When I first read about Brand Networks’ acquisition of Shift for a reported $50 million, my first thought was that Shift is an exceptional brand name. Both companies are in the social marketing / advertising space, and the deal appears to make sense for both of them based on the articles I read.
I am not familiar with either of these two companies, but I am curious if Brand Networks is going to rebrand as Shift at some point in the future to leverage the brand name and matching url.
Shift owns the exact match (and high value) Shift.com domain name. Brand Networks operates on the short BN.CO domain name (interestingly, Barnes and Noble owns BN.com). I think Shift.com is the better and more memorable domain name. Obviously, a rebranding wouldn’t simply be about the domain name though. Although Brand Networks seems like a good brand name for what the company does, I think that the Shift brand is more generic, allowing for more diversity in its business operations and offerings.
Changing a brand name is a complicated and expensive proposition though. Marketing and corporate branding materials would need to be changed, the website and email addresses would need to be updated, clients and prospective clients would need to be notified, and SEO issues could result if a change is made. Most of these issues and costs are relatively short-term though. It’s likely that at least one brand name is going to have to change to avoid confusion, although the companies could opt to remain independent brands.
I think the Shift brand, especially because the company controls the matching Shift.com domain name, is a stronger brand name. It will be interesting to see if there is a rebranding as a result of the acquisition. My bet is that it won’t happen due to some of the aforementioned potential concerns, but it will be something to keep an eye on.