Looking to re-brand our 11 year old (long & geo specific) physical therapy practice name to one that is shorter, easier to pronounce and less geo specific. Thought is to make it more brandable as well as expandable to other areas besides improving the exit value in future. Current name is similar to 'Dayton Physical Therapy Associates' (actual city name replaced with Dayton) and it appears on top of local area search results organically.
Is re-naming worth the effort in this case for the good reasons stated above?
Adjusting sail midstream is easier said than done. But, when the situation become inevitable, the sail must be adjusted to be able to sail further. Renaming, actually, is rebranding. It's often a case when sales starts going south, and survival is at stake.
Yes, renaming always leaves an impact on brand equity and other parameters. It has to be planned and strategically defined to be able to achieve the objective. Revamp in a planned manner, test the taste,and transition seamlessly.
From creating a compelling story to triggering emotional reaction; from shift to return to roots to material impact on strategy et al, renaming requires some serious thinking.
Looking for anything specific? Feel free to reach out.
I currently own and run all of the online (and offline) marketing for a 15 year old PT practice. I've also owned and operated several other health and fitness related practices. So I'm very familiar with your situation.
Business expansion and exit strategy planning can be excellent reasons for any business to consider branding and other components of marketing. Re-naming is not something to be taken lightly so it's wise of you to consider the implications.
The short answer to your questions..
1. Will re-naming the business affect its branding?
It can if the name is congruent with your marketing strategy.
2. Will re-naming the business affect organic online ranking and search results?
Again - it can. The bigger concern might be your decisions regarding your URL and factors such as website optimization, keyword selection, and proper use of local search strategy and execution.
The bottom-line: it's worth the effort if the investment and effort have a high probability of helping you accomplish your specific goals (which you did not explicitly state) AND if it's a part of a solid business strategy. By itself re-naming is not likely to have a significant positive impact on your bottom line and if poorly executed could result in confusion to your patients (past, current and future) and a negative impact on ranking and search results.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance. I wish you the best of luck!
Re-naming is re-branding. And re-branding requires an investment of time and money. However, you could change your business name and still maintain your rankings. Having a solid SEO and PPC strategy will help you. Just because you would drop the geotargeted location from your business name doesn't mean that you won't be able to rank in a top spot.
I would recommend the old advice of putting together a business plan around the new brand you're envisioning, identifying specific, measurable goals you are looking to achieve.
Then I would work backward to identify everything you need to do to develop, or enhance, the brand to meet the standards of your vision. Financially, does this change make sense? Will it improve your customers' experience?
This is a deep topic, but hopefully all of our comments can help you arrive at a decision you're confident with.
Professionally, I mainly work with domains and brand names. And I'd advise 2 things:
(1) Whichever domain you're using to rank #1 organically for the desired search vertical, leave it alone. Building a practice on a geographically specific domain that also defines your profession is something I often recommend, boring though it may seem; and since the site is performing well (i.e. ain't broke) don't fix it.
(2) Rebranding may still be a good option for you; and since your instincts incline you to consider it, then you're probably right for the reasons you yourself outlined. When you choose a new name, then I'd recommend creating a separate site for it online. Eve if it's just a simple, inexpensive page, you can expand it later. That way you'll be transitioning with zero risk of upsetting your existing site's #1 position; and you'd be adding an additional asset to your business.
Now let's talk about that new name!
A new brandname is associated with a new entity. If you do not want ti lose your past brand recognition, plan ahead. well in advance, inform your stakeholders about your renaming process. Keep both names - the old and the new - living together in your web messages, for at least six months. A well planned and executed renaming process is the key to keep your practice healthy. If you want to know more, I will be happy to help you. I have a strong backgound on health brands.