A rose by any other name might smell as sweet if you’re talking about interchanging Montague and Capulet. But will Shakespeare’s words ring true when Saatchi & Saatchi adopts its new moniker, Cordiant? Will the change blot out the wranglings of the past few weeks with its former chairman? Will it stop the flow of clients away from the old group to Maurice Saatchi’s door and attract creative staff of the calibre of those who have defected to join their former master?
Identity specialist Siegel & Gale is no doubt hopeful Cordiant will restore confidence to its media parent. The chummy tone of the name is meant to humanise the group, where once the Saatchis’ surnames personalised it. Meanwhile, comment on this odd made-up name has already put the ill-starred group back in the press, on its own terms.
In truth, no-one will remember the change or the emotion surrounding it, once the controversy dies down and provided the international group continues to perform. Concern that the Woolworth holding company was wrong to change its name to Kingfisher in the late Eighties to distinguish it from its high-street retail chain proved ill-founded. Nor has Michael Peters’ choice of Identica for his team following the demise of the old Michael Peters Group stopped it thriving, even though another design group, Michael Peters Ltd, still bears the man’s name.
The name itself doesn’t matter that much. What does matter is the way Cordiant was developed. If, as is reported, Siegel & Gale presented 17 options, where is its conviction that this name will do the job? What is consultancy if it is not expert advice bought in to aid decision-making? It should not throw up a raft of options so great it demands considerable input from the client at senior level at a time when other fires are being fought.
What is the difference between design consultancies which offer too much choice and clients who demand a 17-strong line-up for a pitch, when two or three would be more realistic? We’re quick to rail against the latter. Why then condone the former, even if it is for “family”?