Global lighting to healthcare tech behemoth Philips sold its domestic appliances business and the new owner had to come up with a name. They named it ‘Versuni’, which was welcomed by many and criticised by a few. The brand which has a presence in over 100 countries was rechristened with a play on the word ‘Universe’. How does the advertising and media frat view the development?
We asked: What is your take on the new name of Philips Domestic Appliances, ‘Versuni’? Should Philips transition from ‘Philips’ to ‘Philips Versuni’ to establish the brand?
‘Two thumbs up for the name’
Versuni seems like a global brand name. I think it’s a coined, made-up name. I don’t know what it means in another language but I am assuming it must be a play on the word ‘Universe.’
The sound of the name feels very feminine and a little Italian in nature. Usually, Philips products tend to have a very European feel so I think from that point of view, it sounds like a European brand. Immediately, people may get it or may not get it – because of the fact that it is a made-up name. Once people discover that it is ‘Universe’ flipped, I think there will be an ‘Aha!’ moment.
I would say that it’s quite a good name. No red flags from my side. I have seen a lot of made-up names that feel very contrived. This is an organic word that has been taken and flipped and it feels like an invented name. So, I am sure from a trademark point of view, it is easily registerable across the world. Lot of people have done this stuff of shuffling of words.
It is some kind of an acronym where you mix up letters and arrive at the brand name. So I would say that it’s an interesting coinage – very with times, pretty European, sounds a little feminine. I can’t think of anything negative associated with it, so two thumbs up for the name.
– Anantha Narayan, Founder, Albert Dali Naming Consultants.
‘Need to help the consumer establish the connection’
The new brand name sounds a little difficult to pronounce. Philips has been a household name since a long time. Renaming it owing to ownership change will create a gap in the market. The consumer will take time to adapt to the same though the product might be the same. Trust issues in terms of quality of the product might also arise owing to changes.
I firmly believe they need to ensure a proper marketing campaign with Philips attached for helping the consumer establish the connection. The effort might take at least two years at all levels from media to the offline store experience. This effort needs to be streamlined at every level to ensure brand name is communicated to they end-consumer effectively.
– Divya Nair, Senior Director, Starcom.
‘It makes no difference to the consumer’
Philips Domestic Appliances will now be called Versuni not because of any marketing compulsion but because Royal Philips sold that business to Hillhouse Capital.
In fact as a licensee of Royal Philips the new entity will continue to use the brand names owned by Royal Philips including Philips and Preethi, among others. Versuni has even stated that the raison d’etre of “turning consumers houses to homes” will remain unchanged.
It makes no difference to the consumer. This is at best a corporate restructuring or company changing hands. At least for the foreseeable future. The best analogy is Hindustan Lever Limited changing over to Hindustan Unilever Limited.
Philips is an extremely powerful brand name with an equity that commands a premium. Versuni should remain the brand owner and not interfere by attaching itself to the brand name in the near future. Till it has managed to consolidate the business.
However, there are limitations on usage of the Philips brand name after 15 years. There is a (substantial) royalty cost that Versuni can offload when it stops using the Philips, Preethi brand names.
Attaching Versuni to Philips gradually over time is in Versuni’s favour. But it will create consumer dissonance when that happens. The way to do it right is for Versuni to develop a whole new set of products that reset current benchmarks and delight consumers. Launching these new generation products under Versuni Philips or Versuni Preethi brand name would send the right signals. Philips or Preethi can then be gradually dropped and the entire equity transferred to Versuni.
– Kaustav Das, CEO, Ralph & Das.
‘Versuni will give distinct identity in home appliances’
From my point of view, creating a separate segment using the name Versuni is a good idea. Philips is known for a broader range of products while Versuni will give a distinct identity in the home appliances category.
Using the name Philips will always help to recall the goodwill and trust of the products, so using the name Philips Versuni is the better Idea.
– Umesh Kumar Singh, Senior Director – The Exchange, Mindshare.