By Terry Nagi May 24, 2004 -- In olden days, most women, when they became married, changed their name. In today's world, this happens less frequently. Many wish to maintain the reputation and respect gained by using this name, throughout their life and business career. Why should a printer initiate a renaming and re-branding process? Today, many companies seem anxious to change their name. Especially those who either have left a bad impression, for whatever reasons, in our minds (example: from WorldCom to MCI; from Chrysler to Daimler-Chrysler; from PriceClub to Costco; from Air Florida to ATA; Other major corporations are anxious to change their name as they reinvent themselves because of a change in the products they offer, the markets they pursue, and the technologies they adopt. But if you ask a majority of printers, "will you change the company name and re-brand your image as you pursue new markets, printing processes, technologies and services?" the answer is normally "are you kidding?" Most of these printers feel their name is their reputation, changing it would cause confusion in the marketplace, and current customers would wonder what's going wrong. This all leads to the necessity for a hard-nosed, well researched and major evaluation: should a printer --especially those entering the world of digital print, or that are offering a wider variety of digital and other ancillary services--initiate a renaming and re-branding process? Why? Most print today is a commodity. Does the printer's name scream commodity? Insty Prints thought it did and it kept the name in some locations, it also became part of the more prestigious-sounding Allegra Network. Many print companies adopted the name of their founder and owner. A family printer was always considered to be better to deal with. In today's competitive environment, the family name is losing its impact. Would it not be better to substitute a stronger image of exactly what a printer does, in the use of its name, versus who the founder was; O.L. Schilffarth & Sons did long ago and became DataForms. Above all, printers moving into a major effort in the world of digital pre-media, digital printing, multimedia outputs, database management, sophisticated mailing and fulfillment, Internet based transactions and communications, and other evolving digital technologies, will find it a conflict of perception if strong consideration is not made of changing the name from "traditional" to "new". How sexy does the name have to be? Well, it doesn't have to involve a 12-month research project and the expenditure of thousands of dollars. More important, it merely has to reduce or eliminate the possibility the name will be considered old style, commodity, not up-to-date, a follower versus a leader, and not progressive. The name must project the new, aggressive technologies and "added value" services provided by the printer while potentially maintaining the image of the "best" of what the printer provided in the past. Current examples of interesting names--along with a few taglines or mission statements--include: Mail-Well to Cenveo (with the brand enhanced by the tagline "Vision Delivered") b&b printing to b&b Print & Digital Communications DigiPrint ( AlphaGraphics ( IPrint ( Characters ( Custom Data Imaging ( Rapid Solutions Group ( "A leading provider of marketing support services, revolutionizing personalized customer communications with print-on-demand technology and Internet based solutions." Amos Communications vs. Amos Print Bowne Enterprise Solutions vs. Bowne Incorporated Centtric Marketing Systems ( Moore Business Forms to Moore Graphic Systems Graphic ExpressVerso ( AGT ( Rastar Digital Marketing vs. Rastar Color ( DST Output ( "Is a single-minded company with several locations, all geared to delivering the finest in customer communications and support services." Progressive Impressions International ( Print Manage ( "Single source – multiple solutions." Scope1 vs. Superior Business Solutions ( The Corporate Communications Group ( "A world class integrated marketing support company, offering a wide range of services under one roof, from Business Printing Systems and Corporate Mailings." Kikuze Solutions "Enabling you to manage print effectively." "Complete solutions for managing, producing and distributing print." it is time to evaluate, or reevaluate the names of any and all printing companies, especially those who are moving forward in new digital technologies. Take the time now to evaluate what each of these surnames means to them. The companies' Web sites should also be visited to access how each name relates to the printers overall brand image and messaging. In each case, the name does not scream "tradition". It does not interfere with the strong messages presented by each printer on their web site. A few of these names even create a little curiosity as to what it means. Aggressive and technologically oriented printers who wish to maintain some connection with their current name can create a "Group" using the current name, and possibly creating sub-names, as an example, The Carlson Group: Digital Outputs; The Carlson Group: Fulfillment; the Carlson Group: Digital Capture and Data Management, etc. The bottom line: it is time to evaluate, or reevaluate the names of any and all printing companies, especially those who are moving forward in new digital technologies. The recommended process: Start with an Internet search for the names of printers of similar structure, organization, size, processes and services, technologies, etc. This can easily begin with a "Google" search, information from leading trade magazines, lists of members of major digital print organizations ( and information provided by leading digital equipment and supplies manufacturers. Perform the same research in the printer's current market area, using local suppliers such as dealers, the local print trade association, and paper vendors. See what other printers are creating in brand identity, and let this be the stimulus for creativity. Hold a "naming" contest, where all employees are encouraged to provide a suggested name based upon a predetermined set of rules. Make the prize award worthwhile. Ask key clients, who are close to the company and are trusted, to suggest a name that fits the products and services of the digital organization. This could well be a contest with a significant reward. No matter what name is selected, meet with best customers and ask each what they think the name means, and how it relates to the company's well-established name used through the years. Of course it's not the name that sells printing, but instead, the variety of services, benefits, and "solutions" that are more fully described in the printer's brochure, Internet site, marketing programs, and the presentations made by printers' sales representatives. But, the printer's name reminds customers of who the printer is and what it does. In today's extremely competitive environment, this could mean technologically proficient, providing communications "solutions", fast, efficient, timely, and ethical. Is it time for "you" to change your name? Terry Nagi is author of The Digital Print Sales System: A complete guide for successfully selling digital printing. The book focuses on one of the most important issues in print sales today: guaranteeing the successful transition of the print sales representative from offset to digital printing. The experience of printers already making this transition has ranged from highly successful to absolute disaster. What all these printers have discovered is the sale of digital printing requires a different sales approach for many of the sales representatives now selling traditional printing, from bidding on jobs to providing unique solutions to the clients' print needs; plus patience, a revised sales compensation system, extended sales time cycle, as well as selling to non-traditional contacts (not the print buyer). For more information on the book, contact Terry A. Nagi, DigitalPrint Resources& Associates, POP Box 32370, Washington, DC 20007; phone 202-342-1727; e-mail [email protected] (www.digita;