When Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia(NYSE: MSO) reported earnings yesterday, you began to see the rumblings of a struggling company trying to grow beyond the image of its founder. From bucking tradition by canceling Martha's annual holiday special to launching the first magazine that won't bear her name, the tactical approach might make sense. Less Martha Stewart. More Omnimedia.

Beyond the fact that the media may have blown her one trading mishap out of proportion -- something that our own David Gardner argued last week -- it's important not to rest success or failure on the shoulders of one person. Yes, even if that person just happens to also share the corporate moniker.

Wrigley (NYSE: WWY) . Ford(NYSE: F). Sears(NYSE: S). Kodak(NYSE: EK). They have all outlived their namesake pioneers. The day after Walt Disney died, shares of Disney(NYSE: DIS) actually rose.

A company is not like a rock band, where an ill-fated plane crash puts an end to the music. As a matter of fact, some companies find their most influential leaders further down the succession line. Mickey Drexler at Gap(NYSE: GPS) and Coca-Cola's(NYSE: KO) Roberto Goizueta had a more lasting impression than the original founders of their companies.

There's more to a name at a company -- even if that name just happens to belong on the official corporate letterhead.