Ed’s view: What’s in a name?

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Already this year there has been a spate of major rebranding exercises by dealers and suppliers alike. We’ve had Bidvest transform into Bidfood (and this is only a couple of years after the last re-name from 3663), while Nisbets’ group trade division RB Distributors will now be Uropa Distribution.

And there was a bit of a back to the future vibe about the Manitowoc Foodservice rebrand, as new name Welbilt (quite apart from being hell on a device’s autocorrect function) is actually from the original founding of the Hirsch brothers’ Welbilt Stove Company in 1929.

But what is the benefit of a new business moniker? If a brand is particularly well-known, it can be a dangerous move to switch to a different name and lose the recognition that has been built up through hard work down the years. There is also a cynical part of me which wonders if a lot of these re-naming ideas are generated by branding agencies trying to prove their worth rather than just taking the corporate shilling and twiddling their thumbs.

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On the other hand, a fresh start can be a good thing. While many in the industry can be resistant to change, often a new brand name can provide a new direction and enable a business to coalesce around a progressive strategy.

Take GastroNorth, for example. Following the dealer’s rebranding from UpNorth 2 years ago, it has reported a 25% year on year growth. Its new identity helped it to stand out from its parent group and it has now opened a top of the range demonstration kitchen at its Gateshead headquarters. Read more about the latest developments in our latest issue.

However, names can also be something to be very cautious of. Recent reports from CEDA and CESA have warned distributors and suppliers to be on the lookout for scammers using either fake names or falsely using genuine company names to obtain goods without payment.

CEDA cautioned that sales teams should be made aware of this scam and to ensure thorough checks are made to prevent potential losses. The association stated: “It is a sophisticated con using convincing purchase orders, active website, valid contact name, number and e mail address, and financial credit checks. But, the reality this is a façade in front of what appears to be a valid company and individual.

“On the face of it many of the tactics and approaches they are using seem very plausible, and it is only by vigilance and strict sales and credit control procedures that our members and partners are uncovering these illegal activities.”

So the message is, always check names before you deal with them – especially if you have never heard of them before.

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