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“Now that I have a new company name, what’s next?”

written by MO.com Subject Matter Expert Laurel Sutton

Clients often ask us, “Now that I have a new company name, what’s next?” There’s still much to do, from announcing your name internally and externally to handling legal and administrative details. Catchword has developed a checklist called “Launching Your New Company Name” to help guide you through key elements of the process.

Once you’ve changed your company name, don’t forget to:

• Have your attorney submit an application for trademark registration to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — and foreign equivalents, if appropriate.

• File a name change with the Secretary of State and appropriate city/county authorities.

• Update bank accounts, checks, and other financial paperwork.

• Create/update business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other stationery.

• Engage a web designer (or design team) to create/update website.

• Set a date to flip the switch on the name and identity change.

• Announce the new name internally! (And be sure to do so before you announce it to customers and other external contacts.)

• Roll out new business cards early (ideally at the announcement event) to get employees on board. Consider giving out caps and clothing with the new name and logo.

• Involve HR to help acclimate employees to the new name and understand the rationale for the change. Use this opportunity to galvanize the organization to “live the brand.”

• Develop a plan for communicating with customers, analysts, and other key external influencers.

• Send customers and partners a letter or postcard announcing the name change (e.g., “We’d like to announce our new identity… same great company, new name.”) Anticipate and address questions such as whether service contracts will be affected.

• Create a page/link on your company website with rationale for the name change.

• Register the new domain name with your company’s registrar (e.g., Network Solutions, DreamHost, Register.com, etc.).

• Register close variants and potential misspellings of the new domain name, and have them redirect to the new site.

• Update email addresses to your new domain, and have old email addresses forward.

• And if you find you need professional help, outsource it! There are firms that specialize in highly effective name launches.

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