Enterprise’s move to revive an old name could set a trend

This week we welcome back an old friend with the renaming of global branding giant Enterprise IG as The Brand Union.

The Brand Union was originally conceived by Glenn Tutssel and Martin Lambie-Nairn in 1992, in their pre-WPP days, as a cross-platform entity that could allow areas of design beyond their branding and broadcast heritage to plug in. It stood for quality and was ahead of its time in its perception of how branding would develop.

Following the acquisition by WPP in 1999, the name was redeployed as an umbrella for the main design businesses within the group.

Simon Bolton, now worldwide chief executive officer of The Brand Union, says Enterprise’s new name heralds a wholescale relaunch for a group that has been tarred by a perceived lack of creativity. This is changing, partly because of the input of Tutssel, now UK managing creative director of The Brand Union, and a strong new line-up across its 21 offices worldwide.

It will be interesting to see how much the name change refocuses the business. It is something a brand consultancy would suggest to clients seeking to reposition, but without huge effort it can amount to little more than rebadging – and a fat consultancy fee.

What is unusual is that Bolton has picked a name that existed within the group. If the move fulfils the promise he has made, it will prove you don’t always have to look forward to succeed.

Charlie Hoult has already established that at Loewy – one of the oldest names in design – with even the mighty Seymour Powell happy to be associated with it. David Worthington did the same with the Conran name in 1996 when he adopted the name Conran Design Group.

The Brand Union doesn’t yet have quite such illustrious credentials, but it will be fascinating to track the outcome. Could it prompt a return of clients’ names discarded in the repositioning fever of the 1990s, when the likes of Diageo and Consignia failed to sway the critics?

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