When a Name Change Is the Right Move

By Swaroop Raju, Co-founder of PlayPosit, formerly known as eduCanon. 

Your company’s name is the first thing users see. Relationships are dictated by first impressions so your name plays a pivotal role in the overall perception and growth of your brand. When a company decides upon a name, it is because that is the vision for the value users will find in the product.    When we initially launched eduCanon in 2012 we saw educators primarily adopting our platform for the modular canon of teacher-generated, plug-and-play video lessons we make available. While we certainly have made strides as a content company (including more than 300,000 teacher-created lessons across all subject areas!) we see ourselves as so much more now. As we grow, we want a name that grows with us. Our company has evolved from a canon of video lessons to a whole new interactive medium for instructors to play engaging videos and posit accountable questions.   Hence, our new name – PlayPosit.     As we made this name transition, we had a few primary goals in mind:  

  1. We provide a seamless transition for our teachers and students. For that reason, we made sure that all of the video lessons, class groupings, and student data remained intact during this name transition.  
  2. We evolve as a product along with evolving our name. With the name re-launch, we released three new features: video channels to help teachers find curated quality videos easily (read more in a previous education week post), easier access to student data, and deeper integrations with more Learning Management Systems
  3. We let everybody know about the name change with a variety of methods, including social media.

  While changing the name of your company can re-define the perception and growth of your brand, it is a time-intensive process and if done incorrectly, can disrupt the flow for your end user. As an established company, you need to:  

  • Ensure that the new company domain name is available and that there are no existing trademarks for that brand – see http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database
  • Depending upon your business, you may need to submit a Doing Business As (DBA) Agreement, notify the IRS of the new name change, and file a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) number. 
  • On the technical side, you need to make sure the Google rankings you have built up are maintained. The most effective way to do that is to set up 301 redirects from your current site to the urls at your new domains. I recommend Moz for more details on 301 redirects – https://moz.com/learn/seo/redirection
  • Update every instance online where you’ve mentioned your former company name. That means all your social media profiles, marketing materials, and technical help sections. For us, that meant over 140 FAQ articles that needed to be updated with new info, screenshots, and videos. 
  • Communicate! You’ve spent (potentially) years building up your previous brand name. It’ll take more than just one press release to cement the new name into the mind of each of your users.  

  There are more specific changes that need to be made depending upon your company type, but making a name change should never be taken lightly. It comes with its own hurdles and obstacles. You change your name only when you are confident your company is on a growth trajectory and need a brand suited to that growth.  

For more information, visit @PlayPosit on Twitter.

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