Overstock.com fixed a huge brand blunder today when they announced they were abandoning the attempt to change their name to O.co.
Here are the top five reasons why the rebranding was doomed to fail:
- There was never a strategic reason to change the company name. Name changes are expensive and risky in the best of circumstances. You should only do it when the benefits outweigh the costs.
- They totally owned the word “Overstock.” They could never hope to own a single letter.
- The word “Overstock” worked for search engine optimization. Try putting just “o” in the search bar–their Web site doesn’t even show up in the top ten pages of results.
- It’s tough enough to change the company’s name, but they also tried to change the url–and to a non-standard option at that. Most everyone types in .com no matter what. They at least expect the top level domain to have three characters. Non- technical people would might not even know a .co name was possible.
- The change was never tested with consumers. We’ve written before that your consumer is the ultimate “owner” of most brands. It’s crazy to try to impose a change of this magnitude without even a little bit of testing with external audiences. O.co is what people might call the company internally, but your brand lives externally. If you are going to make a change like this, ask at least twenty people–even random people–outside your company for their reaction.