics analysis, and global semantic analysis. The latter is how Exon was branded. Overall, your goal is to find something short, memorable, and usable to convey meaning for your brand. Offering popular women’s necklaces such as pendants, chokers and chain necklace. Shop for jewelry in a variety of metals and gemstones to suit any occasion

History vs. New Beginnings

There is always a temptation to keep parts of the old name combined with new elements. The time to do this is when the old name or brand carries a lot of “Blue sky” or positive name recognition. However, brand names, including church names, can also carry a lot of negatives. Some churches are now not only dropping their former denomination name, but also dropping the word “Methodist” altogether. Other congregations keep “Methodist” because they were Methodist long ago and into the future.

The time to rethink branding is when the old name carries mixed feelings among customers or potential customers. Exon started with a fresh newly invented word to build their brand upon, but if you mention the word “Exon” today, most people still associate it with the “Exon Valdez” oil spill. Hopefully, you have positive elements to keep and build upon.

Name Availability

Today, we have to consider name availability across legal domains, internet domains, and social media. In the US, start at the US Trademark and Patent Office’s search system for basic availability. Remember, trademarks carry a very broad amount of legal protection so even similar-sounding names can be successfully defended by existing trademark holders. Consult with an intellectual property attorney for specific advice.

As for domain names and social media searches, my favorite tool is NameVine which does some basic searching for availability.

Beware of false negatives. Be sure to double-check social media platforms. In this example, Namevine found some sites unavailable, but searching Facebook and Twitter finds the name available.

As for web domains, unless you are really in love with a name, don’t pay domain name squatters. It is like feeding the bears, it just encourages them and there are plenty of other names available. Most domain name sellers will even provide a domain name search tool showing similar, available domain names. Keep it short and simple.

When you finally choose a domain name, (the words behind www), you have to decide the ending, such as “.COM”. This part is called the TLD, or Top Level Domain. There are many to choose from, including “.church” for churches. I encourage clients to purchase the “.COM” and the “.ORG” just in case people type the wrong ending. Your web programmer can route all the domains to your main website.

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Photo by Eva Bronzini on

Putting it Together

Using the steps above, I narrowed the company services menu down from general IT services (desktops, servers, and secure networking) to high-value services around databases and business intelligence. The commercial we dreamed up was a team taking lots of raw data and turning it into usable information for a smart business team. That process leads to a mind map of words about data, intelligence, thinking, cognition, reporting, and information. Name availability searches narrowed it down to the current name,

As for using the new name visually and rebranding with logos, I have previously written about hosting a logo contest to generate lots of ideas and designs for your new brand. It was cheaper than a design firm and generated lots of great ideas. Check it out.

I’ve been there and I’m rooting for you. Email if you need help.

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