A name is the ultimate branding tool. And if one name doesn't work for you, think about switching to another. Here, Special Events Magazine interviews four event professionals who describe how their business name change changed their bottom line. Our inter-viewees: Tony Conway, CMP, president and owner of Atlanta's A Legendary Event, formerly Legendary Events; David Merrell, president of Los Angeles-based AOO Events, formerly An Original Occasion; Dorene M. Collier, president of Dorene Collier's Event Show Productions in Tampa, Fla., formerly Eventions Show Productions; and Liz Madden, sales and marketing manager of Global Infusion Group in Watford, England, formerly Intercontinental Group.
SPECIAL EVENTS MAGAZINE: Why did you change your company's name?
CONWAY: We decided to change the name once we saw that we needed to move to the top of the alphabet to increase awareness. It has worked well in vendor listings in publications as well as with our venue partners who offer clients lists of preferred caterers.
MERRELL: It was time for us to change from what was a “mom and pop” type of image to a corporate image, largely a reflection of the business that we now handle. So we are in the process of changing back to our corporate name: AOO Events.
COLLIER: There are other companies out there with the Eventions name. We know this because when a client finally finds us, they've relayed the story of what they had to go through to find us.
MADDEN: We decided to change the name of the group to reflect the global expansion of the business and to remind our existing clients that we had more than one division within the group. The previous name seemed a little old-fashioned and didn't reflect the fun, vibrant company that we are. Also, by coincidence, the acronym for the group is GIG, which links to our 24 years' experience touring the world with bands. The divisions within the group are Eat to the Beat, Chevalier Event Design and e2B Logistics.
SPECIAL EVENTS: How did the name change affect business?
CONWAY: The business, or at least the calls, increased dramatically.
MERRELL: We are just in the process [of changing our name] now, but I don't think it's going to be such a big stretch.
MADDEN: We had a positive response to the name change, and clients realized that we had two catering divisions within the company: Eat to the Beat, offering production and tour catering, and Chevalier Event Design, providing bespoke corporate hospitality and catering.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Did you have any doubts about the name change?
CONWAY: None whatsoever.
COLLIER: We certainly had doubts about changing the name because we were something else for 18 years. But what we are seeing is that people know the name Dorene Collier, so by adding that to the name, it has been beneficial. Plus it isn't that far from the original, so it is not as though we are completely unrecognizable. We tend to use ESP — short for Event Show Productions — when we're speaking to clients.
MADDEN: The only doubts we had were that people wouldn't understand why we had made the change, but these fears were allayed as people seemed happy to accept the re-brand and understood our reasoning behind it.
SPECIAL EVENTS: How did you get the word out to clients about the name change?
CONWAY: We communicated the name change through direct mail and in all of our advertising and marketing pieces.
MERRELL: We will be doing an e-mail blast in conjunction with a new Web site design — a complete image makeover.
COLLIER: We hired a PR company to help us spread the word. They sent out a release specifically on our name change, and each time they send stuff out on us now, there is a mention of the name as well as our logo.
MADDEN: We contacted all our existing clients and informed them of the change and issued press releases to the trade press. Then all the marketing material, stationery and Web sites were re-branded with a brighter new image for the group, all of which received a very positive response. We updated the old logo to ensure some continuity and recognition.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Would you consider changing your name again?
CONWAY: Sure, as long as it fit with our overall mission and the product that we provide.
MERRELL: This will be it I think, no changes after this. It can be too confusing for past clients.
COLLIER: No. It won't be necessary. If it isn't broken, I do not think we should try to fix it.
MADDEN: Funny you should ask that as we are just in the planning stages to change the name of Chevalier Event Design to Upbeat Event Design. We are making this change due to the fact that we are opening offices in China and the United Arab Emirates. In those places, the name “Chevalier” does not translate very well.
A Legendary Event
404/869-8858 or 800/775-9530
Dorene Collier's Event Show Productions
Global Infusion Group
44 1923 211702 (U.K.)