Marshall
Marshall Strategy
June 2013
info@marshallstrategy.com
www.marshallstrategy.com
Corporate Identity and Naming:s
Le...
About Marshall Strategy
Marshall Strategy is a privately owned, entrepreneurial agency, staffed
with senior people with mu...
Introduction
The composition of the Fortune 500 has changed dramatically in the last
50+ years. Equally interesting is to ...
Premise
The evolution of names among the Fortune 500 provides instructive insights
for corporate branding, and for underst...
Findings
The names of Fortune 500 companies
have changed in major ways over the
past 55 years. From 1954 to 2009, the
Fort...
Analysis
6
There has been a significant shift
away from names that emphasize
location, geographic market or
specific produ...
Analysis, continued
Whether or not coined and image names are a challenge to relate to, they
avoid restricting companies a...
Insights
• Descriptive names are appropriate for
companies with potential for broad, long-term
growth, but may limit produ...
Conclusion
As companies diversify and grow, they need names that enable growth or
opportunity, rather than names that rest...
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Corporate Identity and Naming: Lessons from the Fortune 500

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The evolution of company names among the Fortune 500 provides instructive insights for corporate branding, and for understanding identity effectiveness in our new economy.

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Corporate Identity and Naming: Lessons from the Fortune 500

  1. 1. Marshall Marshall Strategy June 2013 info@marshallstrategy.com www.marshallstrategy.com Corporate Identity and Naming:s Lessons from the Fortune 500
  2. 2. About Marshall Strategy Marshall Strategy is a privately owned, entrepreneurial agency, staffed with senior people with multi-industry expertise. Our services are aimed at one simple goal – improving brand value. We develop and implement strategies that increase appreciation and enthusiasm for our clients, including creating names and naming systems that are meaningful, memorable and lasting. 2 369 Pine Street, Penthouse San Francisco, CA 94104 T : 415.677.9525 info@marshallstrategy.com www.marshallstrategy.com @MarshallStrat © Marshall Strategy 2013
  3. 3. Introduction The composition of the Fortune 500 has changed dramatically in the last 50+ years. Equally interesting is to examine how company names have changed. 3 © Marshall Strategy 2013 1950s brands Today’s brands
  4. 4. Premise The evolution of names among the Fortune 500 provides instructive insights for corporate branding, and for understanding identity effectiveness in our new economy. Definitions The names of Fortune 500 companies are defined by five categories: • Descriptive names describe specific products and/or geographies. • Family names are a family name used as the company’s primary name. • Image names are real words that convey key characteristics through imagery. • Coined names are made-up words or unique combinations of words. • Initials names are when initials replace words as the primary company name. 4© Marshall Strategy 2013
  5. 5. Findings The names of Fortune 500 companies have changed in major ways over the past 55 years. From 1954 to 2009, the Fortune 500 witnessed a: • 54% decrease in Descriptive names • 45% decrease in Family names • 14% increase in Initials names • 45% increase in Image names • 213% increase in Coined names 5© Marshall Strategy 2013 213% increase in Coined names
  6. 6. Analysis 6 There has been a significant shift away from names that emphasize location, geographic market or specific product. Dramatic revenue increases on the Fortune 500 have limited niche and specialist players' ability to make the cut. Nearly 50% of 1954 Fortune 500 companies had family names, such as B.F. Goodrich, William Wrigley, Jr. or L.A. Young Spring & Wire. Family names have an ambiguity that enables them to grow and evolve into large companies (Ford) or to become specific category brands (Gillette) within a larger company. Nearly 50% of 2010 Fortune 500 companies had coined, image or initials names, which convey little or no commitment to any community, product, service or by any individuals. This reflects a shift in corporate naming. As companies grow, they need names that appeal to broader markets. Observation Conclusion © Marshall Strategy 2013
  7. 7. Analysis, continued Whether or not coined and image names are a challenge to relate to, they avoid restricting companies and are easier to protect. Examples 7 Image names Apple Caterpillar Whirlpool Coined names Coca-Cola Motorola Verizon © Marshall Strategy 2013
  8. 8. Insights • Descriptive names are appropriate for companies with potential for broad, long-term growth, but may limit product or market growth: • Family names can become distinctive, protectable brands, and can acquire relevant meaning over time, but require significant investment: • Image names can be distinctive and easier to protect, and are most effective when conveying customer benefits or are well-positioned against competitors: • Coined names should be more than unique, and protectable. They should provide memorable and appropriate meaning: • Initials names are the weakest solution to corporate naming opportunities. They require huge marketing and communication investments over many decades: 8 Waste Management Bank of America Disney Hilton Target Amazon FedEx Google IBM GE © Marshall Strategy 2013
  9. 9. Conclusion As companies diversify and grow, they need names that enable growth or opportunity, rather than names that restrict perceptions. They need names that people can: • Relate to • Believe in • Care about • Take pride in • Become loyal to For more information www.marshallstrategy.com 9© Marshall Strategy 2013

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