Because of our population’s increased interest in health and the ramifications of obesity, in the past ten years per-capita use of refined sugar has dropped 3%, the use of all caloric sweeteners is 12% lower, and consumption of corn based sweeteners (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is down 20%
Understandably this has activated the Corn Refiners Association whose members include Cargill, Inc., and Archer-Daniels-Midland. After an expensive two-year advertising campaign that was not effective in reversing the trend the Association has filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration for permission to change the name of their sweetener product from High Fructose Corn Syrup to “Corn Sugar.” Same product, different name.
I doubt whether this change will have much, if any, relevance to small businesses other than to discuss the strategy of changing the name of a product, a company, or a personality.
The strategy works, at least for some because names can exude romance, make a product more fanciful, or manage to eclipse a problem in the past. Who can imagine Lady Gaga being introduced as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonotta? After huge court imposed penalties Phillip Morris Corp. became Altria. After the Enron scandal, Arthur Anderson split into Anderson Accounting and Anderson Consulting which then became Accenture. John Wayne was born Marrion Morrison. The fish we see on menus as Chilean Sea Bass used to be known as the toothfish (really!) and became so popular that it now faces extinction from overfishing. Frumpy sounding Norma Jean Baker became the iconic, glamorous, funny actor Marilyn Monroe.
So, if you have a company name that no longer reflects the current products, services, or markets, a product that needs to reinvigorate its market appeal or make it appealing in the first place, or a personality in search of a branding handle to reflect its intended sales advantage work on changing that name to something sweeter though I’m sorry, “Corn Syrup” has been taken now.
But I have to tell you that Larry Galler will remain Larry Galler – I’ve grown accustomed to my name and my Mother really wouldn’t understand.