05 June 2010

Renaming the brand

Businessman on a ladder with paint rollerI see Vince Cable has quite rightly pointed out that President Obama is, deliberately or unintentionally, ratcheting up anti-British sentiment by continuously referring to the Gulf oil-spill 'bad boys' as "British Petroleum" when they are no longer British, having changed their name a decade ago to simply "BP", in order to reflect their multi-national status.

But who can blame Obama for missing the subtlety? It's one of those weasely name changes that companies make when they are quite happy to let confusion reign.

Put another way: if their name was degrading their brand, they would rush to make a distinctive name change in order to make the separation clear.

We have our own examples in the travel sector.

Why is BAA not dropped in favour of their parent company, Ferrovial? After all, Abbey became Santander when their Spanish parent took over.

It can only be because it suits Ferrovial that everyone in the UK still thinks of the principal UK airport operator as the "British Airports Authority".

And what about bmi? Have they gone far enough? They DO want to be dis-associated from their regional roots, but hands up everyone who still thinks of them as British Midland?

Flybe have probably just about got away with it because theirs was a two-step change - from Jersey European Airways to British European, then FlyBE.

It's not easy to change a brand name completely - nobody wants a Post Office/Consignia fiasco - but the name of the game these days is 'transparency'. Companies who like to conveniently hide behind an old identity should be regularly 'outted'.

Can anyone think of any others in the travel sector, who have either been successful, or not, with a rename?




No comments: