Surveys show increase in the US naming game

Clare Dowdy +44 171-439 4222

More and more US companies are adopting a new name in an effort to reposition themselves in crowded markets, two new surveys reveal.

Anspach Grossman Portugal’s annual study of more than 8300 companies shows that 1153 companies renamed themselves in 1995 – up 4 per cent on the previous year and leading to an increase in corporate design work.

These figures are reflected in Interbrand Schechter’s survey of name changes by listed public companies: “The 60 big-board companies that undertook changes represent an 8.6 per cent increase over 1994 and a record number for the decade,” the report says.

The most significant change is the rise in new corporate images for the sake of repositioning, an increase from 16 per cent to 27 per cent, says AGP manager of business development Nancy Senken: “Companies are trying to redefine themselves in tight market places and this could be done with a whole new identity and name.”

Corporate name changes in general in the US have increased for the fifth year running and continue to be dominated by the nation’s merger mania, according to AGP.

Interbrand Schechter’s findings back this up. Mergers and acquisitions accounted for most of the changes in the financial services sector, where new “branding” names were often adopted to unify expanding operating units.

AGP links the number of new identities directly with the state of the economy. “If the economy remains steady we predict an increase for 1996,” Senken says.

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