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Dunkin’? WW? Should you play the (brand) name game?

Two huge consumer brands, Dunkin Donuts (now Dunkin’) and Weight Watchers (now WW) have changed their brand names. One could argue that this attempt to highlight a broader offering may put them in a new business category, and moves them away from their origins. A name change is a fast way to signal a transition to the market and can make it feel like the transformation occurred overnight. But to pivot an entire business, no matter how big or small, is a significant undertaking.

How do you determine when it’s time to change the name of a company and whether it’s worth the investment?

These are the kinds of questions that a brand value study can answer. Brand valuation quantifies the contribution a brand makes to a business. By identifying the strengths and weakness of a brand and then evaluating them in the context of a company’s business objectives, you can determine the brand’s (or brand name’s) current worth. You can also forecast what its value will be in the future to determine what needs to change, and when, in order to hit growth targets.

Traditionally, consumers choices in the health industry were more functionally-driven versus other industries. However, part of the dramatic transformation the health industry is now experiencing is due to a shift towards more emotionally-based choices from the consumer. As the industry continues to evolve, with new entrants; disruptors; shifting business objectives; and new customer expectations, we expect to see more health brands seeking to make changes in terms of their business, their brand, and, yes, even their brand names.

When it comes to updating the name of a company, it’s not an easy decision or a small investment. Both employees and consumers tend to have strong feelings and emotional ties to a brand’s name. Knowing your brand’s value, and evaluating it against your strategic roadmap, provides the objective information to make a case for it when this kind of change is necessary.  Sometimes, elements of a current name should be maintained. There may be equity in certain aspects. Best-in-class naming is just as scientific as it is creative. A great name should be rooted in your strategic, business objectives and translate your company’s vision into meaningful benefits for your customers. If a name is really working its hardest for you, it should allow you to tell the right story to the right people and to set the stage for your brand’s future.

As a business evolves, whether it’s rooted in traditional health or is a new entrant to health from another sector, it’s important to make sure you are staying true to your story and capturing that in your name. It’s the starting point for everything you want customers to know about your role in their world.

For Dunkin’ and WW, this is the beginning of a new era, brimming with opportunities to serve their customers in a different way. How will they fulfill the promise that these names highlight and set the companies on a new business trajectory? And will customers eat up their new visions and identities?

For more information on our proprietary methodology for brand valuation, let’s connect:


Creative Director, Identity