Businesses change names. As customers, we have to evolve with the change, but it affects our emotional side. Why do businesses change their names? What makes memorable names catch on?
Take Kinko’s. Founder Paul Orfalea gave us the name Kinko’s from the nickname given to him for his curly red hair. This company of humble beginnings kept the fun and catchy name for more than 40 years before the merger with the FedEx brand. FedEx now wants to phase out the Kinko’s name entirely, in favor of “FedEx Office.” But when I need to print 50 formal invitations in a hurry, I still search online for the nearest Kinko’s. So, why would a company mess with a good, strong name and brand? Their vision that FedEx isn’t just about deliveries prompted them to take a stand by putting the FedEx name in the place of the household name Kinko’s.
If you’re over 30, your warehouse style shopping might have started at the local Price Club (originally named for warehouse pioneer, Sol Price). The name lasted for years, before their big merger with retail giant Costco, resulting in the name PriceCostco. Later it was shortened to simply Costco. It took years for folks to make the mental switch, and many people still call it Price Club.
These names become a part of our language, our culture, and our daily experiences. Should a company change their name when they’ve already got a strong following? It’s an important question for businesses to consider when they’re on the verge of additional growth.