Customer Experience News & Trends

Rebranding: What were they thinking?

Recently, there’s been a small wave of companies rebranding themselves by using their acronyms. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the stupid in rebranding.

The good

National Public Radio wants to be called NPR because the media company isn’t just about radio anymore. It has other means of distributing programming and information, such as its website.

The YMCA, originally the Young Men’s Christian Association, now wants to be known as simply “The Y.”

In both of those cases, the moves may be smart because people already say “NPR” and “The Y.”

The bad

When British Petroleum bought the American Oil Company, it changed most Amoco gasoline stations in the U.S. to the BP brand.

The company said BP now stood for “beyond petroleum.” After the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, some said it stood for “burning the planet” or “billionaires playing.”

Now, some BP retailers want the company to go back to using Amoco in the U.S. to distance their gas stations from the oil disaster.

The ugly

The Wisconsin Tourism Federation actually used its acronym, “WTF,” in its logo. After the jokes started, not only did the Federation dump its acronym, it changed its entire name to The Tourism Federation of Wisconsin, also known as “TFW.”

A Harvard Business Review (aka HBR) article suggests some questions to consider when rebranding:

  • Could rebranding help distance the company from a tainted brand?
  • Do customers already use the initials?
  • Could the acronym we’re considering embarrass us?

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