Name that staffing firm

The first quarter saw an unusually high number of staffing firms adopt new names.

SFN Group is the new moniker for Spherion Corp., the seventh-largest staffing firm in the U.S. However, the company's divisions will retain their names including Technisource, Tatum, Mergis, Todays Office Professionals, SourceRight Solutions and Spherion Staffing Services.

Advantage Resourcing is the new name for Radia International -- part of a privately held Japan-based firm that ranked No. 7 on Staffing Industry Analysts' 2009 list of largest global staffing firms.

The Advantage brand replaced the company's existing brands, which include Technical Aid Corp., Talent Tree Inc. and others. For the Staffing Industry Daily News item, click here.

In addition, publicly held Accountabilities Inc. announced on Feb. 24 it was becoming Corporate Resource Services Inc. Based in New York, Corporate Resource Services provides industrial as well as office/clerical staffing.

Most recently, Professional Staffing Solutions International, a Tewksbury MA firm that provides finance/accounting and information technology staffing, changed its name to Strategic Talent.

The number of companies changing names appears unusual, especially give that changing a company name can be an involved and costly process.

When adopting a new name, firms may have to check with a naming company to be sure the new name doesn't mean anything bad in a foreign language, and lawyers may be called in to verify the name isn't connected to something else. And then there's the question of Web site, changing sales collateral and getting the word out to customers.

One benefit is that companies do a lot of marketing with a name change and get publicity they wouldn't normally receive.

Riley Weiss, the Portland OR-based branding agency that worked with Advantage Resourcing, said in a press release that focus groups were held to determine clients' perceptions of Radia's existing brands. Riley Weiss then identified the qualities of the "ideal" staffing brand. And the roll out of the new brand included external communications as well as a campaign aimed at internal employees.

A name change is something a company takes very seriously. However, picking a name isn't easy.

Enron, the former energy company, had planned to name itself Enteron at one point, until it discovered the word "enteron" refers to intestines, according to a Forbes.com article. That prompted the firm to drop the "te" from the center.

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