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FairWarning's new name came straight off the shelf

The new name is a better fit, its CEO says.

By MADHUSMITA BORA, Times Staff Writer
Published February 1, 2008


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After 30 months in business, the St. Petersburg technology company known as EpicTide Inc. made the unusual decision to drop its name. This week, it unveiled a new one: FairWarning.

It's just the name that's changing. The corporate structure and mission of the company, which sells privacy auditing software for the health care industry, remains intact.

"We loved the name EpicTide at that time," said chief executive Kurt Long. "The name is still a good story, but it doesn't resonate well with what we do."

It's uncommon for a company to change its name in the midst of its corporate journey.

"Unless the name becomes more of a liability than asset," said Scott Liu, an advertising professor at University of South Florida. "It takes years and tremendous resources to build a name."

Sometimes changing the name is not enough, Liu said. Companies reinvent themselves with new offerings and services as they forge new identities.

Bob Elek, a spokesman for Verizon, remembers when the telecom giant abandoned the Bell Atlantic tag after the company merged with GTE in 2000.

"The purpose for changing the name was that neither of the former names captured what the company wanted to become over time," Elek said.

The transition was relatively simple because Verizon was mailing millions of phone bills every month to its customers. And the name caught on.

FairWarning is not completely new to Long's company. Its licensed software bears that name. Long said the new name captures the company's core offering: products that protect health care organizations from legal and privacy threats.

This year, the company wants to grow its presence and is launching its first national marketing event with a webinar, a Web-based seminar, on March 13.

"It the new name gives us consistency," Long said. "FairWarning means more to us than EpicTide."

Madhusmita Bora can be reached at mbora@sptimes.com or (813)225-3112.

[Last modified January 31, 2008, 23:35:25]


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