AOL, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) Identity Crisis Makes It Consider Ditching Its ‘AOL’ Name


AOL, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is currently facing a discord between its name and what it now offers. Due to this disconnect, Allie Kline, chief marketing officer at AOL, says the company has to decide whether to ditch its name or stick with it. Kline notes that currently when people talk about AOL, they usually have in mind the mail services they use. They have no idea that AOL owns The Huffington post, TechCrunch, womens’ site Makers, MapQuest – mapping service, Engadget- gadget blog and also run a variety of ad platforms including the likes of Verizon’s VDMS platform or One.

Ditching an iconic name is something quite hard for a company since it loses its past associations that people can’t just shake off. At times, change is quite essential since an individual name might be used by people to refer to only one line of business. For instance, Google, who had to change their name to Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) so that they are not only associated with the search engine that they are famously known for.

Kline stated that one of their New Year priorities was to establish AOL brand and to invest in it. If this will mean saying goodbye to their name ‘AOL’ for a new one, they will do it. She also noted that internal branding research appeared to have slipped down the middle since AOL was one of the first brands on the internet and some consumer loved but also other did have a jibe with it though they love Huffpo.

Sam Wilson, who is a global principle at consultancy Wolff Olins, thinks that the company has already built its credibility with advertisers, and it is quite essential that AOL kills this name for the sake of its ad products. Wilson also suggests that they can select a name that would sit proudly next to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google and other big players. This name would also make the brand feel like 21st-century content, and this would inspire the business.

Most analysts seem to be of the thought that AOL should change its name for the sake of other business entities, which it currently owns. Whether this will happen or not will depend on AOL management.