How much does your name matter?
One of the very first steps once we decided to rebrand was to evaluate whether we needed a new brand name. A new brand name is not a necessary element of a re-branding exercise, and it’s certainly not suitable in some situations. We needed a cost benefit analysis. This was where my actuarial analytical mind came to be handy.
Generally speaking, a new brand name can cause confusion to existing customers and undo past marketing efforts. However, the younger the brand is, the less it has to lose. In our situation, Global Handmade was only 10 month old, so it was definitely a young business. On the other hand, we were certainly aware of the implications of a name change, and the amount of work that this would create. So it all came down to this: could we come up with a brand name that’s significantly better than Global Handmade?
Looking back, I think “Global Handmade” failed at least one crucial test. It didn’t imply what the organisation stood for. When I attended networking events, people often looked at my name card and asked what ‘Global Handmade’ was. Their first guess would be some crafty business. They were certainly right because most of our products were hand crafted; however, the name said nothing about what we stood for or that the products were fairly traded. When I first chose the business name, I picked something that described what the products were. But after 10 months of business experience, I came to the realisation that what we stood for was far more important than what we were selling. People bought from us not because the products were hand crafted, but because they supported our values and they supported fair trade. In other words, a lot more people were interested in fair trade practices and ethical products than the method of production. I realised that the brand name had to be changed.
The length of time that it took me to decide on a new name was about 10 hours. By now, you might have realised that I’m the sort of person who jumps on things. In less than 24 hours, I had registered a new business name, bought four new domains, set up two new email accounts, and set up a new private company.
Why did I choose ‘Oz Fair Trade’? Because it was available, it implied exactly what we stood for, and it implied that we were a locally owned business. It was also very important to check the availability of domains. I wanted to get four domains i.e. ozfairtrade.org, ozfairtrade.org.au, ozfairtrade.com and ozfairtrade.com.au. There were some other names that could have worked, but at least one domain was not available. Once the decision was made, I quickly registered all four domains. The default domain at the moment is www.ozfairtrade.org.
A new brand name also meant new business cards, new promotional materials and a new logo. Have I mentioned that I’ve learned so much about Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in the past 10 months? It took me a few late nights to finish the design of all new marketing materials, and then they were off to the printer. Could I take a rest now? No…the fun has just begun…
Coming soon: How to rebrand an e-commerce store (Part III) – How much does your website matter?