Branding Name Change: The Berry Formerly Known as RIM

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Blog | No Comments
Branding Name Change: The Berry Formerly Known as RIM

The big tech news of the week is BlackBerry Z10’s release, but it’s followed closely by RIM’s name change to….drumroll please… BlackBerry.

The long awaited device contains features like: an intuitive keyboard, BBM video with screen sharing, and a huge change in design from our old memories of the BlackBerry. We will all have to wait and see how this pans out with loyal RIM (I mean, BlackBerry) fans, but until then, we’re interested in the name change. When big brands decide to leave their original titles behind, there’s usually a pretty good reason behind it. Sometimes, a brand is changing its market and wants to appeal to a different audience. Other times, a business is trying to escape a past mistake affecting their brand’s reputation.

Let’s take a look at a few of branding’s big name changers (see what we did there?).

 1. RIM to BlackBerry

Reason: As BlackBerry’s CEO Thorsten Heins said in the press conference, “One brand, one promise.”

It’s been proven by the popularity of Google over Yahoo!, as a search engine, that when a business shows a single focus, customers have more faith that the object of this focus is great. Now, BlackBerry isn’t saying that they are only creating smartphones, but with a brand that unmistakably declares its focus, consumers might be more willing to believe that they do it well.

2. Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris

Reason: To bring new freshness to the 50-year-old couture fashion house after the death of its founder and the beginning of Hedi Slimane’s reign as Creative Director.

 Some people called this summer’s change before Slimane’s first runway show a simple publicity stunt, generating a ton of buzz by those horrified at the renaming of the iconic brand. Others say that the new leadership is showing who’s boss. For those interested in branding, like us, this stunt proves how emotionally attached the public can become to a name, especially when the name still contains one third of the original!

3. BackRub to Google

Reason: Because, “I’m just going to Backrub that” or “I just Backrubbed you” is a little strange. Ok, this might not be the reason, but it would be weird, right?

Doug Aamoth reported on Time Tech that, “In 1997, Page and Brin decide to rename BackRub to something else. “Google” is born. It’s ‘a play on the word ‘googol,’ a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the term reflects their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web,’ says Google.”

A name is just one way that a brand identifies itself, but it’s one of the most difficult parts of a brand to change. You can tweak a logo, but renaming needs to be carefully considered and timed perfectly – which is why the BlackBerry name change coinciding with the release makes sense. If there was ever a brand that could use a fresh start, BlackBerry would be it.

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