When Matt Certo opened his Orlando-based web-design and implementation business from his dorm room in 1995, he chose a name that fit his services. As his business grew and the industry changed, Certo added more services and experts to the company, which eventually offered a full range of online branding services. Following successful operations for 19 years, Certo and his team chose to rebrand the company as Findsome & Winmore to better reflect its scope of services. By doing so, Certo was taking the risk of diluting his brand equity and confusing customers, but the company managed to successfully transform itself.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Certo)
According to Certo, the hardest part of the process was choosing a new name. “We knew that the artwork, iconography, color and typography would come easily, but the name was the hardest! We went through hundreds of names and had dozens that would have worked. It was just hard to decide on just one. It’s like visiting your favorite ice cream store with 30 flavors and knowing you have to leave 29 behind. Once we did decide though, we put on our blinders and forgot all of the rest.”
One hurdle to the rebranding process was the costs associated with informing current clients. “We did not take short-cuts and tell clients to do the same thing. We had re-printing costs, cost of new signage and cost of overhauling the website, social media profiles, etc. You also find out that you have to make pesky, tedious changes to every document that bears your name — things like contracts, forms, agreements and even the caller ID on your outgoing telephone calls. Overall, I consider it among the best investments we have made in the company. We shot a video, which was also costly, but we found this to be the most critical part of explaining our name change to people.”
Although re-branding came with a risk that the original brand equity would be diluted, Certo found that this was not the case. “It becomes a community conversation starter, ‘didn’t they just change their name?’, as well as an opportunity to retell your story. We had a bit of fear that people would not know how to find us, but they did. Using website re-directs, e-mail forwarding and otherwise, people who didn’t know you changed your name tend to find out pretty quickly.” He also found that the marketing strategy naturally shifted. “We used to specialize in just website development. Even though we provided other services, clients assumed we didn’t have competence in other services like social media and brand identity development because of our name. Even though our name was a good one and told customers exactly what we did, we wanted a brand identity that broadened the umbrella a bit and gave us more room to run.”
If your company has outgrown its original name, it may be time to consider rebranding. It may be time-consuming and costly, but Certo can attest that it is worth it.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for Small Business Pulse