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
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
"It gave us a huge jump-start - we had everyone in place from day one,"
Teresa Poggenpohl, the director of branding and advertising at
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
"We'd been doing the activities but we capitalised with the name change
attention to remind people we were a much broader organisation,"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.