Coach, the holding company that owns Coach leather and several other brands, is changing its name to Tapestry to better represent that they are a multi-faceted fashion house “… not limited to any category, channel or geography,” which was, of course, my exact thought when I heard the new name.
Actually, I thought of the 1971 Carole King album. Apparently, I’m not the only one. When asked for “the first association you have of a company named Tapestry,” the morning crowd at my local Coffee Bean was evenly split between the Carole King album and, as one person put it, “moldy moth-ridden faded banners hanging in dank castles.” To be fair, one person did say, “A classic luxury fashion house incorporating a swath of different brands,” but to be even fairer he copped to reading an article about the change earlier that morning… and then said, “Carole King.”
Name changes can communicate important messages: Cassius Clay’s transformation to Muhammad Ali signaled his conversion to Islam while making a resonating statement on race relations in the Civil Rights era; Apple Computer’s change to Apple Inc. relayed they were no longer simply a computer company, but were now purveyors of lifestyle technology; and Bruce Jenner’s emergence from her chrysalis as Caitlin signified trading the gold medal platform for a pair of gold Jimmy Choo platform sandals (available at Bergdorf’s for just $695 —free shipping, free returns).
Corporate name changes, on the other hand, often make me shrug. In 2013 the French luxury brand group PPR changed its name to Kering to, as the New York Times reported, complete “its transformation into a pure apparel and accessories group, shedding some of the broader collection of businesses on which it once depended.”
Ummm, good job guys, mission accomplished!
In 2000 Andersen Consulting (which used to go by the name Arthur Andersen) changed its name to “Accenture” to communicate:
a) Accounting and Nature
b) The Future of Accounting
c) An Accent on the Future
d) An attempt to distance itself from its complicity with Enron in one of the largest corporate scandals in history.
If you guessed “d” you are probably right, though the corporation insists it’s “c.”
My question is to whom are they trying to communicate these renaming messages? I doubt the person buying a Kate Spade handbag cares if the brand is owned by Tapestry, Kering, or even Kerig… They just want the bag. Does the corporate or investing world take any notice? My guess is it gives CEOs something to talk about when there’s an awkward lull in the conversation at Davos.
If a rose changed its name to Scentūr to communicate “the smell of the future” I’d smile politely and enjoy my bouquet. As for Coach, they have one of the best shades of tan leather, no matter who owns them. As for Tapestry… It’s a really great album.