There is a long tradition of professional services firms being named after founding partners. As companies grow and change with the times, there are numerous factors and triggering events that lead to questioning old paradigms and reconsidering a firm name: market changes; a partner’s departure or succession plan; and distancing the company from negative associations are but a few.

The question is, how does a firm’s leadership decide when the company’s name is in the way, and then what do you do next? Renaming a company is serious stuff and can have tremendous benefits and consequences.

For this webinar we invited Heather Smith from Architecture49, Chris Pollard from Ratio Architecture, and Tom Sutherland from DIALOG. These three experienced partners from notable architecture firms who have been through the renaming process for a frank discussion about their experiences, the lessons they learned, and results of the process.

Topics discussed include:
• Measuring the value (equity) in an existing company name and triggers that might motivate a company to rename
• The renaming process itself, including how to identify a name that resonates with meaning
• The typologies of names and key considerations when choosing a name
• Gaining consensus among partners and staff
• Launch a new name effectively

Some themes that arose from the discussion included:

• Only rename for the right reasons, be it a triggering event like a merger, consolidation, leadership changes, or radical shift in business focus—but make sure it is a strategic choice to better serve your clients and grow the business
• It’s never an easy process and requires lots of research, including consultation with clients so they know what’s happening and aren’t surprised
• Keep things in perspective and lower the temperature (reduce anxiety) surrounding the process by focussing so much on the name, but on the underlying brand promise to your clients, who often more about that than what you call yourself
• A smaller committee can help avoid too many opinions leading to weak solutions, but collaboration and consultation with those most affected is important
• It’s important to leave time for reflection in order to get it right, sometimes scrapping good ideas to go back and do it again until it’s great
• Launching a new name and brand requires a strategic, focussed, staged process and a commitment over time to get the message out there

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