Reasons for rebranding

Company announcements about rebrands tend to either make me laugh out loud or feel physically sick. They usually reveal a complete lack of understanding of what a brand actually is.

The confusion is that a lot of people believe a brand is a name or a logo. It’s actually something much more interesting, it’s the overall perception that people have of the company.

I know of a business which went through an expensive rebranding exercise whilst giving poor customer service which resulted in bad online reviews. My view is that the most important part of the brand is the public perception created by the interactions with the customers. The Pantone color of the new logo is not very important in comparison.

Because it’s so much easier to change the logo than to change the perception of the brand, many people fall into the trap of concentrating on the wrong thing.

There are a few occasions where changing the logo and brand name of the business does make sense. The most obvious is after disasters: the Windscale nuclear plant in England changed its name to Sellafield after killing roughly 100 people in a nuclear accident. British European Airways rebranded as FlyBE to avoid the first Google result being the death of 118 people in a crash.

Assuming that your company has not been involved in a public disaster, the other good reason for changing the name is if the nature of the business changes: for example Wire and Plastic Products rebranded to WPP when they switched to the advertising business.

Machine Labs was named because we use a lot of machine learning in our product (which is a type of AI). Machine learning is incredibly useful for email marketing and we use it for segmentation, generating subject lines, recommending products and working out when is the best time to contact customers.

But customers are quite confused by the name because it is very hard to make the link between the name “Machine Labs” and the benefit of increasing sales by better email marketing.

So for simplicity we are rebranding to EmailRevenue. There’s a nice new logo showing sales going up through email. The rebrand will be done on October 29, to commemorate the first ARPANET message sent on that date in 1969.

SEO is also very important to us, on Google and also on the Shopify App Store. In both cases most of the terms we are targeting have the word “email” in them so we expect to get a big boost to having email in the brand name and the domain name. It will be interesting to see what the results are.

The only negative is that we do a lot of things beyond email marketing. But you can’t get everything into a name without it sounding like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob – the longest named town in the UK.

The main reason people use Machine Labs is to increase their email sales, so EmailRevenue it is.

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