Friday, February 17, 2012

Should BDPA Change Its Name?

BDPA was founded in 1975 under the name, 'Black Data Processing Associates'. Not long afterwards folks began to wonder if the name should be changed. Would we offend people by having 'Black' in the name? Would we be seen as old and outdated by having 'Data Processing' in the name?

BDPA Chicago member Ricky Penick shared with us the challenges of changing the BDPA logo ... and he noted that the issue of changing the name would be much more difficult.

My response has been simple -- I just use the acronym, 'BDPA' in all of my written and spoken discussions about our organization. As such, I was pleased to see how our national president, Monique Berry, responded to the question, 'Should BDPA Change Its Name?:

  • American Telephone & Telegraph, who still uses a telegraph?
  • National Cash Register, still in use but no longer manual.
  • International Business Machines, what are they and who makes 'em?
Whatever the reason for the renaming, engineering a successful name change is hard work, and it can cost a bundle. Many companies enlist the expertise of a branding agency - a service that usually costs between $30,000 and $150,000. For that price, agencies typically provide detailed market research and a list of about 60 possible new names. To make the exercise more realistic, many shops also produce "demos" of the best potential names, including mock-ups of annual reports, business cards, and websites.

The process should also include legal and URL vetting - a serious headache when trying to navigate the 11.8 million active trademarks and 83 million registered domain names around the world.

Once a new name has been chosen, the practical mechanics of the switch begin. Selling the new name and explaining its rationale to workers is the first step. Suppliers, clients, and customers should be the focus of a similar effort. Then comes the most expensive part: introducing the new name to the world. In addition to buying new letterhead and business cards or altering logos and signs, many companies also launch a formal marketing campaign - advertising and promotions that call attention to the new identity.

At the end of the day, we've got to deliver a great-quality chapter programs and member benefits. That's what members buy.

What's your thought on the issue. Should BDPA change its name?

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