BRANDING CONSULTANCIES: A Corporate Re-Christening - Pamela Buxton charts how Andersen Consulting and The Post Office became Accenture and Consignia to reflect their range of services

No business takes a name change lightly, but sometimes there is no

viable alternative. Both Andersen Consulting and The Post Office

realised this when they embarked on major renaming projects that, at the

same time, examined their entire brand proposition.



In Andersen Consulting's case, there was a legal need for the name

change as part of the management consultant's separation from Arthur

Andersen.



The result was Accenture, created in five months at a cost of $100 million (£68 million) and launched on 1 January.



The Post Office, however, was motivated by the need to have a name that

efficiently expressed the scope of its services beyond postal delivery

and which would be more suitable internationally. With the help of the

branding cons-ultancy Dragon, it became Consignia in March, following a

three-year repositioning that cost less than £2 million.



For its rebranding, Andersen Consulting chose Landor Associates, part of

its advertising agency, Young & Rubicam, and also the company

responsible for its last identity design. This made the tight deadline

achievable.



"It gave us a huge jump-start - we had everyone in place from day one,"

Teresa Poggenpohl, the director of branding and advertising at

Accenture, says.



Andersen Consulting and Landor soon realised that the legal imperative

provided a bigger branding opportunity to spread the word about the

consultancy's expansion into technology, venture capital and

outsourcing.



"We'd been doing the activities but we capitalised with the name change

attention to remind people we were a much broader organisation,"

Poggenpohl says.



Landor also wanted the new brand to project the company as visionary and

forward-looking, and to devise a name that was international rather than

Anglo-Saxon.



The project began with a "brandstorming" where staff at Andersen

Consulting came up with 3,000 suggestions to add to a similar number

nominated by Landor, which ran the project out of San Francisco. This

helped with the internal buy-in and was to provide the eventual winning

idea.



Landor first deleted obviously inappropriate names and put the rest

through trademark searches. A long list of 50 underwent a native

language review to ensure international compatibility and 35 of these

were presented to senior partners and researched among consumers and

businesses. This yielded seven, and Landor began working on visual

identities for all these to ensure that the deadline would be

reached.



Then it was decision time and Accenture rose to the top both internally

and externally as a merger of the words accent and future.The name was

accompanied by a visual identity, which incorporates a "greater than"

symbol to suggest a growing organisation.



"It felt young and dynamic and had a certain timbre about it that was

attractive and engaging," Landor's head of marketing and new business,

Alec Rattray, says.



For the launch, Accenture announced the new brand with direct mail and

television advertising in 48 countries. According to Poggenpohl,

research showed that by May it had regained almost all of its former

awareness while brand recognition of the old name had fallen by up to 70

per cent.



The Post Office rebranding was very different. Unlike the Accenture

project, Dragon was not appointed to devise a new name. It was asked to

examine the future of the organisation in the context of the possible

deregulation of postal services, and an expected threefold rise in the

global distribution market over the next decade.



"Everyone recognised that they were facing some big challenges in their

market and they needed to be clear and sharp," Dragon's brand

consultant, Nina Cooper, says.



Dragon canvassed opinions on the future positioning of the company from

employees as well as the public, business customers, suppliers, unions,

MPs and other European postal administrations. Research confirmed that

change was necessary to reflect the business' new aspirations.



Not only did the old name fail to do this, but it lacked differential

internationally. News emerged that The Post Office was to become a

government-owned Plc, and the decision to change the name was taken.



Dragon was keen that this should retain the organisation's key brand

values of distribution and trust, and should have its roots in a British

word. It came up with thousands of options in brainstorming sessions,

eliminated the unsuitable ones as well as those that were legally

unavailable and evaluated the rest against these criteria.



A shortlist of 20 was reviewed with the client and put in context on

business cards and newspaper headlines. It also experimented with

recordings of the name spoken over the phone.



The final three names were researched with the public and businesses and

Consignia emerged as the clear winner because of its association with

distribution, and because it was seen as modern, international and

prestigious, scoring particularly highly with professionals. It then

settled on the colours of red, blue and green - all of which were

already used throughout The Post Office group - and decided to

incorporate a circular logo to suggest speed and global delivery.



Unlike Accenture, there was no corporate advertising. The new brand was

instead implemented in business-to-business literature and at

Consignia's headquarters.



To the public there is little impact as the names of the separate

businesses remain the same. But Consignia is pleased with the result,

which, it claims, enables it to position itself as a "modern, integrated

distribution company" that provides "tailored and global business

solutions".



While the contexts are very different, both Accenture and Consignia have

new brands that better express their business activities and which, they

hope, will provide a stronger platform for the future.



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