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Our Newsletter

Change of Company Name

We have been making company seals for large and small entities for over 27 years. In that time we have engraved some very unusual company names onto a wide variety of company seals. You might ask "What is in a name?"  Many company names are never used as trading names and will only ever appear on official documents as opposed to large signs above the door. A company which is going to trade in the company name, however, must give serious thought to its respective market and what kind of an image that company name will convey. Many companies register a trading name separately to the company name or brand.  

So the first thing to look at is:

Will you be actively trading in the name of the company?

Will you be registering a "trading as" name through the company or using a trade marked brand owned in the name of the company?

Obviously, the most important company name to get right is the name that the public will identify with your company ie. The large flashing sign above the door, or the name on the box, as opposed to the small discreet brass plate at your registered office address.

So why have a change of company name? Some possible answers relate to takeovers and mergers, styles and trends, changes in vocabulary, alignment with domain names and visibility via the net, change of company focus and branding etc. On the other side of the coin, some companies have to change the name because the original company name became soiled  ie. like various financial institutions in Ireland (the banks) which have recently seen name changes because the names were no longer an asset in the eyes of the public. Change of a company name after bad publicity is quite common. 

Certain company registries will limit the use of words related to licensed activities which convey or misrepresent that company's' activities. When a change of company name is planned, check carefully  for barred words at the appropriate jurisdiction's registry and, of course, check availabilty of desired company name before passing any resolution.

So what can a change of company name cost a company when they get it wrong?

Let's look at Tesco. In late 2006 it entered the US market full of optimism for its new chain which would take smaller sized shops to poor Americans under the new brand name "Fresh & Easy" .  My  American wife burst into laughter on hearing the name! I did not get it. She explained that it was more like the description of a woman of  ill repute. Then boldy announced it will fail based on the brand name alone! Hmmm.  I  checked the name with some of our  American friends - each time I got the same reaction of complete disbelief.  A few even thought that I was winding them up - I had to prove that Tesco had indeed named the American chain "Fresh & Easy".  If only Sir Terry Leahy and Tim Mason had consulted my wife.  Teso have in late 2012 announced it's intended withdrawal from the US market and a potential loss of one billion pounds!

Obviously, there were many other factors at work in the demise of the "Fresh and Easy" chain but if you do not  get the company name correct you can bet nothing else will be right. (Oh, yes my wife adds that Americans love coupons and neither did they have any of those). 

Note: beware of a change of company name in foreign markets. My wife has a brother by the name of Randy! Popular boys name Stateside - I kid you not.  Tesco were as apt in the naming as I would be in encouraging my wife's brother to relocate to the UK!

Here is the link to Companies House Change of Name Form  - Proceed with caution.