Enterprise IG reports fall in name changes

Global naming activity fell last year from its peak in 2000 as the business environment slowed following the economic downturn, according to Enterprise IG’s latest research.

Crashing dotcoms and fewer mergers and acquisitions led to name changes falling 7 per cent since last year, with 3602 worldwide as opposed to 3893 in 2000. The majority of these renamings, 2774, were in the US and 169 were clocked up in the UK, the next largest market.

‘All major drivers of name changes, such as mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, personnel changes at director level and demergers were full steam ahead in 1999-2000. We’ve now seen a cyclical drop-off in all areas,’ says Enterprise IG director of strategy Simon Williams.

Enterprise IG’s report highlights the resurgence in Latinate names such as Altria, formerly tobacco giant Philip Morris. In addition, clients are going for names that suggest ‘substance, longevity and trust instead of saying “I’m different”‘, Williams adds.

He cites Internet search engine PurpleYogi, which rebranded as Stratify, as an example.

‘Remember, many of the crazy names of the dotcom era sprang from a wish to fast-track trademark registration. A distinctive and memorable name was often a secondary concern,’ he says.

Latin-style names can be alienating, says Interbrand director of verbal identity John Simmons. ‘[They] send an elite signal. The best names have personality, which is hard to convey if there’s a barrier to understanding,’ he says.

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