Boeing Frontiers
June 2003
Volume 02, Issue 02
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Commercial Airplanes

What's in a name?

The renaming of FlightSafety Boeing Training International to Alteon provides clarity to marketplace


flight simulatorThe recent renaming of FlightSafety Boeing Training International to "Alteon" captured the attention of many within Boeing and the aviation training industry as well.

Many wondered why the name needed to change at all; some wanted to know how the name was selected. Still others were curious about the meaning of the new name.

To answer these questions, we need to go back a few years. In 1997, Boeing and FlightSafety International formed a joint venture called FlightSafety Boeing Training International, or FlightSafetyBoeing for short. The company quickly evolved to become the world's first truly global training company offering flight and maintenance training in the 100-seat-and-above range of aircraft.

In September 2002, Boeing and FSI signed an agreement whereby Boeing acquired all of FSI's interests in FSB. As part of this agreement, Boeing agreed to change the name of FlightSafetyBoeing so it would not conflict with the business interests of FlightSafety International. The process began: to "find" a new name—and a new branding identity—for the new Boeing subsidiary.

"The primary objective was to develop an optimal naming strategy that best suited the business objectives of FSB," said Marsha Bell, director of Marketing for Alteon. "The other objective was to create a "new vision" for the subsidiary that would basically "re-launch" the company in the eyes of employees, current customers and potential customers."

Renaming the company ultimately created an opportunity to make another positive "first impression" with the airline industry.

The first step in the process was to conduct a survey that solicited comments from the employees, customers and potential customers of FSB.

"The survey was an important tool in learning how our employees and customers saw the company in the marketplace," Bell said. "Many felt the current name was too long and led to some confusion with FSI. Using 'Boeing' in our name also created concern for some of our customers—especially Airbus operators—who questioned our ability to provide training for their aircraft."

A review and evaluation of the survey results helped determine that the best approach was to develop a new Boeing-endorsed name—for example, "A Boeing Company" would be visually displayed below the new name—resulting in a new visual identity and a competitive positioning strategy.

Alteon is pronounced

"The Boeing-endorsed name addressed the competitive conflict the subsidiary had with its Airbus customers and gave it a neutrality, if you will, that was required to achieve its business goals," said Andrew Welling, manager of Brand Management at Boeing World Headquarters. "The new visual identity is distinct yet connected to the overall Boeing brand identity. The competitive positioning strategy would leverage the heritage of FSB while establishing a new foundation for growth as well as a new vision for the company."

A cross-functional team of FSB management, external consultants, Boeing trademark attorneys, and Boeing Brand Management led this effort, which ultimately involved the review and consideration of more than 1,000 names. The final choice had to meet specific brand goals for the business, including leveraging the Boeing brand, without deterring Airbus training business. Additionally, the name had to be available for trademark protection in more than 20 countries where Alteon operated.

After several months of research and analysis, the name Alteon was selected, and Alteon Training became the official name for the new Boeing subsidiary on April 14, 2003.

"Alteon is a new name in the airline industry that symbolizes very well the 'new vision' for our company," said Pat Gaines, president of Alteon. "Our employees give it meaning with everything they do each day. I think all of us at Alteon feel energized and ready to carry on the heritage of being the premier aviation training company in our industry."


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