A thought in the back of every journalist's head is defamation. Put in general terms, that's the act of damaging someone's good name. Of course, that applies equally to a corporate name. The reasoning behind this, no doubt, is the time it takes to establish a company's good name in the first place.
For instance, few end users would perceive Hewlett-Packard computers to be anything but the highest quality, yet that reputation came only with time and effort. So if computer journalists were to take it into their heads to belittle HP's quality, in print, that would be a serious thing and you'd expect HP to defend itself vigorously.
What would you think then, if HP suddenly decided to rename itself Farside Computers? Yes, give itself a totally new name, dropping any reference to HP on any products. That would certainly be a "courageous" move. But no, don't panic . . . HP isn't changing its name as far as I know.
The company that is changing its name is LG Electronics. Or to be precise, the entire LG group. And in case the name isn't overly familiar, let me hasten to say that this is the new name, not the old. You probably know the company better as Goldstar, or in some markets Lucky-Goldstar.
LG is a huge Korean company, with fingers in just about every pie except cars (and even that may be just around the corner). It makes toothpaste, has petrol stations, writes insurance, and OEMs more whitegoods than you'd ever believe. And speaking of OEMing, you'd probably be surprised to see some of the brand names on computer products coming off the LG production lines throughout Korea. The Goldstar name is well known and respected on computer products from CD drives to monitors, yet the company has decided on a bold move to give itself a brand new face throughout the world.
Part of the job will be to expose the public to the new name, creating acceptance in the marketplace. Starting soon in Australia (and at various times around the world), this campaign should keep the ad people quite happy for a while.
LG recently took seven Australian journalists to Korea as part of the project to introduce its new name and image. We were shown LG's enormous manufacturing potential and range, but we also came away with the impression that LG had realised the Goldstar name simply didn't carry the connotation of premium quality products that the company wanted.
In a future issue we'll introduce you to this "new" company and the IT products it sells. In the meanwhile, keep a lookout for the branding campaign, it should be interesting.