Sometimes, a company needs to change its name, no matter how long it's had its current identity. Whether it is to project a new image, necessary due to legal complications or due to controversy, a company name change can be tough to plan for. Not only must you make sure that your customers are informed of your decision, but you must let employees, key affiliates, investors and the media know about the change as well. With a well-thought-out plan, announcing a name change can be a smooth process.
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Develop a plan to inform customers of the name change at least two months in advance of your official announcement--this is especially important if you have a retail or service business that caters to the public, as opposed to other companies. Try to get the news across to your customers in different ways, such as in your newsletter, by posting signs, sending out e-mails, producing a commercial or placing strategic ads. You should also think about how to concisely convey to your customers why you're making the name change.
Make a list of those who need to be informed of the name change internally. This typically includes suppliers or vendors, employees, stockholders, investors, sponsors, and affiliated companies. It is often best to let this set of people know about the change before announcing it to the public, at least two weeks in advance.
Ask that everyone keep the information about the change confidential, and let them know who the company's media representative, spokesperson or publicist is. This will be helpful once the announcement is made because if anyone from the media asks an employee or supplier a question, they can refer them to the company's official spokesperson.
Draft a press release announcing the change, and have it sent to your local media outlets at least a week before you plan to publicly announce the name change--this will allow them time to decide whether they want to give your announcement live coverage.
Send a press release announcing the name change to any professional or industry associations the company belongs to three days before you publicly announce the name change. This will ensure that the organisations don't announce the name change before your company does it officially.
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