As it prepares for its separation from the audit and tax firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC Consulting has selected Monday as its new name. According to Gartner, the firm plans to invest $110 million through fiscal 2003 to establish the Monday brand, an amount that represents 1.5 percent of Monday's annual revenue. The firm has incited an epidemic of criticism and biting humor about the name’s unsavory connotations.
What are experts saying about PwC's choice of name, and how does it compare with monikers of consulting past? We’ve gathered comments from consultants and other pundits around the Web regarding PwC's new name. Here's what they're saying.
What do you say?
Can PwC Consulting make any name synonymous with technical expertise and innovation, or have they been sold a handful of magic beans by a slick marketing firm? Post your comments about Monday below.
Opinions from the press
Using adjectives like unusual and bizarre, the press began openly joking about the new name almost immediately after PricewaterhouseCoopers announced the name change in June. While the comments provided plenty of exposure for the firm, they don't bode well for Monday's reception. Mark Street of IT Week called the name "bizarre," and said it suggests "another case of spin triumphing over substance."
Another snicker came from the usually serious CNN Money site when it reported that officials of Wolff Olins, the agency that came up with the name, "could not immediately be reached Monday—the day, that is."
The peoples' cry: "I don't like Monday"
Visitors to online career sites like the Vault message boards have posted lyrics to songs about the week's first workday as a jab about the name change. Vault provides discussion forums specific to companies where employees and others can trade gossip and speak their minds without fear of retribution. Many of the visitors to the board claim to be current employees of PwC Consulting and have weighed in with their opinions.
Comments regarding Monday range from whiny and ridiculous to funny and insightful. Some have solid arguments as to why the name is a shame; others contend that time will prove it's a stroke of genius. Some take a tongue-in-cheek approach, creating one-liners and satirical announcements such as the following from concernedat ey:
“The day of the week formerly known as Monday would like to announce its name change to distance itself from PWC Consulting. Forthwith it will be known as Tuesday Eve.”
Others provide more reasonable arguments to support their point of view. One poster, calling himself Best in Oxford, said that in German the word Monday conjures images of low-quality products, as in the phrase "Monday cars." Cars built on Monday are reputed to be of lower quality because workers haven't refocused from their weekends.
Gartner analysts Michele Cantara, Laura McLellan, Jennifer Beck, and Frances Karamouzis took note of the posts in the message boards and addressed the issue in a recent report. They said that they're uncertain how the name will play in non-English-speaking cultures, but that Wolff Olins has a good track record. Presumably, they said, the agency performed due-diligence by testing the name both internally and externally prior to its release.
However, they said that postings from employees on public forums seem to indicate that adequate internal communications have been an issue at PwC Consulting. If that's the case, Monday may have bigger problems than a name that's easy to criticize.
"Establishing trust with customers will require that management and employees march in lockstep to demonstrate the brand promise," the analysts wrote. The key to success will be how well the employees of Monday can make the brand resonate with buyers of professional services who are looking for stable and trustworthy service providers to provide business transformation.
First impressions are just that
It may be that the initial reaction to the name is only the beginning of Monday's branding battle and that the firm's fate rests largely in the hands of its employees, said Rob Leavitt, director of member advocacy for the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA). In a recent ITSMA commentary on the name change, Leavitt wrote that branding is ultimately a long-term game and that the implementation of the firm's brand strategy over the next several years will be far more important than the actual choice of name.
He said Monday's real challenges would be to:
- Define a positioning strategy in the new world of technology consulting.
- Align its workers with that strategy.
- Create an infrastructure that supports the new culture.
- Implement a long-term marketing program that plays to the firm's strengths.
- Live up to its delivery promises.
Leavitt compared Monday to two other name choices that consulting has seen in the recent past: marchFIRST and Accenture. He said that while marchFIRST ran a great brand awareness campaign, its demise stemmed from a failure to satisfy clients, integrate its numerous acquisitions effectively, control its rampant overspending on hiring and infrastructure, and keep its venture capital arm on target. Conversely, Accenture "was able to transfer the stellar reputation of Andersen Consulting to Accenture by combining a well-designed and sustained marketing effort with a continued emphasis on delivering value to its clients.”
Read more about branding
If you'd like to know more about creating a successful branding strategy, read "How are your customers experiencing your brand?" or "Branding through a merger in tough economic times."