Thursday, June 12, 2008

Can you outlive your reputation?

Today I had a meeting with Avanade. Avanade is a global IT consultancy with unique connections to Accenture and Microsoft. Avanade is not what this post is about.

When I hear the name Accenture I venture down memory lane, recalling their re-branding efforts and how (or if) they’ve paid off. I can rarely remember the name Accenture, but I still have a quick recall of Anderson Consulting. When someone speaks about Accenture my brain automatically jumps to oh yeah, Anderson Consulting. It poses the question – Can you outlive your reputation?

The name trick my brain plays on me reminds me of my parents. Growing up there was a small grocery store in the village in which we lived. It was named IGA. However, my parents rarely called it that, because when they moved into the village it went by a different name, Corns, I think. I used to wonder why they could never remember the new name. It took years for them to call it by its proper name, only to have the store bought by another chain, its name changed once again.

Maybe it’s nostalgia that makes us recall things by what we first knew them as. Or maybe it’s a resistance to change. Whatever the reason, there’s a lesson for marketers to take away. Name changes are hard. Don’t go about them lightly, unless no one knows who you are. And if that’s the case, change your name, make it memorable and make a splash. But don’t change it again after that. Unless of course, you’re trying to outlive a scandal.

Image by Slack12

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