What’s in a name?

Some brands are beyond redemption, particularly if there appears to be little commitment to change within the company. The British government’s rebranding of Windscale nuclear power station as Sellafield in 1981 is a case in point.

The rebranding was essentially a cosmetic exercise, designed to break the link with the disastrous Windscale fire in October 1957, which remains western Europe’s worst-ever nuclear accident, spreading radioactive contamination across a wide area.

It subsequently emerged that the incident was caused by flaws in the power station’s basic design, causing irrep-arable damage to the Windscale brand.

But little changed after the introduction of the Sellafield name, with numerous incidents linked to lax safety procedures at the plant occurring since then. One of the most damaging came in 1999, when it was discovered that workers had been falsifying safety records at Sellafield’s new £1.2bn MOX reprocessing plant.

taken from Corporate makeovers can save or sink firms in trouble – irish independent 25/July/2010

even turning the brand to a science visitors centre failed.

The former Sellafield Visitors’ Centre is now the Sellafield Centre and is open Mon – Fri, and is used for business events. A small section is still open to the public but only at selected times.

At its peak, the Visitors’ Centre attracted an average of 1,000 people per day. In recent years, its popularity has deteriorated, prompting the change from tourist attraction to conference facility.