For the past 3 years, I’ve loved and enjoyed fast-casual indian food from Indikitch. So, while sauntering down my usual streets, I was confused on two separate occasions regarding the replacement of a brand name I’d grown to regard and love.
I get it. Things change. I’m open minded. People are allowed to change their minds. But, whyyyy did they change the name given the ravenous demand (lunch time lines out the door) for Indikitch? Why risk it?
After a bit of research, I learned that Deep was always the parent company name (and the CEO’s name too — short for Deepak). This helped me calm down and made some sense. In fact, Indikitch was Deep’s experiential arm and test kitchen for their pre-packaged grocery foods line, sold in 2,000 ethnic Indian grocery stores, owning apprx 60% of the Indian frozen food category, with two U.S. plants, two plants in India, along with more than 4,800 employees globally.
Founded in 1977 in New Jersey, Deep Foods (@DeepIndianKtchn) is a family-owned company with 800+ items in their product portfolio that customers globally already knew and loved. So, from all that I read, looks like this minor life interruption for me was simply an executive decision to change the restaurant name to match the parent company name and operate under one trusted brand name. However, the change sparked a few recommendations for those who decide to change their brand name in the future, borrowing much of my tips for Macy’s admirable transition after their acquisition of Marshall Field’s in Chicago. We know that this is a different scenario given the 100+ year legacy of the Fields brand and what that meant to Chicagoans, but I think the lessons apply to all.
1. Transition slowly, and with some regard to the previous brand name.
Don’t just rip the bandaid off and erase the old brand name as if it didn’t exist before (btw, Deep did not do this, they have detailed signage on the store windows explaining the name change). People are creatures of habit and establish loyalty with brands.
2. Significant advance notice of the change of the name.
Inform your customers in advance (like 6 mos or so) so they don’t think you’re being shady and tell them transparently why you’re changing the name. Use this as an opportunity to build trust with your customers.
3. Allow time for customers to fuss and grieve over the lost of a name.
Allow them to write about it, fuss about it to execs and store managers, and express to the world their disgust with the change. Offer them some recompense for their trouble.
4. Utilize co-branded interim signage.
Marshall Field’s left the old branding in place on the Flagship location, and added Macy’s signage. For those customers who simply can’t let go, give ’em a bone by keeping some representation of the old brand. Your brand will continue to reap the benefits of their patronage, btw.
All in all, Deep did ok with the name change. It makes sense, and we along with the other fans will accept this transition as they aim for global brand dominance in bringing quality packaged and restaurant Indian foods to customers worldwide under one brand name.
Olivia F. Scott, NYU Adjunct Instructor, Marketing & Media, Omerge Alliances, Founder/Principal Consultant @omergealliances