What's in a Name?
By Maggie Overfelt

(FORTUNE Small Business) – Big businesses know what to do when they fall on bad times: change their names. Just ask WorldCom--now MCI--or the Altria Group, née Philip Morris. "This is a new trend, changing a company's name to distance itself from recent bad press," says Jim Johnson, CEO of international brand consultant Enterprise IG. The strategy seems to work for slumping small businesses too. After Monster.com's parent changed its name from TMP to Monster Worldwide, its stock rose 56% in three months.

Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals switched to the slightly more wieldy Sirna Therapeutics, and its stock shot up 289% in two months. But the plan isn't foolproof. Slipper company Daniel Green Co. became Phoenix Footwear Group last May to reflect its "rebirth when we decided to exit the slipper business and enter the casual footwear business," according to CEO James R. Riedman. Instead Phoenix stock went down in flames--46% in ten months before turning around. -- M.O.