When expanding into a new market you no longer have the brand equity you had in your own town, don’t be caught with an business name no one understands.
Consider Your Business Name When Expanding
During our Brandings meetings we discuss our favorite company and product names and some that we feel don’t really make the grade. In fact the bad business names are the best part of our discussion! Recently a name came to our attention that is not horrible but we fell misses the mark. It’s a bank called Peoples United Bank.
While all together it’s not a horrible name, the general consensus among the staff here is that is has very Communist sounding name. Reading the history of the company that goes back to the 1840’s in Connecticut, when it was called the Bridgeport Peoples Savings Bank, I can firmly say that there is no connection to the Communist Party!
That said, in 1955 they changed their name to Peoples Savings Bank, then again in 1983 to Peoples Bank and finally to Peoples United Bank in 2007. We’re not sure which of then names they should have stayed with (maybe Peoples Bank) but the name is not right.
Maybe it’s the words “people” and “united” or maybe it’s the combination of the two of them together but it makes everyone in the office think of Tienanmen or Red Square. In a totally non-scientific research test our Brandings team member asked some members of his family and some friends how they felt about the name.
The results are in, and again this was a non-scientific marketing test, and could well be flawed (everyone asked was a friend or family of the questions) but universally, everyone gets the same “communist” feel of the bank.
We’re sure that naming a bank must be extremely difficult and you’re going to run into a lot of trademark issues, you’re also going to run into an issue of finding a good .com domain name to go with the name you choose but there has to be something better.
Great Examples of Business Names Ready for Expansion:
With over 28 Billion dollars in assets they should have done better. My guess is that they wanted to “reconnect” with their roots. We’re sure that there are more ways to make a subtle nod to your past and move your name forward without changing the character.
Even if you’ve had your business name for almost two hundred years and you have a great name in your local community as Peoples United Bank has, once you start expanding into a community where you have no brand equity (learn more about brand equity here) you have to consider how people feel about you. That’s really what this blog is about.
Your brand equity is only as good as the people who know about you. Don’t let people think you’re an extension of a communist bank because they don’t know who you are!
Let us know what you think of Peoples United Bank, love it, hate it whatever we would love to hear it. If you want to see what Brandings thinks would work well for a Banking or Finance Business Name, just follow the link.
Also do you have any stories of bad business names or even good ones, let us know, post it below.