- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota nonprofit that makes software for zoos is rebranding itself because of a problem with the name it’s used for over 40 years.

The International Species Information System is known across the globe as ISIS, and its website is Isis.org. But a name once associated more with an ancient Egyptian goddess has become synonymous with terrorism.

The Bloomington-based nonprofit, launched in 1974, develops software that helps zoos and aquariums in 87 countries keep track of their animal data.

But it has recently heard from people who want to sign up with the Islamic State group, commonly known by the acronym ISIS, the Star Tribune reported Saturday (https://strib.mn/1JQ0ZHM ). Employees have been spooked by pranks. The organization had to remove the large ISIS sign on the front door.

“We’re a small nonprofit,” said Diane Hammond, the group’s marketing strategist. “At first, we thought the connection was a little extreme. But it hasn’t gone away.”

Now, the zoological software group is working on a new name. The rebranding effort begins in earnest this month. When completed, items from company stationery to its website and licensing will have a new name, logo and tagline.

“Fundamentally, it takes you away from day-to-day tasks of what you’re trying to accomplish,” said Rob Rankin, president of the marketing agency Clarity Coverdale Fury, which is working with the nonprofit. “There’s time, energy and money that has to be diverted that just wasn’t on your radar screen.”

Other similarly named entities have also had difficulties.

Isis Books and Gifts in Denver has been vandalized four times in recent months. Isis Equity Partners in Britain became Living Bridge. After 15 years, a French rock band changed its name from Isis Child to Angel’s Whisper after losing fans and booking engagements. In Nova Scotia, a social service organization known as Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services changed its name to ISANS - Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. California-based Isis Pharmaceuticals resisted the pressure to change its name for more than a year, but two weeks ago announced its new name of Ionis Pharmaceuticals.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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