In October 2018, Hitachi Power Tools officially changed its name to Metabo HPT in North America. The events leading up to the change started in 2016.
That year, parent company Hitachi Koki Co, Ltd (now Koki Holdings Co, Ltd.) purchased German manufacturer Metabo, and in 2017, Hitachi Koki’s entire power tool division (including Metabo) partnered with investment firm KKR. This meant we no longer operated under the larger Hitachi Limited conglomerate, and we wanted to separate ourselves from the many other companies under that umbrella. Renaming to Metabo HPT provided us our own identity apart from Hitachi Limited. It also enabled us to execute fully our ideas and strategies around what we wanted our products to represent in people’s minds.
For a remodeler, renaming offers the same opportunity, making room for things like new management, geographic growth, or additional services. The following three phases will make the renaming of any company as painless as possible.
After announcing our renaming, we spent a year educating the market before formally transitioning from Hitachi Power Tools to Metabo HPT. We didn’t want to force the change too quickly. Doing so could cause us to lose market share because customers weren’t yet aware that formerly Hitachi Power Tools products were now Metabo HPT.
Take into account the size of your company and your target market when deciding how much time to devote to customer education. If you operate in a smaller market—St. Petersburg, Florida, for example—you likely won’t need to spend as much time prepping your market for the change as a company that covers all of Chicagoland.
During the education phase, it’s important to lay out the changes to expect during your transition. Our most prominent change was our company name and logo. We issued press releases, worked with media influencers, and created point of sale pieces that communicated “same tools, new name.” By educating our customers over time, we equipped them to educate the end users coming to them to purchase our products.
Create a list of changes to be made during your name change. Top items to address include your end goal, top changes needed to reach that goal, and the best way to communicate those to customers.
When we officially changed our name to Metabo HPT, we simultaneously launched a new tool platform called MultiVolt that can be powered cordless and corded, all in the same tool. This launch helped attract attention and showcase the innovation under our new name.
We encourage innovation during and after your name change, as it creates new opportunities. It especially makes sense for companies looking to offer new services or products to do so under their new name. Take the time to figure out which approach fits your end goal, and plan accordingly.
All stages of our transition took place over a two-year period. When you get to the third phase, you’ve got your plan, your map of how this is going to go. Budgeting adequate time for the transition period creates space to deal with unforeseen circumstances, like shifts in leadership roles or a change in the company budget.