UK to benefit from US surplus

UK designers are well placed to benefit from increased spending on naming and corporate identity in the US, according to the president of a leading New York consultancy.

The mushrooming retail sector could prove a particularly rich vein, predicts Anspach Grossman Enterprise president Jim Johnson. The group has just released the figures for its annual naming survey.

The increase in work will come about through the continued trend for corporate name changes, identified in the findings.

This shows the number of name changes in the US rose for the fourth consecutive year in 1997, with 1625 companies changing their names – an increase of 10.5 per cent on 1996 and 62 per cent on 1993.

Mergers and acquisitions accounted for the highest number of name changes at 743 (up 8 per cent on 1996), followed by 632 straight name changes (up 20 per cent) and 176 from divestiture, spin-off and sale of assets (down 2 per cent).

“The number of name changes acts as a barometer to the growth of the design industry. Our research has shown that the more name changes there are, the more design work there is around,” says Johnson.

Johnson says UK groups with US arms are among the main beneficiaries of the increased work.

However, “UK consultancies without US branches are also benefiting because there is an overflow of design work out of the US and UK designers are generally regarded as the best of the competition. Five or ten years ago this wasn’t the case,” says Johnson.

The financial, industrial and manufacturing and communications sectors continued to record the highest level of name changes last year at 319 (20 per cent of the total), 272 (17 per cent) and 261 (16 per cent) respectively.

But Johnson says the greatest opportunities for UK designers in the US lie in the retail sector, which recorded a 42 per cent increase in name changing, to represent 3 per cent of the total.

UK groups are well positioned to benefit from the opportunities created, because they have a great reputation in the US, he adds.

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