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There are many instances where a name change for your business is inevitable or an improvement toward achieving your goals. It could be a minor technical change, or it could be a complete overhaul.
Even though it might sound intimidating, there are a lot of reasons you may want to change your brand name, all of which come with great benefits as well as challenges.
Change is difficult for most people in general, so these things have to be handled with great care and intentionality.
In today’s show, we’ll talk about how to bring your audience along with a name change and how to communicate your plans effectively.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Keep in mind that most people hate change.
- Over-communicate with your audience about your name change.
- Be okay with considering silly names that won’t work.
- Look at the questions your audience is asking, concerns they have, and why they listen to this show.
- Choose a name that resonates with your audience.
- Know why people are listening to you, not just what you want to tell them.
- Your name change should help you feel like things are going in a better direction for your brand.
- Listen to the people you’re trying to reach.
- Changing your brand’s name is going to be weird, but it’s also going to be fantastic.
- 01:40 Cory: We want to make an announcement for everyone listening. We want to let you know about a few developments that are happening here on the show. I keep saying “the show” because we are changing the name of our podcast to Invisible Details. The name of our show is going to be Invisible Details. There are a few reasons for this. We’re really excited.
- 02:13 We’re moving forward, and we’re really pumped. Kyle did a little bit of a refresh with our brand artwork, which I’m really pumped about. We’re going to talk about that on this show. We’re going to get a little bit meta. We’re going to talk about the process, reasoning, and all of this stuff. The show is going to continue. There are no plans to pause or cancel it. The only thing that is changing is the name of the show, and we updated the artwork because it looks so good.
Reasons for the Change
- 03:12 Cory: We’re going to get right into it. We’re going to start with talking about the name change for us, the reasons why, and the future of where we’re going and what the direction looks like. This is something that has had a lot of thought put into it. There are a lot of things we didn’t like about the previous name, but there were also a lot of things we did like about it. I liked the idea of going “behind brands.”
- 03:48 When we were first starting off this show, back in September of 2015, when I was first coming up with the idea for it, there was this phrase people were talking about. They were saying, “I just really want to get behind brands,” and that kind of stuck with me. I jumped into using that name without doing any real research. We bought the domain from someone who was just kind of sitting on it.
- 04:18 As we moved forward, you go on Google and see other instances of that name. There are business magazines online, like Entrepreneur or Forbes or whatever, and they have article sections with that name. There was just a lot of confusion there, if you’re searching.
- 04:55 At the time, also, we didn’t have any kind of audience. The people we wanted to help or reach fit into a general, vague category. We didn’t have a specific target audience. We didn’t even have our mission or our vision written out. We just kind of carried on. We’re getting to a point now where the show has grown, and the things we’re doing are moving forward in such a way that we needed to look into having a name that was going to last, that wasn’t going to cause any confusion.
- 05:32 We needed a name that wasn’t going to misrepresent us or anyone else. We sat down and went back to the drawing board, Kyle and I. We said, “Let’s take this podcast and bring it back to its bare essence. What are we trying to do? Who are we trying to reach? What are we trying to help people with? What questions are people stumbling across our show asking?” If you were to go into the iTunes podcast directory and go into Business, what are you going to see? What’s going to speak to you? Kyle and I had a lot of conversations. We went through everything.
- 06:25 Kyle: When it comes down to it, in the show, we typically talk to someone building a brand. Our audience ranges into those who have a brand and want to improve it.
- 06:51 For us in the design world, it’s like, “Well, is that visual things? Or what is that?” Most of the time, you’re not going to search “brand.” You’re going to search for something like, “How do I improve relations with my audience?” Or, “How do I build a business that attracts the right kind of people or speaks the right kind of message?” It’s not about the word “brand.”
- 07:23 Cory: To that, I’ve parsed through all of the emails that people have sent in, and the number one question I get is, “I struggle defining my target audience or connecting with my target audience.” Those are the words that people are using, the terms. We looked at those sorts of things, that data, and we said, “How do we continue to reach more people like the people we’re reaching effectively? Is the word ‘brand’ in and of itself actually something that helps people through the door, or is it a barrier between us and the people who really need the help that we’re offering?”
- 08:06 Kyle: That was the turning point. We had a two hour call, and we went over a bunch of stuff. We thought through what we were doing. The next day, we had another call. We were getting fatigued at this point. Maybe we have a decently good name, but the domain name is taken or it’s copyrighted, and it’s like, “Ugh, we have to go through all these things.” Then we said, “Wait, we need to pull up what everyone’s talking about. What is our audience saying?”
- 08:40 At this point, we get emails and feedback from everyone listening. When we started going through that, that was the turning point—really seeing what the audience’s struggles are and the gap that we are helping to fill made the name change so much easier.
When I first chose the name of our show, I based it off of gut feeling and didn’t really do any research.
There is a lot of misunderstanding around what a brand is.
Prepare Yourself for Resistance
- 09:09 Cory: The first thing you need to understand, the first thing that we need to understand, is this:
- 09:19 I don’t know if you remember, but there used to be this meme. Years ago, when Facebook was developing their UI, the experience, the newsfeed, and all of this. They would change the look of Facebook every couple of months or so. It became this thing where everyone would bash on Facebook. “I don’t like the new look! I don’t like the change!” But two weeks later, no one was talking about it anymore. They had already gotten used to it.
- 09:48 What that highlights is that change is very difficult for people in general. It’s very tough. Whenever you’re changing something with your brand or business, you have to acknowledge the fact that there will be a significant number of people in your audience who get uncomfortable. Verizon had this really cool logo and now they just have the one that looks like Helvetica with a check mark.
- 10:20 That’s weird. There will always be people who struggle with the change. You have to acknowledge, as the one running the brand, that there’s going to be some hardship there. Over-communication is vital. In our case, there were reasons why we chose the name Invisible Details, aside from the domain being available. We sat there so much. We were both on domain checkers, trademark checkers, and social media checkers. It was so good.
- 10:59 Kyle: I was using my Macbook Pro, trying to get somewhere a little bit more relaxed where I wasn’t at my desk the whole time. I had two Safari windows. One was our notes, and the other was domain checker. I was on a call with Cory… It was super focused. It’s tough, though.
Change is difficult for people—people hate change.
Picking the Right Name for Your Audience
- 11:31 Kyle: With both of us, I noticed this fatigue. You go through so many names, and it’s like, “That kind of sounds good.” There comes a point where you say, “It’s good enough. Let’s move on. That’s fine in some respects, but also keep in mind, this sticks with you. You’re changing a name. It’s not like there’s nothing associated with it yet. You’re changing it from one thing to another.
- 12:02 It’s a bigger responsibility. I want to mention that, because we had an episode about choosing a name (Related: e030 What Am I Supposed To Name My Brand?). In that episode, we were like, “A name is important, but it’s not worth spending a huge amount of time on.” It’s not worth not starting your business over.
- 12:29 I still believe that’s very much true. The problem we had here was that we needed to change the name, and we needed a name that would resonate with our audience. We’ve built an audience. We have a business. We have something going. We’re changing it, not just making something new, and I think that’s a very important aspect of what we’re talking about with our name change and this episode in general.
- 12:53 Cory: It was good.
Why “Invisible Details”?
- 13:01 Cory: I want to talk about the intentionality of why we chose the name Invisible Details for our podcast. Just as Kyle said a little bit ago, when I first started the show, so many people said, “So are you guys going to talk about design and how to have a good logo and stuff?” I was like, “No, that’s not what it is. That’s not what it’s all about.”
- 13:45 We want to get back to empathy, human connection, and all of those little details that emphasize your business, your brand, and connection between you and you customers, your audience. There are so many aspects of the things we talk about that are not visible to the people in your audience. They see the results of it. They see how you connect with them. They see the outward movements, but we want to focus on the details that are unseen, that aren’t talked about as much.
- 14:25 We want to take those complex ideas and break them down into simple, tangible ways to deepen your impact with the people you want to reach. We went through a bunch of different names and ideas, and when we landed on Invisible Details, I stopped and said, “That’s it.” That’s what we’re talking about. That’s what we’re trying to help people do, what we’re trying to help people improve—those details that are behind the scenes.
- 15:00 All of those things that make up an incredible experience with your customers and your audience, all of those things add up together. After hours and hours sitting there, looking at it, Kyle and I looked at each other and said, “Huh. Are we just too close to this? Do we need an outsider’s opinion?” We had something like 300 names, and it kept coming back around. Once we looked at that, we said, “I think we’re onto something here,” and it started to make more sense. We started connecting the dots a little bit.
- 15:38 There is something to be said for when you’re trying to come up with a name in general or change your name, when you see that one, all of the pieces line up together, the domain is available, no one has the trademark or copyright, no one has the social media handle, there isn’t a brick and mortar and a website—you get that feeling, you look at it, and you go, “Okay. I can see this. This resonates with me really well.” In addition, you need to look at it and say, “This is right for my audience.”
- 16:27 It must be right for the people you’re trying to help. If it’s great for you, that’s secondary. It’s really important, but you have to have a name that’s absolutely right for your audience.
- 16:40 Kyle: I originally created the artwork for this show. If you look at the heart symbol we have in the artwork, it was going behind the scenes, seeing what the inner workings are of this thing that you really love. Anyone with a brand wants people to love it, to be attracted to it. That’s what the original symbolism was in the first place. Invisible Details highlights that, but in a different way. You see the inner workings of this thing and what’s going on inside to make you feel that way about a certain thing.
With this show, we want to get past the things that everybody sees into the foundational aspects of what makes a brand.
At the end of the day, the name of your brand has to be right for your audience first.
The Process of Choosing a New Name
- 17:27 Kyle: This show is about connecting with people. I wanted to mention that even with the artwork. It worked so well. It fit what we had already been doing so well. Obviously, we intentionally tried to find something that fit what we were doing and what our audience wanted. We didn’t hold back names. We had some really laughable names. That’s important to highlight.
- 18:23 Put them out there. We were typing a list. We would have a potential new name, search the domain name for it, and search around to see what was going on with that name. We would say, “This one is taken,” but we would leave it on the list. That way, we could go back through and say, “What stands out to us? What is it about those that stands out? How do they achieve our goals?” We weren’t just putting down a name, erasing it, and putting another one down.
- 18:49 We had a huge file for this thing. I think that’s really important. We sat down and put down a bunch of key words. We started with stuff we typically talk about in the episodes, words we say a lot or ideas we talk about a whole lot. Then we also considered things that you, as the audience members, were sending in. We looked at things you were asking questions about, concerns you have, and why you listen to this show. We expanded from there. I loved this process. It was very conversational. Nothing was held back. We had “Coffee and Clovers” as a potential name for goodness sakes.
- 19:42 Cory: That was a late night idea. In my tired, child-sleep-deprived evening, I was like, “Kristiana, I have the best name!” In the morning, I was like, “I hope I didn’t text that to Kyle,” and I totally had.
- 19:58 Kyle: I thought you were really serious about that, and I was like, “Umm…” You were like, “It works so perfect!” I was like, “Cory, go sleep for a while.”
- 20:10 Cory: It’s so bad. I kind of liked “Masked Brandit Podcast.” On a practical level, when it comes to naming your brand, here’s what we did.
- 20:31 Then we had a couple of line items here. Major themes, what is a brand, our unique advantages, key words… Then we started just spitting them out. We talked about format ideas. We even wrote out things like, “Why wouldn’t this work? Why does this work?” We had a lot of different ideas. It was really good. We had some feedback from an audience member who happens to be our boss. We talked with Sean, and we said, “You’re one of our audience members, and obviously, you’re in on this.”
- 21:09 We just asked him questions. We asked what he was looking for and how the show has helped him. It was really good. There are two things I hope you will take away from this show. One, you need to communicate with your audience a lot if you’re changing the name. For instance, Invisible Details is the name of our new show, and the name of our show is Invisible Details. It needs to be communicated.
- 21:39 Kyle: We changed it to Invisible Details?
- 21:41 Cory: Yeah! We changed the name of our show to Invisible Details.
- 21:43 Kyle: Oh, Invisible Details.
- 21:45 Cory: In fact, you can go to InvisibleDetails.com and find us there. You need to communicate to your audience and communicate a lot.
If you’re trying to rename your brand, be okay with considering silly names that won’t work.
We wrote out our mission, our vision, and our audience.
Listen to Your Audience
- 22:03 Cory: You need to communicate with a lot of grace, because there are going to be people who have a hard time with grace. Finally, and this is very important, you need to be listening to the people you’re trying to reach. You must listen. If there’s anything we can talk about on this show that I’m very passionate about, it’s that you need to listen to your audience, your customers, the people you’re trying to reach and who are being impacted by your business, by your brand. It’s absolutely vital.
- 22:35 Kyle: Like I said, that was our turning point. We knew how we felt about the stuff we had talked about. We had feedback in the chat on seanwes.com, and we’re thinking through these things. Really, to me, the big turning point was when Cory opened up the emails and we read through emails we’ve received. That was such a big impact. Also, some of the feedback Sean gave us helped a lot. It was great to hear open and honest feedback from someone who listens to the show.
- 23:11 He gets things out of it and knows what he wants from it, which isn’t necessarily what we’ve decided that it should be about. Of course, we’re going to continue in the direction we’re going in.
- 23:35 Cory: There are plenty of examples where companies have changed their names and have been successful. There are many where they have changed and it hasn’t been successful. Apple Computers changed to Apple Inc, and they’re doing just fine. That was a very pivotal move for them, because that was a statement. They were saying, “We are not just about computers anymore. We are about devices, technology, something greater.”
- 24:04 That was huge. Starbucks used to be Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice. That was the name of their company. Do you remember Research In Motion? They made Blackberry. That was a big deal one time.
- 24:33 Kyle: I’m going to give you a name, and you’re going to tell me what company you think this is now. I’m going to give you the original name. Okay, I’ve got it. I had to look it up and make sure—BackRub.
- 25:30 Cory: Oh, I know this one!
- 25:44 Kyle: Google. That was the original name of Google. BackRub.
- 25:50 Cory: You can go to google.com/about/company/history, and it’s right there at the top.
- 25:57 Kyle: That’s just… no.
- 25:58 Cory: It’s really uncomfortable.
- 26:00 Kyle: It’s weird.
- 26:16 Cory: Can you imagine if that was still their name? Like, “Hey, I’m going to go BackRub that.” The worst. Sometimes, it’s really important to change the name of your brand.
- 26:42 Kyle: Well, I think this highlights a really important detail of changing your name. It’s not always a bad thing, something that’s going to cost you. In all of these examples, these are companies that we know. These are brand names we know better than their original name.
- 27:18 Really, that’s how I felt through this entire process. I know that there was a little bit of concern. “Are people going to latch onto the new name? Is this going to be a good direction for us? At the end of the day, we started with a name that had no real substance to our audience, because we didn’t have one. Now, we’ve taken what everyone said that listens to the show and made it into a new name. It has much more meaning and substance than the original name ever had. If anything, it’s a better, brighter direction for the future.
- 27:58 Cory: Share that! Share that with your audience. Share your excitement. Instead of saying, “We’re not really sure about this. We ran into some issues…” Be excited about it! There are great things ahead. Kyle and I were very nervous.
Know why people are listening to you, not just why you think you’re there.
Changing your name doesn’t necessarily mean things are going in a bad direction.
The change should help you feel like things are going in a better direction.
Change Is Scary & Good
- 28:19 Cory: It is scary, making a change like this. I’m going to be honest. In full disclosure and transparency, I’m a little nervous hearing some feedback from some of our listeners. I’m going to get emails. People are going to comment in the Community and say, “I don’t really like the new name. It’s hard to get used to.” For me, that’s very difficult. We’ve spent the last year building up this brand name, and all of a sudden, we’re turning the car a little bit (or a lot).
- 28:56 That’s really scary for me. I want to honor our listeners. I want to honor the people in our audience for giving us their attention, for downloading the show, for leaving us a review, for sending in their emails. I want our listeners to only have value. I want then to feel at home with us. This was a very difficult move for us, but I know that in the long run, this is the right move. In the long run, we’re only going to build and grow. We’re not canceling the show.
- 29:38 We’re not pausing the show. We’re continuing on strong. We’re going to keep releasing shows. We’re going to keep this going. Invisible Details is going to embody everything we’re about. We’re going to keep helping people. I just have to continue to reassure myself and remind myself of the reasons, the goals, the people we’re trying to reach and impact, and remember that this is a good thing, a powerful thing.
- 30:20 I’m really excited. It’s a great move forward. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of negative backlash for this, to be honest. We’re being upfront, real, and transparent. We want to communicate our plans. We want to reassure our audience, and it’s only going to get better from here. That’s the truth of it. We’re going to keep putting out content. It’s going to be good. Thank you for being on board with us, for your input, for emailing, for listening, everything. We’re so appreciative of you. We’re excited for Invisible Details and the future of this show.
- 31:11 Kyle: I’m so excited about the name change. I really am. It’s much more personal to our brand, I think.
- 31:21 Cory: I totally agree.
- 31:23 Kyle: It definitely is.
Of course, changing your brand’s name is going to be weird, but it’s also going to be fantastic.