Colin, our MD, emphasises the importance of research when rebranding.



I recently read an article about why and how a number of CEOs had chosen to go through a full re-brand and change the name of their business. This immediately resonated having gone through a similar process ourselves almost three years ago.

There were many reasons highlighted in the article for deciding on a complete re-brand. For one company, their name no longer reflected what they did. For another, their previous name gave the impression that their business offered a completely different service.  There were also cases where businesses were looking to expand internationally but their name included terminology that would only resonate in the UK or was already being used in other markets. Mergers and acquisitions are also triggers to change.

For us the decision to re-brand to Mustard was driven primarily by marketing reasons. Firstly our clients and partners were telling us that our previous name, Ci Research, did not reflect the personality of the business and what we were like to work with. They said our name was a bit dull and boring, whereas our clients saw us as more fun, lively, dynamic and flexible, which was nice to hear. Secondly we had prospects telling us that Ci Research wasn’t memorable. It didn’t stand out from all the ABC and DEF Research agencies out there and it didn’t evoke any desire to work with us. Based on this feedback, the decision to re-brand was a no-brainer!

The article did highlight a number of important things to consider when going through a re-brand – some obvious, and some less so:

–          Involving your staff in the process to get their buy-in from the outset

–          Doing all the appropriate checks to make sure your chosen name is legally viable and that the domain name and Twitter handle you would like to use are available

–          Developing a clear communication strategy to inform your customers, partners and suppliers and staff about the name change and the reasons for it

What stood out for me though was that a few of the businesses did not conduct any market research as part of their re-brand process, even though they recognised the risk of getting it wrong. Market research can play an important role in the process and should not be ignored or dismissed lightly:

–          Conduct market research at the start of the process to understand current brand perceptions. This is important to inform thinking on your new name and positioning and ensure that any positive values are not lost.

–          Use creative and projective questioning techniques that we often adopt for qualitative research to generate a list of new names for consideration.

–          Test the shortlist of names under consideration to see which one appeals most and why. And not just with your existing customers. Prospects, staff, referrers and perhaps even suppliers are also important to consult.

The last point is critical. We could have ended up with a completely different name had we not researched our shortlist of names. Mustard was the name that tested most positively, and we are now realising the benefits of our re-brand; a 75% growth in business, and working with a number of great new clients, such as Peugeot Citroen, Hiscox and Tangle Teezer.

Would we recommend going through a re-brand? If there are logical reasons to do this then definitely, but make sure you build market research into the process.