The scientists have voted, but will it take? Discovered in 1930, Pluto has been a planet in my book since Mrs. Wakefield showed the filmstrip to my first grade class at Fairlane Elementary in Taylor Michigan in 1959.
That’s not to say that past that I’m not open to new concepts. We (most of us at least) know the world isn’t flat. But trying to re-invent yourself and creating a new image by only changing your name is tricky.
I can’t predict whether vast majority of people will go along with the scientist on Pluto. Americans generally love the underdog and will probably stick up for the little guy out there at the edge of our solar system. But let’s consider two mostly unsuccessful attempts to re-position a product by renaming it.
About 14 years ago, a business owner severely chastised me for calling his establishment a “bowling alley.” The proper term he explained was “bowling center.” “Alley” had too much baggage. Whatever. I was trying to sell him advertising so I humored him. Today, a quick Google search of “Bowling Alley” returned about 2,941,000 results while “Bowling Center” returned only 1,210,000. They’ve got a long way to go.
Finally, let’s consider Popeye’s enemy Bluto, who changed his name to Brutus. In this case there was a good reason. The attorneys for Walt Disney’s Big Mouse in Anaheim complained that Bluto sounded too much like Mickey’s dog Pluto. Up until this afternoon I thought the character had been known as Bluto, Pluto and Brutus. Go figure.
Here’s the point. If your business is heading south, simply changing your name probably won’t be much help. Fix the things going wrong inside your business or you might find yourself in the alley without a friend to your name.