In this article I will be looking at the rebranding experiences of a well-known company called Moz (formerly known as SEOmoz), providing a few solid reasons to change the name of your business if your company name is anything like the old “SEOmoz” name. There are several different reasons why a company may need to change its name but here we will examine just a few points made by Moz’s founder and CEO Rand Fishkin.
1. For Growth and Change
The old name, SEOmoz, is the same style of name as countless others. It is a way to quickly explain what the company does while maintaining a unique identifier.
There are only a few different reasons why a company chooses to prefix or suffix their company name with a company description, (like the “SEO” in “SEOmoz”). The most common reason is because the domain name the company was originally after was not available or too expensive to obtain. Moz.com was either far too expensive to consider purchasing when the company was founded or it was simply unaware of better name strategy.
One problem with this type of name is its inability to expand or reach into other markets while staying true to its name. Having “SEO” in the company name essentially restricts the company to SEO, or at least expresses this to people who hear and see the name. A new visitor might be thrown off to learn that the company actually provides much more than just SEO.
The switch to “Moz” provides a much more engaging name. It demands that we learn about its unique products or services instead of finding it unilaterally through a single word in its name. This new name also now gives the company the ability to easily grow or change its products and services without having to worry about expensive rebranding efforts.
Some of the largest company names in the world have been around for decades, sticking to its original name but have moved several times to new and more markets. For this reason, a generic, nonspecific name is best for any company. It offers a message that this company is more than what meets the eye, we provide something exciting and new.
2. For Openness and Sincerity
In the same paragraph of the article mentioned above, Rand Fishkin writes, “Calling ourselves "SEO"moz is no longer transparent and authentic. …[It] is disingenuous, and that violates our core values.”
Not only can it be confusing for visitors that SEOmoz offers more than SEO, but a user may even feel misled or deceived to learn otherwise. This is what Rand Fishin meant about being “transparent and authentic.” Breaking the concept discussed in our number 1 reason, “For growth and change” Moz was suffering from one its unintended future consequences; not being open and sincere with their audience.
Avoiding product or service descriptive names ensures that you are always being clear about what your company is. Generic, one-of-a-kind names, like the ones available at Brandroot, sidestep any possibility of being insincere even when your company experiences changes or growth in the future. It is a safe style of name that will always remain a genuine representation of your company.
3. For Control of Identity
“For many folks outside of our community, the acronym SEO has (unfair) associations with spam or manipulation.” – Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishin’s fight to invalidate or overturn inaccurate preconceptions about the term “SEO” is not an uncommon problem. There will always be individuals who have some sort of negative impression towards a company that uses a common term within its business name.
Not all of us think of words and phrases with the same reaction. Distinct connotations arise in each of us according to our experiences and involvement with that word. What SEO means to SEO expert Rand Fishin will likely mean something different to you and me. By using a name that is not an actual word, like the new company name Moz, you avoid prejudices that were produced by other companies or experiences your visitors may have had with that word.
Take preventive measures by using a new and unique word as the name of your business. In this way you have nearly full control over the image you want portrayed for your business. It is also a name you can easily protect and ensure is positioned precisely the way you want.
4. For a Rebranding Opportunity
“…A rebrand is a chance to earn a second look from people who've long known us and had associations with the company.” – Rand Fishkin
The rebranding of any company often suggests that the changes in the business are so paramount that they warrant a new name. In the case of SEOmoz, their current focus on software and their desire to be viewed less as an SEO service was a reason for their rebranding decision.
Changing the name of your company does not mean losing current customers, it means encouraging people who once thought they did not need you to take a second look at the new you. It means gaining new customers. It is a chance to revitalize your business and give it a new spark in your industry.
Rebranding is all about repositioning your new business.
One of the biggest issues a new company has with finding a new name is finding one that has the .com address available. Brandroot offers an impressive list of new, available business names, each one sold as a .com domain name.
We’ve experienced the difficulties of finding reliable business names, so we applied our knowledge and experience to a visual domain marketplace where every listed domain name has the potential to serve as a great business name. Also, every name comes with a professionally designed logo. The logo is a visual tool to assist you in your decision process and is by no means required to use with your new name.
Feel free to share your feedback or comments below. I hope this article has brought you closer to understanding how to choose a name for your new startup or towards the rebranding of your old name.