What's in a name? Mistaken identity in media

Consider this. You are using media monitoring to track your brand and you begin to notice stories and comments seemingly unconnected to your company. Many of these posts are negative, as people continually attribute your name to violent attacks and terrorist activity.

What do you do in this situation? 

This is a question asked by a number of businesses across the globe this year - particularly those branded using the name of a compassionate Egyptian goddess, Isis, historically associated with nature and integrity.

For instance, a helpful digital wallet app, Isis, felt obliged to change their name to avoid association with the al-Qaeda offshoot, going by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - or the acronym ISIS.

"However coincidental, we have no desire to share a name with this group and our hearts go out to those affected by this violence," Isis Chief Executive Officer Michael Abbot said in a September 3 press release.

The startup has since chosen its new name, announcing this month the decision to rebrand to Softcard.

Not everyone is willing to make a name change, however, particularly when their brand is already so well established. Isis Pharmaceuticals, a drug company a decade old, has no plans to change its moniker.

"It is, of course, an unfortunate twist of fate that an al-Qaeda offshoot is referred to by an acronym that matches our company name," Isis Pharmaceuticals spokesperson Amy Blackley explained.

She added that because the company is not associated with a retail market, and the medical professionals who work with the organisation know it "very well", it is unlikely that its audience will confuse it with a terrorist group in Iraq.

Basically any company can fall victim to a case of mistaken identity, or even just name association. Keeping on top of your brand through print, digital and social media tracking is important to ensure you can make the right moves if a similar occurrence affects your brand.

"Branding is about being efficient. When you've got a name like Isis, it throws a lot of friction in there. It could be not just inefficient, it could be disastrous," said David Placek, founder of Lexicon Branding, which worked on Isis Wallet's behalf.

Recent Posts

2017 China top beauty brands on digital media,...

Social media has become one of the primary channels for consumers to obtain beauty and makeup...

China Social Media | How does a 90-minute live...

Live streaming is becoming a leading sales platform in China. There are currently more than 200 live...

From Output to Outcome: Key trends at the 2017...

AMEC (the International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communications) held its 2017...

China KOL - Blogger Mr. Bags teams up with...

China KOL | Mr Bags who had created 12 minutes sold out miracle teams up with Burberry In January...

Isentia wins the AMEC Communications Research &...

Isentia, the most awarded media evaluation company this decade, was named Communications Research...

Press release distribution is the best way to hit...

When you send out a press release, where does it go? If you're like most public relations...

The new influencers: Employee advocacy and the...

In 2010 I was the head of marketing at a large B2B professional services firm. We had a near perfect...

Digital Luxury - How Cartier is leveraging...

Due to a slower economic growth rate, anti-corruption campaigns, more people travelling abroad to...

Four ways to upskill in digital marketing

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so keeping up with best practice across...