Brand Name – Would You Change?

specialist strategy consulting,

 

PwC renames their acquisition

Towards the end of last year we got the news that global accounting giant PwC had acquired specialist strategy consulting firm Booz & Co. It all made infinite sense. Extend their professional services offering and leverage the synergies between accounting services and the strategy needs that so often exist within major corporate clients.

Immediately Booz brings to the party strategic grunt and $1.05 billion in fees globally. It is a big boost. Know how and a great client list is a worthy attraction factor. However, there is no doubt that when you bring two different businesses together, you have to actively manage the process to ensure the whole is generating more value than simply the sum of the previous parts. Working out how to seamlessly integrate the combined offer into a powerful and meaningful proposition to clients cannot simply be a random act.

PwC renames their acquisition

So what is the best brand name architecture to apply is an important question. PwC have now declared their hand on that front. They are going to drop the Booz & Co brand name and opt for a co-branding strategy under the mantle of PwC  Strategy&. Yes, gone is Booz & Co and in is Strategy&.

Would you have changed the name? Assuming they did not have to drop the name, then I personally would have retained the Booz name. Booz & Co has a significant reputation and heritage as a tier one strategy-consulting firm. They have brand equity. It would have made far more sense to leverage that equity by retaining the name.

PwC now has a two-step communication requirement. They now say we do strategy in a more serious manner by introducing the Strategy& name into their brand architecture. But to indicate just how serious and good they are at it, they will have to say that the strategy offer is powered by the former strategy heavy weights Booz & Co. It they do not do the latter, then they are walking away from the significant equity they have acquired.

I may be missing something (not for the first time) but I think PwC should have worked harder at directly milking the Booz brand for at least a couple of years. Not only because it has equity, but BOOZ is such a ripper name (or am I confusing it with something else).

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist & Founder

 Images courtesy of PwC

2 Comments

  1. Exactly what I’d have expected from a business that seems only to understand the price of everything, but nothing of value.
    A terrible decision and one they’ll come to rue, as I suspect that the brains behind Booz&co will head for the door. And all those great clients looking elsewhere for smart thinking (as opposed to book-keeping).
    Crashing organisations together for the sake of the balance sheet almost always goes awry and as for Strategy&…? & what? & another fine mess? You can already hear the p(wc)r crisis rumbling on the horizon.
    My bet is that we haven’t seen the end of Booz&Co as a name or a great asset but it won’t be pwc who sees its true worth, but that simply ends up counting the cost.

  2. I am torn to a degree about the name, but overall I dont like it. In my mind, its cumbersome to pronounce, cumbersome in print and cumbersome as a representative concept. That said, it seems that PWC was in a difficult position, because it really is hard to imagine a scenario where the Booz name is effectively combined with “PWC.” One of things that they were most interested in apparently was the ability to combine “PWC Strategy&.” In theory that combination works, but its just too awkward. Also, I think they were trying to take a stab at a hip and contemporary name, but even there it doesnt work. Even if it was a “hip” name (which it is not), it is not a name that would survive the test of time. Even if it worked today as an odd yet modern/hip/artsy identity (which it doesn’t), it probably would not have the same resonance 5-10 years from now. End of the day, how can you group “Strategy&” in the same company as McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, etc? Its too artsy and too awkward for that world. Or any world, really.

    That said, I dont agree with Richard’s comments above that the acquisition itself was a mistake. I think adding significant strategy consulting capabilities to a global accounting and advisory firm brings great synergies from a variety of angles. I dont think its just a balance sheet builder… rather, I think its really a value-add for both sides. Sometimes M&A deals just throws together two disparate companies, cultures, business models, etc, just for the sake of growing the top line. And often those types of transactions fail.

    This is not such a deal, in my opinion.

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