What’s in a name?
Many companies create their name based on the founder or the key sector the company competes in. Over time, as the company changes leadership and expands into other areas, the name no longer fits.
Here is a look at nine companies that changed their iconic names and in most cases their stock tickers.
1. Angie’s List: User review company Angie’s List underwent a name change in 2021 to be known as Angi Inc (NASDAQ:ANGI). The name change came as the company shifted from just being a directory and listing site with reviews. It now allows direct booking, scheduling and payment services for service providers and customers.
The change was a shift from the Angie name to the company being founded by Angie Hicks. The name Angi was chosen as no other companies were using it.
2. BlackBerry: Another interesting name change came in 2013 when Research in Motion rebranded to be known as BlackBerry Ltc (NYSE:BB). The name change came to coincide with the launch of its new mobile computing platform, the Blackberry 10.
Research in Motion had previously released a smartphone under the BlackBerry name and become known for that brand and product.
“Outside of North America, we are known solely as BlackBerry and the strength of the brand has opened doors in new and emerging markets,” the company said at the time.
3. Chrysler: One of the big three automotive companies has undergone many name changes over the years. Since 1925, Chrysler has been known as Chrysler Corporation, DaimlerChrysler, Chrysler LLC, Chrysler Group LLC and FiatChrysler.
In 2021, the name changed again as part of a merger between FiatChrysler and PSA Group. The combined company opted for the name Stellantis NV (NYSE:STLA). The name came from the Latin verb stello, which means “to brighten with stars.”.
4. GMAC: Known as the financing provider of loans for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) vehicles, GMAC completed a name change in 2010. The move came as GM received a government bailout and people were associating GMAC with the auto company.
The company now known as Ally Financial Inc (NYSE:ALLY) works with many automotive companies for vehicle loans. Ally Financial is also diversified with banking options, mortgage services and an investment arm.
5. Google: The popular search engine company underwent a name change in 2015 to rebrand as Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL). The move was seen as a play on the company having more than just its search business as it expanded into other areas.
Founder Larry Page called Alphabet a “collection of companies” at the time represented by Google, a life sciences division, Calico focused on longevity, YouTube and other companies. The move also saw a CEO overseeing each division rather than one overall leader.
“We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations and is the core of how we index with Google search!” Page said.
6. Smith and Wesson: Gunmaker Smith & Wesson Brands Inc (NASDAQ:SWBI) is an interesting tale on changing its name. The gun company, which dates back to the 1850s, underwent a name change in 2017 to American Outdoor Brands Inc (NASDAQ:AOUT).
The company’s name change happened at a time when the brand was associated with several high-profile mass shootings. Coincidentally, Smith & Wesson was spun out of American Outdoor Brands years later and now trades with its original name and the ticker SWBI.
The name change came as the company went from being strictly a survey site to providing other solutions built with artificial intelligence. Today the company owns GetFeedback, SurveyMonkey and Momentive market research solutions. Together, the segments help over 345,000 companies with their data.
8. Weight Watchers: In 2018, Weight Watchers rebranded itself as WW International (NASDAQ:WW). The move was seen as a way for the company to move beyond a dieting company as diets faced criticism of how healthy they were. The WW became a play on the former Weight Watchers name and also created a new company tagline of “wellness that works.”
9. World Wrestling Federation: In 1999, the wrestling company World Wrestling Federation went public. The company often referred to as WWF underwent a name change to World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (NYSE:WWE) in 2002.
The move was seen as a response from the World Wildlife Fund, an organization that also went by the WWF acronym. World Wildlife sued the wrestling organization over a previous agreement.
Photo: screenshot courtesy of WWE.