‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Here Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention.
Just read that Pepsi changed its name to ‘Pesi’ in Spain, following the name change to ‘Pecsi’ in another Argentina around July 2009. (Article) Reason: Locals pronounce the brand that way. I followed the comments to the article and there were people ‘For’ and ‘Against’ it. I was wondering what should take preference, so I thought of the following points:
- Easier pronunciation
- Coke or other competitors wouldn’t benefit from the shift of people to them due to the difficulty in pronunciation
- More localized; more attentive about the consumer preferences
- Would not make much of a difference
- Dilute the brand image; especially if there are some duplicate brands who would sell their beverage as Pepsi or similar name (assumption)
- The absence of uniformity in a global brand
- The constraint of localizing a successful global communication that could have been used otherwise
- Create apprehension in the mind of the customer who has always been purchasing ‘Pepsi’
I think the name change was not necessary. Not because the cons are exceeding the pros but the cons seem to be much more specific and the pros are either vague or an assumption of a situation that has equal probability of happening and not happening.
The most important point here is that of imagery. For Pepsi, the symbol, the logo, is its major brand identity; people identify Pepsi with its logo, unlike coca cola, whose brand image is calligraphic writing of the brand name. Hence, the name as far as the ‘P’ of Pepsi was concerned was the least common differentiator that was not necessary to tamper with.
Somewhere, it creates a certain lacunae within the minds of the consumer. Especially, in this globalized world where people are much more exposed to global campaigns and happenings , it might just be a tad difficult for a local to associate Pepsi endorsed by giants like Beckham and other endorsers and immediately register with Pesi or Pecsi.
A better solution would have been to continue branding as ‘Pepsi’ in their communication in the ‘local slang’. So, that after a period of time with repeated exposure to the same communication whenever the word Pepsi is seen the mind equates it to the sound of ‘Pesi’ or ‘Pecsi’. So, you could have showed a bottle with ‘Pepsi’ written on it but stress on the factor that it would be called ‘Pesi’ or ‘Pecsi’ from now on. In that way you still respect the local needs and give/sell them a global brand. A win-win for both sides.