Brands are key in building recognition and relationships, so retailers need very compelling reasons to rebrand

Why are we talking about this now?

Last week DSGi decided to rename itself Dixons Retail. The DSGi name replaced Dixons Stores Group as the corporate name five years ago in an attempt to reflect that the group had evolved into a collection of brands in different countries and that the Dixons brand represented only a small part of the business.

But the Dixons name has a strong heritage in the electronics market and the DSGi moniker has not succeeded in achieving recognition among suppliers, the City and staff, who still often referred to the business as Dixons. Therefore chief executive John Browett has decided to change the name, subject to the approval of shareholders.

Will customers notice the difference?

No. The Dixons brand only survives in airport retail and online, and no stores will be rebranded as a result of the corporate name change.

Have other retailers changed their names in this way?

Other companies have changed their corporate names to reflect strategic changes in their businesses. Last year Wyevale was renamed the Garden Centre Group, as it attempted to move the business back to local brands rather than one main one.

JD Sports changed its group name to JD Sports Fashion to reinforce its move towards being a retailer of streetwear more than out-and-out sportswear.

Further back, in 1993, Ratners changed its name to Signet Group after Gerald Ratner’s infamous gaffe where he described some of the company’s products as “crap”.

Does a name matter?

Most retailers’ corporate names are simply based on their trading brands, with the exception of groups of brands such as Kingfisher and Kesa, but companies have been criticised for coming up with names that mean nothing to either consumers or investors.

The new company formed out of T-Mobile and Orange is called Everything Everywhere, while the Post Office was widely derided for changing its name to Consignia.

Branding expert Martin Butler - author of the book People don’t buy what you sell, they buy what you stand for - says the only reason to change a brand should be to reflect a genuine change in the business.

He says: “If the name isn’t customer facing, why are you doing it unless it is heralding a major change in how staff and other stakeholders feel about you? All branding has to come from the inside out and a name change shouldn’t be a change in itself.”