Eastern Counties Newspapers Group has spent £500,000 on acquiring a new name – Archant – devised for it by Lambie Nairn, the company which created the rings and air balloon branding for the BBC.
The regional media group has chosen a name which its spokesman cheerfully admits doesn’t mean anything but to which it intends to attach meaning – just as the Post Office did when changing its name to Consignia.
ECNG no longer correctly describes the group’s activities, said Keith Morris, group communications manager. "We are no longer just in eastern counties and no longer just a news-paper group," he explained.
The name-change proposal is to be put to shareholders on 1 February with the unanimous recommendation of the board. If it is approved, it will come into use on 4 March. Staff, too, will have a voice in the decision as 70 per cent are group shareholders.
Newspapers, magazines and websites owned by Archant will retain their existing titles.
The group publishes 64 news-papers, 45 monthly magazines and a clutch of annuals, including the Eastern Daily Press, the Ipswich Evening Star and the Hampstead and Highgate Express, in an area that now extends from East Anglia to the north-east of Scotland and to Devon. The magazines are specialist consumer and contract titles with national and international distribution.
Chief executive Peter Strong said: "The new name will give us a consistent identity for all our activities.
"We’re an ambitious and growing company. Having this consistent identity will give us greater national visibility and enhance our ability to manage and to grow.
"It will also help us attract the best people, the key ingredient of any successful business.
"We are keenly aware of the importance of local and regional pride to our business and have always strived to give voice to the communities of which we are a member. Giving the group a new name will not change or undermine these long-established and vital relationships."
ECNG, with roots in Norwich since 1845, has 13 separate businesses and employs 2,400 people.
By Jean Morgan