What’s in a Name? Behind Two Recent Rebrands

By Cathy Applefeld Olson
05/12/2014

After a long winter, rebranding has been springing up like May flowers in publishing circles.

Take tech industry publisher TechMedia Network’s recent rebrand to Purch after recent acquistions of BestofMedia and lead-gen platform Buyer Zone. What’s behind the new name? A solidification of the company’s role as an expert source at the nexus of content and commerce—a direction it has been moving toward for some time.

“The new name is definitely evocative of our mission that we live and breathe—to make complex buying decisions more simplified for consumers and professionals,” says Erin Kapczynski, VP of marketing. Citing a “growing chasm” between the existing name and the company’s mission, Kapczynski tells min, “We wanted to communicate what we do with a new name that’s shorter, punchier and more memorable.”

According to the company, which counts a collective 78 million readers across its publications and sites, 81% of U.S. shoppers spend 79 days gathering information online before buying a product. Purch’s digital platform, which includes b2b-focused site Tom’s Hardware, matches advertising and product reviews with editorial content with a goal of increased reader engagement in both industry and consumer realms.

It’s a mission that’s served the company well, and will lead it to around $100 million in revenue this year, according to Purch, which attracts 7,000 marketers and sellers to its sites and drives north of $1 billion in annual transactions for its clients. It’s also led to growth on the content side, like the recent annexing of Ziff Davis’ Mobile Nations’ brand and its sites Android Central, iMore and Windows Phone Central to the Purch platform.

While some companies may opt to rebrand first and then steer the company in a new direction, Kapczynski says for Purch, “it was just the opposite. We took a hard look at what it is we do well, and what value we bring to consumers as well as to advertisers and sellers, and it became very clear that our value is simplifying complex buying decisions.”

By design, the executive team involved only a small group of company leaders in the decision-making process behind the rebrand, “It’s been exciting to see how quickly everyone has adopted this culture that was created as a result of rebrand.”

The same tact of company evolution first, name change second guided the rebrand at publisher F+W Media, which recently adopted the new moniker F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. Again, the new name pretty much says it all, emphasizing the ecommerce business the company is embracing.

“We felt like we needed to do the work first, get the results and build the infrastructure and the business,” says chairman/CEO David Nussbaum. “So when we announced the rebrand there was not a lot of, ‘what are we doing and why are we doing this?’“

Nussbaum says F+W rebrand “better reflects who we are, since the company moved more aggressively into the e-commerce space." Having Media in the name "was not terribly accurate," he notes. “We are a company that produces content, but that no longer means just an article in a magazine or a piece on a Website. It could be online video, terrestrial television, conferences and Webinars."

Additionally, F+W currently operates more than 20 e-stores and growing, selling everything from content to products. The commerce business is leading significant growth, from $6 million in revenue when F+W opened its first digital store in 2009 to a projected $60 million in 2014, Nussbaum says. "That’s the kind of scale we’re talking about."

min contributor Cathy Applefeld Olson is based in Northern Virginia. She also is an editor at our sister publications Cynopsis and CableFAX Daily.