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Retail Rebranding: The Name Game

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

This is part 5 of 10 in a series by Craig Carl, SVP Creative Director, The Integer Group Dallas

During a rebranding, someone always asks, “Do we have the right name?” Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to question the name. Kentucky Fried Chicken needed to distance themselves from the word “fried”, so they adopted KFC. It seems to have worked, since they can now sell the “Double Down” sandwich: two fried chicken breasts (the meaty bun) sandwiching bacon and cheese. Irony can be a tricky thing, even with chicken wings.

For the most part, though, the customer doesn’t care what the name is as long as the experience is good. Banana Republic began selling khakis and camouflage in a store reminiscent of a banana republic. Palm trees and rusted-out Jeeps were the visual theme. Camp shirts and flip-flops filled the shelves. Twenty years later, the ghost of Che Guevara has been banished, leaving in its place a contemporary, trend-setting clothing store. The only trace of the tropics is the name. And then there’s Crate andamp; Barrel. The store hasn’t seen a crate or a barrel in years. Pottery Barn and all its retail Barn cousins bear no resemblance to life on a farm. Old Navy? Undeniably landlocked. Fossil? Brand-new stuff, no bones. And we can only guess at the meaning behind Fuddruckers. If the brand offering is positive, the name is accepted with open arms.

Next Week, Retail Rebranding: The Brand Filter

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