If you're Enterprise IG, a WPP Group agency with a moniker more familiar to fans of "Star Trek" than clients, you change your name.
After more than a decade of confusion regarding its corporate identity, the shop will be henceforth known as the Brand Union. Executives hope the change will forever cease comparisons between the company and a rental-car agency or pointy-eared aliens.
"Enterprise IG wasn't reflective of who we are," said Rita Rodriguez, the agency's U.S. CEO. "There was confusion about what [the name] represented. It represented different things to different people, both internally and externally."
Far from easy
The relaunch, in the works since December 2006, offered a somewhat ironic opportunity for the company to turn its tried-and-true methods -- used with clients such as DuPont, Hewlett-Packard and Malibu in recent years -- on itself. But while the executives involved were experienced in the branding field, the switch was far from easy. In fact, dozens of global clients were consulted, and more than 100 names were considered before the agency settled on the Brand Union.
"When we got to that name, it just seemed right," said Wally Krantz, executive creative director, U.S. "It suggested strength through the organization and common goals. It was a clear identifier -- especially coming from Enterprise IG, where there was a lot of 'What do they do?'"
The change is not solely abstract or superficial. Employees across the company's 21 international offices will undergo extensive training related to the company's new positioning, and the agency will unveil a revamped corporate website and blog as well. All of its "touchpoints" -- letterheads, stationery, even ice cubes with the new logo -- will be altered to reflect its updated identity.
Perhaps most important, as WPP's planning director, Jon Steel, explained in a corporatewide video, the relaunch will help the company be more competitive in the marketplace, where his research suggests that potential clients turned to rivals such as FutureBrand and Interbrand due to their more-appropriate corporate names.
It's all a welcome relief for Mr. Krantz, whose own mother wasn't above teasing her son about the agency's former moniker. When the creative director would travel and call his mother from a company phone, her caller ID would read "Enterprise," prompting a repeated remark: "Oh, you must be at a rental-car company.'"
"That joke got really old really quick," Mr. Krantz said.