Today I got two domain name renewal notices in the mail from VeriSign. And for a moment, I stopped and wondered, "Why are they sending me stuff? I don't have an account with Verisign."
Of course, if you've followed the news, you'd know that Network Solutions is now being branded as Verisign, and like millions of other domain name owners, I do have an account with them.
But it makes me think: in these days of many company names changes (either for rebranding or due to mergers & acquisitions) are marketers paying proper attention to getting that name change known by their current customers? I came very close to tossing those two notices in the waste basket after all.
In the trade publishing world, we usually take about 6 months to do a name change. It's not one quick announcement and hope they remember. The traditional way is to have both names at the top of your publication. First the old one is bigger and it says, "Old Name becomming NewName", and then the new one gets bigger until it says, "New Name, formerly old name." (i.e. Salon Today formerly Hair News.) Plus you send out emails and letters about the name change, plus you tell customer service to use both names, plus BOTH names are added to emails, renewal notices, bills and any print materials for six months.
In the Internet world everyone thinks things happen so quickly that they only need that one quick notice. But your customers' minds don't move and remember that quickly. They still need 3-6 months to get used to a name change. Probably more if you touch them infrequently. But when was the last time you saw "formerly old name" on a site that changed its name? I think name changes are one area where old-offline world marketing tactics should still apply.
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