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Monday makeover for PwC Consulting
Consultant joins list of name-changing corporations, but will the new moniker work?
June 10, 2002: 2:39 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - There have been many rainy days lately for Big Five auditors like Arthur Andersen and its consulting brethren, and now, thanks to PWC Consulting, there is a Monday too.

The consulting firm said Sunday it is officially renaming itself "Monday" to separate it from parent PricewaterhouseCoopers as it prepares for an initial public offering.

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PWC rival Accenture (ACN: Research, Estimates) raised some eyebrows when it adopted that moniker to replace its former corporate identity, Andersen Consulting, but given the meltdown of its former sister firm, Arthur Andersen, the move now looks like a home run.

But the jury is out on Monday. One marketing expert wonders just how recognizable the firm's business, which is management consulting, will be to customers.

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"Most people don't enjoy Mondays," said Audrey Guskey, a Duquesne University marketing professor and marketing industry veteran. "It's interesting because a name defines the organization, and a lot of times the company will have a name that suggests what they do, like BusinessWeek or Timex.''

Others agree, but note that the name could also work to the company's advantage over time.

"Monday is the hardest day of the week. They didn't name it TGI Monday," said Mark DiMassimo, president of DiMassimo Brand Advertising. "My guess is PwC Consulting wants to position itself as the people who can best help you out on the hardest day of the week... It emphasizes the problem a little bit more, but it could also be the strength of it. You know, you want to get to Friday eventually."

The company called Monday a perfect fit.

"The PricewaterhouseCoopers brand has given us a great heritage," PwC Consulting CEO Greg Brenneman stated. "Our new name -- Monday -- is exactly what we want it to be as we create our new business: a real word, concise, recognizable, global and the right fit for a company that works hard to deliver results."

PwC is just the latest firm in recent years to rename itself with a quirky moniker.

Tricon Global Restaurants, owner of the Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut chains, officially changed its name to YUM! Brands (YUM: Research, Estimates) on May 16, matching its ticker symbol. Philip Morris (MO: Research, Estimates), the world's biggest tobacco company, approved changing its name to Altria on April 25, no doubt to distance itself from a history of tobacco-related negative publicity.

Altria, which the conglomerate has not yet assumed, is intended to separate the company's food and other operations from its tobacco business.

"There seems to be a trend lately where they're coming up with these avant garde-type names," Guskey said, adding that such quirky name changes can work if they are trendy and make sense to the consumer.

"They're trying to stand for something serious and professional, create this wonderful image you can trust -- an image of strength and security and financial issues, and when you have this cutesy little name like "Monday," I don't know," Guskey said.

PwC Consulting spokeswoman Sehra Eusufzai could not comment on how the company arrived at "Monday," or discuss other names that were considered. But she acknowledged that people are going to have varying opinions of the change.

"Our brand positioning indicates real people, real business and real experience," Eusufzai said. "That's a central part of what we see this name standing for. Secondly, with any new name introduction, there's bound to be a wide range of reactions, and over time it will come to mean what people want it to mean."

DiMassimo, who has worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the past, agreed that Monday could cause customers to groan, but said in the consulting business a company's name is secondary to its relationships with its clients. Over time, he said, the name could become immaterial.

Officials of Wolff Olins, the agency that came up with the name for PwC Consulting, could not immediately be reached Monday -- the day, that is.

PwC Consulting filed for an IPO of as much as $1 billion in May as pressure mounted on accounting firms to separate their auditing and consulting practices to quell concerns over potential conflicts of interest.

The accounting industry has been under attack since the Enron Corp. scandal, which has critics questioning whether an accounting firm's independence is compromised by accepting large consulting fees from the clients it audited.

In March, KPMG Consulting Inc. said it would change its name to distinguish itself from its parent KPMG LLP, the audit and tax firm, citing the Enron scandal as the reason.  Top of page

-- From staff and wire reports