One can only speculate whether Google would have achieved its rise to the top of the corporate tree had it kept its original name of “Backrub”.
Although the name Essentra is unlikely to follow the internet search engine in evolving into a transitive verb, Filtrona can but hope that its rebranding is met with more success than some notable past attempts.
When Yell, the deeply-indebted publisher of the UK’s Yellow Pages, changed its name to Hibu, its chief executive agreed that the name held no meaning at all, but hoped that it would appeal to a young audience unfamiliar with paper directories.
The name of Everything Everywhere™ – replete with trademark symbol – was created for T-Mobile and Orange’s mobile telephone UK joint venture, but this was promptly altered again to the arguably even more generic EE.
Other high profile rebranding about-faces include the 2002 aborted move by PwC to use the name “Monday” for its demerged consulting division, while in the same year Royal Mail’s renaming of the Post Office to “Consignia” also went by the wayside.
However, some rebrandings have stood the test of time. Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness in 1997 to form Diageo, the name – a combination of “dia”, being the Latin root for “day”, and “geo” representing the world – suggesting that the alcohol maker’s tipples are enjoyed globally every day. Although the name initially raised eyebrows, it has ultimately achieved widespread acceptance.
But whether the former Kraft snack food group now known as Mondelez – an amalgam of the French for “world” and a variant of “delicious” – garners similar approval over the coming years remains to be seen.
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