The saying goes “out with the old, in with the new,” but when you have spent years building the reputation that is synonymous with the name of your company, it can be a dire warning. When Mason Hearn bought out his partner two years ago and changed the company name, he decided to tread lightly. The old name was simply a listing of last names, and Hearn “wanted the new name to have more of a graphic identity.” He wanted a name that would say something about the Richmond, Va., company and create an image of it right off the bat.
While some people change their names abruptly, alert their clients, and continue on with business, Hearn took a more studied approach. He hired a PR firm and a creative consulting group to help him decide not only the perfect name but the perfect route to the change. He had one caveat: His own name could not be in the company name. “I wanted the name to be a reflection on us all, on the work we all do here, not just on me,” he explains.
The consultants returned from their focus groups and research with a different slant on that idea. As it turned out “there was a fair amount of equity built up around my name,” Hearn says, “and they warned that it would be foolish to squander that.” Hearn held fast to his wish, however, and told the consultants to figure out a solution.
They came back with a name that encompassed it all. HomeMasons was the graphic identity Hearn was looking for, and “-Masons” was the perfect balance between a nostalgic nod at the profession and a subtle allusion to Hearn. With everyone pleased, the next step was introducing it to the public.
Management alerted the employees of the switch the day before, and then, on the day of the official unveiling, threw a massive party for 300 of their “closest” industry friends. This party not only helped to ease any fears the employees might have about the future of the company but also allowed for the new company identity to start off on the right foot.
Their PR firm helped to organize, and past clients, present clients, vendors, and subs were invited so that the new name would be on the lips of Richmondites. They gave away goodie bags and door prizes, all emblazoned with the new HomeMasons logo. “We made the giveaways attractive and functional, such as shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, and more, in the hopes of the name being seen every day,” says Hearn.
To date, HomeMasons' approach is a success, with even a slight increase in calls about jobs since the switch. The new name is a fit.