Changing Names and Creative Direction

Changing Names and Creative Direction

Previously I discussed how to pick the right name for a business and/or blog and mentioned it's fairly important to avoid backing yourself into a corner by limiting what you can write about and the products you can produce. If you have picked a name and already grown to dislike it, changing it doesn’t have to be a bad thing - it can be incredibly positive.

Chances are the reason you want to change your business or blog name is because your creativity has changed direction, which could mean a name change is the right decision. Changing your business or blog name can move you away from what were previously working on but have grown out of, and into something new. The process can provide you with a fresh start by putting some distance between your previous work, helping you transition into creating new products or content with a clean slate.

Reasons for Changing your Business or Blog Name:
- It’s too general.. or too specific
- It’s outdated or irrelevant
- It has negative associations
- It can't be found online
- It’s too simple to another name
- It isn't copyrightable
- It isn't easy to spell or remember or pronounce

I changed my shop name and it came at a time when I was on the cusp of migrating from Etsy to BigCartel but also from the handmade community itself. I was consciously setting myself apart by “getting serious” about running the shop as a business and no longer as a hobby. The name change provided a clear distinction between amateur and professional - it reflected how serious I was about turning my craft into a business. Major changes were happening behind the scenes and the name change provided a clear distinction between what the shop was and what I wanted it to become.

Really think about it
Before making any changes, really think about why you dislike the old name; consider your options. Being bored with a name isn’t a good enough reason to change it, there needs to be a substantive reason for doing so - especially if you’ve been trading under it for a long period of time. If your name is easily misspelt, too generic, or causes confusion it’s definitely worth considering a change. Taking a new creative direction or wanting to put some space between negative associations are also strong reasons for making changes.

No name is going to be perfect
You might dislike your name.. but does anyone else? Are they even bothered? Often it makes no difference to customers or readers what the name of your business or blog is - if the product or content is good, they’ll keep coming back regardless.

Consider brand equity
If your brand has been established for quite some time and become well known, changing your name could be incredibly destructive. The earlier you decide to change, the better as it will prevent loss of sales or readers. If your old name has a strong following, consider changing the name but keep the logo and branding.

Be prepared for an initial dip in sales or readers
It’s going to happen but as long as you cover your bases, you can limit the damage. Remember, an online footprint will remain directing people to your old name and site. Inform Google of the changes and keep your old site running for as long as possible to direct users to the new one. Do your best to redirect traffic and inform people of the change in name.

Name Change Checklist
- Choose the new name
- Check there are no legal reasons why you can’t use it
- Check all social media handles are available
- Register your new website and all social media platforms
- Redirect your old website to your new one
- Switch email address and redirect emails
- Update email signatures
- Notify the HMRC or Companies House of the name change
- Trademark the company name if you need to
- Consider all IT-related naming issues
- Use PR and blogging to publicise the name change
- Consider using “doing business as.." to alert people
- Notify your bank to update account names
- Update invoices, stationery, business cards, and other printed materials
- Amend the content of your website and newsletter
- Notify any directions that list your website
- Make sure all social media profiles use the new name and link to the new website