I have to confess, from a non-partisan perspective, that the NDP changing their name was probably a good idea, that had plenty of potential. With that in mind, from a partisan perspective, I'm glad the NDP has kept their name.
When I first heard of the name change idea, it all seemed so superficial and callous. Upon further reflection, while the perceptions still held true, you could entertain the possibilities. The number one beef or criticism of our political parties, seems to center around this "same old, same old" and this sentiment has lead to voter apathy, downright disinterest. People don't vote, they don't care, they tune it out because it's all so bland. This overwhelming backdrop means that a simple name change, along with some new messaging, could tap into this disinterest. Change your name, accompanied with a fresh approach, the NDP had the opportunity to re-invent themselves, at the exact moment when people crave something different.
Layton's messaging out of the convention deliberately tried to place the NDP as the "different" alternative. You know what you get from the other parties, the NDP offers "change". A sound strategy, that recognizes the public sentiment, but it comes from a party that is just as entrenched as the others it villifies. A party beholden to labour, lacking economic sensibilities, offering kneejerk leftist solutions to complex issues. People see orange, the association is made, the brand is firmly cemented. It's for that reason that the name change, color schemes, while amounting to nothing, can morph into something else that people would find attractive.
When you consider the rise of the Green Party, it isn't easily contained to a simple environmental response. I know many people who consider or have voted Green because it is seen as alternative to the status quo, of which the NDP is a part. Not so much taking votes away from the Liberals, the Green Party presence stifles the NDP's growth potential. Further, on the environmental front, certain voters who were drawn to the NDP's policies are drifting away. The name change and a new presentation would appeal to a voter subset, people tired with the standard choices might re-visit.
Jack Layton is heading into his fourth election campaign, a career politician, a known quantity. That's hardly the optimal reality to simply change gears and run under the "change" mantra. However, if this messaging were accompanied by several internal "changes", then old and tired has the potential to become timely and fresh. Particularly on the economic angle, where voters have little confidence, a makeover would allow consideration on the credibility front. It's all very superficial of course, but then again we have a government now that relies on a lack of sophistication from the public to find success.
In the final analysis, I see the name change failure as an opportunity missed. From the Liberal perspective, all things being equal, it was a favorable outcome.