If Netflix’s Qwikster was the Pinto of rebrandings, then APX Alarm’s reinvention as Vivint may well be the Aston Martin.
Many have speculated why the successful security company would change its name. Critics have berated the move, calling it an attempt to escape a poor business bureau rating and the stigma its sales staff has of being scam artists.
Kristi Knight, Vivint’s vice president of Communications, said the main reason for the change was the former name limited the company from expanding the scope of its offerings.
“APX was known in security and it’s challenging when you are known really well for one thing to become really well known for something else,” Knight said. “We wanted to clearly differentiate our company and provide room for expansion because home technology services allowed us to go into more areas besides security.”
Since the rebrand, Vivint has established itself as a national leader in home automation. Maximum PC has even dubbed it “the company to beat.”
Vivint’s latest offering, Vivint Solar, targets the energy market, and looks to provide an easier way for customers to go green. In the past, if someone wanted solar panels for their home, they would have to pay thousands of dollars up front, negating the cost benefits of solar energy.
Vivint’s model takes a different approach. At no cost to the customer, Vivint will design, install and maintain a home’s solar panels. In exchange, the customer agrees to pay Vivint for the power the panels produce over the next 20 years at a locked-in rate, typically 10 to 30 percent below a customer’s current energy bill.
Aaron Sanborn, a pre-law student, and a licensing administrator for Vivint, said the model is on the cutting edge of the industry.
“I don’t know of any company that’s providing solar energy for every house that wants to get it,” Sanborn said. “[Vivint] is willing to push themselves out there to areas where other companies don’t want to or can’t go.”
Ken Plowman, associate professor of communications, said the name change helped the company’s image.
“I think it has helped,” Plowman said. “[APX Alarm] didn’t really reflect what they were doing so I agree that they should have changed their name.”
Plowman said Vivint Solar is a product that could help the company change public opinion.
“We had some neighbors who put solar panels in and they said it would be 30 years before they recouped their costs,” Plowman said. “So compare that to letting another company pull off the profit, it sounds pretty good. They are looking after themselves, they’re looking after the customers and the environment.”