Editorial: What's in a name?

By Len Monheit

In business, it can be difficult to get someone’s attention, and once you have, it is frustrating when they don’t remember your name, or your name hasn’t added value to the dialogue, made an impact or describe what you do.

The announcement this week that Health Business Partners Consulting was changing its name to Health Strategy Consulting is an example of repositioning to better describe operations and organizational value.

On an industry-wide level, the same applies. A few weeks ago, the issue of describing, defining and ultimately naming this sector came up. Several of the terms presently used do not accurately reflect the industry or limit the opportunity and market. While it is true that some companies may supply natural or organic products and dietary supplements, where do functional ingredients, nutraceuticals and other descriptors come into the picture? And with the product mix companies we associate with supply, we are frequently bound by regulations and perception, limiting how we can describe the business area, especially where actual definitions apply to terms such as supplements.

Renaming the sector has been proposed to better describe industry players and to increase marketing opportunities and exposure. Suggestions include ‘Health and Wellness’ and ‘Health and Nutrition Products’, both of which would be more encompassing. The Nutrition Business Journal is in the process of releasing their “Overview of the Nutrition Industry”, a $53 Billion Industry. Many of us would fall within that grouping; some would not be encompassed.

This issue creates a challenge for companies trying to reflect the changes in their marketing materials and even in company name. Frequently the company name, brand name or tag-line includes a sector reference. On the media side alone, examples include Natural Products Insider, Nutraceuticals World, Nutrition Business Journal and NPIcenter. (Our NPI technically stands for Natural Products Industry, although those of you who use the site know that our resources encompass more than that sub-sector.) Manufacturers, service providers and ingredient suppliers face these issues too.

The challenge of what to do if your name, brand, product mix or business materials are limiting as the sector evolves, faces many of us. Sometimes, renaming is required, frequently it’s strategic rethinking. Often, refocusing is necessary, directing resources to change image or offering so your company and products are accepted in the newly defined sector and it seems that many industry companies are facing this issue now.

Once you have made the decision to change or realign some of these elements, the implications can be enormous. Making that decision triggers a chain of events throughout the organization which can impact all departments.

We’ve worked with several organizations with their Internet programs as they’ve realigned programs and offerings. Next week, I’ll be speaking more about these implications specifically.

Next Editorial: More About Names.

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