Special Report

Companies Forced to Change Their Names

Michael B. Sauter, Samuel Stebbins

For the nation’s largest companies, a highly-recognizable name can be an extremely valuable asset. However in the face of a public relations disaster, declining revenue, or major changes in consumer preference, a high-profile brand name can become a liability. In these cases, rebranding with a new name can be necessary to turn corporate fortunes around. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 15 of the biggest corporate name changes in recent history. This list focuses on name changes that were responses to urgent financial or public relations problems. Some of these companies may not be around today had they not rebranded. Here is a look at the brands that will disappear in 2020.

Some of these companies changed their brands to more effectively represent their range of products and services. For example, Weight Watchers changed its name in 2018 to WW to better communicate that the company offers a wider array of wellness products than just weight loss aid. 

In other cases, a company’s brand had been so tarnished by scandal or associated with an industry held in increasingly poor regard that the name had to go. The Lance Armstrong Foundation changed its name to Livestrong Foundation after the company founder and namesake was outed for use of performance-enhancing drugs. 

In other instances, long-term business failure or changing cultural values led to a name change for these companies. But often, a single incident and the resulting fallout was enough to precipitate a name change for these companies. These are the biggest corporate scandals of the last decade

In a few rare cases, the name changes were not made from a financial or public relations perspective, but a legal one. One well-known entertainment company on this list was forced to change its name due to a trademark violation.

Click here to see the companies that were forced to change their names