Anything Named ISIS is Due for a Rebrand

This is unfortunate.

isis bandUntil recently, the word “Isis” didn’t mean much to many people. At least not here in the US. Then we started to hear about the terror they inflicted as they took control of area after area across Iraq and Syria. Then, of course, there was the horrifying news of James Foley’s beheading. Now, the word “ISIS” elicits nothing but fear, disgust and anger.

So it’s unfortunate if you’re a brand with the name Isis.

One band named ISIS that broke up in 2010  found that out the hard way when they began getting emails from fans saying they were no longer able to wear the band’s t-shirts because of the name. Angry messages on Facebook started rolling in. They even changed their page name to “ISIS the band.”

“We haven’t commented on it because we haven’t been an active band since 2010, even though our music does live on. We maintain our Facebook page to keep people up-to-date on our current musical projects,” the band says.

While disturbing, since the band is no longer together, it’s not as big of an issue as it is for a brand that’s still up and running. Such is the case for the tech company Isis. The mobile wallet will be changing its name so there’s no confusion.

“We have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering,” CEO Michael Abbott told The Verge. “Changing a brand is never easy, but we know this is the right decision – for our company, our partners and our customers.”

According to The Verge, Isis launched last year and hasn’t made a big splash, a situation that’s not aided by the brand’s name. There’s no date set for the rebrand.

That’s definitely the best way to handle this situation, particularly if your brand is pretty new. This is a rare situation, but when it happens, there needs to be an uncommon response. Here are three tips for executing a rebrand under these conditions.

  1. Take your time the way tech company Isis is doing. This is an unusual opportunity to revamp the brand and you should maximize it. Now that the brand has made a name for itself (so to speak), you have the benefit of a bit of history to guide you. Choose something that will work based on experience.
  2. Talk it up. In the lead up to the rebrand, be sure to get the word out that this change is happening and why. It’s a really good reason and both customers and the market should be prepared.
  3. Plan meticulously. When the rebrand does happen, you don’t want to leave anything out there with the old name. Make sure marketing materials have been swapped. Double check that the website and all social media pages are ready to go. Do a final check with vendors, clients and partners with a reminder about the launch of the new name.

This is a difficult process, but the public will welcome it as much as you will.

*Update: From a concerned reader, we have Big Ass Fans’ Isis entryways and patios. If your company name is Big Ass Fans, there are lots of interesting possibilities for this potential rebrand.

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