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How to name a merger

This is the question that the newly merged Dixons and Carphone Warehouse have had to answer. Their solution: Dixons Carphone. 

There is an advantage to this ‘cut and shut’ approach. They retain some of the reputation (or equity as strategists like to say) of the previous brands. People will know what Dixons Carphone sells.

Which is exactly the problem. The image in my head when I read Dixons Carphone is a nightmare hybrid of plastic tech and bewildering phone tariffs. There’s recognition but no inspiration. And with with seven other electrical retailers ranking higher than them in today’s Which? ’Top of the shops’ survey, the equity in the names is questionable.

To me, Dixons Carphone is a lost opportunity. I can only assume this is the name of the holding company. If their 3,000 stores are going to sell everything from fridges to phones and the connections between, then they need a new brand. This is the perfect time to lose the baggage of the past and create a brand that can inspire and guide us into a world of ubiquitous, connected technology. 

At Wolff Olins, we faced the same question when we created a new brand for two recently merged Portuguese telcos. 

We wanted to move away from their old worlds - TV and mobile phones - and create a new brand for what people are doing now.

People are using mobile to connect with each other and do new things. Rent a someone else’s apartment through Air BnB. Raise investment to make an idea happen through KickStarter. Chat about TV through WhatsApp. 

Being connected to each other means we can do things that were previously impossible. We’re stronger together. This is the idea our new brand stands for. A new idea needs a new name. We chose Nos. It means we in Portuguese.

Ben Maxwell is a senior strategist at Wolff Olins London.

Image via Charis Tevis.