Before Muhammad Ali stunned the world at The Rumble in the Jungle, he was an upstart boxer from Kentucky named Cassius Clay. Before Freddie Mercury lit the music scene on fire as the frontman for Queen, he was a young boy from Zanzibar named Farrokh Bulsara. When it comes to the icons that define our culture, so many of their stories begin with a name change that propelled them from rising stars to legends in waiting.
But when it comes to the business world, is a name change as significant of an evolution as some might believe? Would Kentucky Fried Chicken have lost its greasy grip on American diners if it hadn’t been abbreviated to KFC? Would Yahoo have had its moment in the sun as the hottest homepage of 1997 if it was still called Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web? Would a fintech startup by any other name not smell just as profitable? To answer these questions let’s explore some of the most memorable rebrands of the past few decades to see just what’s in a name.
Facebook Goes Meta on the Market
Perhaps the most significant rebrand in recent memory, Facebook left users, investors, and competitors scratching their heads after abruptly changing their brand name to Meta in October of 2021. Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg offered several reasons for the change, including the need to unify its disparate product offerings, like the recently acquired Instagram, under a singular holding company. But perhaps the most interesting motivator was a shift in corporate strategy to focus on the Metaverse, a virtual world that Zuckerberg believes will be the proving ground for the next generation of digital platforms.
Accenture Axes the Andersens
Before Accenture became the purple-hued titan of industry that it is today, it was originally Andersen Consulting. In late 2000, however, the brand hastily announced that beginning in 2001, the company would lose Andersen’s name and forge its own path in global management and technology consulting as the newly formed Accenture. The massive upheaval was primarily due to a court decision ordering the severing of all ties between the company and Andersen Worldwide. But, what began as a massive breakdown would turn out to be a major boon for Accenture, as its former sibling company, accountant Arthur Andersen, was revealed to be a party to the infamous Enron scandal of 2001.
WWE Loses the Rumble Against the Jungle
Not all rebrands are born from Machiavellian marketing schemes. If you’ve ever wondered who’d win in a battle between a bodybuilder in spandex and an endangered panda, you might be surprised to learn the answer has already been settled in court. Yes, one of the most infamous name changes in the entertainment industry came about due to an ongoing dispute between the then-named World Wrestling Federation and the World Wildlife Fund over who could have the coveted acronym WWF. But, as any true Monday Night Smackdown fan knows, two men may enter, but only one leaves. In 2002, the wrestling organization changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment, making the conservationists the undisputed heavyweight champions of the litigation world.
Google Stirs Up Some Alphabet Soup
Jumping back into the chrome-tinted world of Silicon Valley we come onto another famous rebrand in the tech sector, Google’s incorporation into Alphabet. First announced in 2015, the establishment of the holding company Alphabet allowed Google, along with associated product lines like YouTube, to be brought under a unified umbrella brand. Much like Facebook’s meta transformation, Google’s evolution into Alphabet showcases the true power of a rebrand, the ability to change customer perception alongside a change in corporate strategy. By changing the company’s brand name, Alphabet signals to the marketplace that its vision and corporate strategy have grown beyond just providing search and video products.
Turn Your Brand Name Into Your Business’ Biggest Asset
While the examples we’ve run through today have all been global players in their respective markets, a brand name change is just as powerful of a tool for businesses of any size. If you’re considering retooling your corporate image, working with a brand strategy agency like Bluetext will ensure you get the most out of your marketing. We’ve helped businesses across industries with rebrand success stories like:
- BlueHalo: Formed by the merger of three engineering powerhouses, Bluetext helped bring BlueHalo to market and supported its debut as a leading provider of advanced engineering solutions and technology to the national security community.
- LookingGlass: Providing unparalleled insight and visibility into cyber threats, LookingGlass is a premier cybersecurity provider that relied on Bluetext to craft its brand strategy and empower an effective corporate launch.
- Axient: A key player in the defense, aerospace, and cyber markets, Axient relied on Bluetext to bring together several Quantitech-owned firms with one unified brand.
Take your next step toward success with a branding agency that leverages market-leading expertise to bring out the best in your business.