Q&A: I Don’t Like My Business Name. Should I Rebrand?
Did you know that Instagram used to be called “Burbn”? (Yeah, that’s right, after the alcohol).
The check-in features of the app failed to gain much traction, but one thing about Burbn did catch on—its photo-sharing capabilities. That’s when founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger decided to pivot. They rebuilt the app with a focus on sharing photos in a way that was much easier than any of its competitors.
During this time they also changed the name from Burbn to Instagram, which makes perfect sense. Burbn, as a title, doesn’t do a lot to tell people what the app actually does. (If I didn’t know better, I’d probably guess that it was like Yelp for alcohol.) The name “Instagram” (with “Insta-” taken from the word “instant” and “-gram” coming from the Greek suffix for drawing) on the other hand, gives you an idea of what to expect before you ever download the app.
All this is just to say that names can change, and if you think that it may be hurting your brand, there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up.
I’ve overseen a couple business name changes while working in marketing, and my advice is just to communicate those changes clearly to your customers. You can do this through an email or social marketing campaign, and you can use a clever redirect on your website to make sure people know how to find you. You can even use your current fans as brand ambassadors and ask them to help you get the word out.
And who knows? Maybe that name change is just what you need to push your business in a new and exciting direction.