If At First You Don’t Succeed, Start the Rebranding Process

"times square at night showing the rebranding process"

The rebranding process is often times easier said than done, but it should not be considered an off-limits concept. Especially for startups who may not have the money to pay for professional naming services, it may be that the name you adopt does not resonate with your customer base. The foolish thing that any business can do is to recognize a bad decision but to stubbornly not make the necessary changes. The smart business decision is to start working on the rebranding process – maybe this time with some professional naming help.

If you find yourself in a situation where the rebranding process is necessary, you don’t have to feel alone. Some of the worlds largest companies went through a rebrand.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, originally launched the search engine under the BACKRUB name. After a year of living with BACKRUB, the name was changed to GOOGLE.

Richard Schulze, the founder of Best Buy, opened his first electronics store under the name SOUND OF MUSIC. However, after a tornado forced Mr. Schulze to run a large sale of the damaged merchandize promising “best buys,” which was a huge success, the company’s name was officially changed to BEST BUY.

Steve Case, the founder of AOL, launched the online bulletin board under the name QUANTUM COMPUTER SERVICES. This name stayed with the company while it acquired more than 100,000 members, but was eventually changed to AOL.

Caleb Bradham, the inventor of Pepsi, originally branding the soda BRAD’S DRINK, but about five years later rebranded it Pepsi-Cola. PayPal was originally CONFINITY. Blackberry was originally called RESEARCH IN MOTION. And Yahoo was originally called – take a breath – JERRY AND DAVID’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB.

There are other examples that could have been included, but the point is that business owners should not be afraid to change course on a name if the name originally chosen is not working. Just make sure you conduct a trademark search on the new name first.

Life is Good Learned the Hard Way that Font Style Matters

"Life is Good logos with different font styles and colors"

The goal of every trademark applicant should be to secure the broadest scope of rights possible. One way to achieve this is to rely on the standard character form drawing when filing a trademark application instead of the particular font style used for the literal portion of the mark. We talked about the standard character form drawing in a prior post. However, sometimes protecting the font style used in a trademark makes business sense to do.

Life is Good used a unique font style for its LIFE IS GOOD logo that resonated with consumers. In fact, the font style became something consumers relied on to distinguish LIFE IS GOOD goods and services from others. In 2015, Life is Good substituted the unique font style for a more traditional typeface. This seemingly small change had a large impact on the brand’s image.

The main purpose of the mark drawing is to provide notice of the nature of the mark sought to be registered.  The drawing of a mark is promptly entered into the automated records of the USPTO and is available to the public through the Trademark Electronic Search System (“TESS”) and the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (“TSDR”) database on the USPTO website. A special form drawing is required if words, letters, or numerals are presented in a distinctive form that engenders an uncommon or “special” commercial impression that would be altered or lost if the registration issued based on a standard character drawing.

A trademark applicant employing a unique font style that it recognizes consumers rely on to distinguish its goods or services from those of another company should protect both the literal portion of its mark in a standard character form and its stylized form. The reason to protect the stylized form in this circumstance is that it makes a potential enforcement matter more easy if the infringer adopts a similar typeface as well. But if you don’t know if consumers will rely on the typeface to distinguish your goods or services from others, then just stick with the standard character drawing.

Rebranding Report: MONI Rebrands to Brink’s Home Security

"Announcement of MONI rebranding to Brink's Home Security"

Security Sales & Integration reported that after rebranding from Monitronics to MONI less than two years ago, the company has become the exclusive licensee of the Brink’s Home Security brand. Brink’s Home Security was spun off from The Brink’s Company in 2008 and changed its corporate name to Broadview Security in 2009 as a requirement of the spinoff. Broadview Security was acquired by Tyco International 2010, and its services were transitioned to the ADT brand. There are two federal registrations for the BRINK’S HOME SECURITY mark, which are owned by Brink’s Network.

MONI is one of the largest home security companies in the U.S. with about one million subscribers. Peter Giacalone – a Security Sales & Integration columnist – opined that the reason MONI pulled the plug on its rebrand so fast was because “[t]he MONI brand really had no great impact or history.  It was a good thought at the time, but pales in comparison to resurrecting the Brink’s brand.” First year royalties for the BRINK’S HOME SECURITY mark are reported to be about $5 million.

This story demonstrates what we discussed in a prior post that brand drives revenue. If you have the opportunity and financial means to step into the shoes of a recognized brand, it may be hard to turn that opportunity down, which is what MONI apparently was presented with.