What's in a Name?

Brand Names

Ever wonder how some of your favorite companies and brands get their names? Strategic Name Development, a brand naming company, does just that. They employ a team of linguists from all over the world to assist companies with naming products or even changing the name of their company. According to the SND web page, about 1900 companies change their name every year. So what makes a good product/company name? Strategic Name Development says good names should roll off the tongue. They should be short,  pronounceable and "harmoniously balanced with vowels and consonants alternating evenly throughout." Some examples they give for harmonious, balanced brand names include Amazon, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Lexus and Panera.

Strategic Name Development also has a great monthly publication called "This Month in Branding". Here are just a few of the interesting facts I found:

  • The Today Show debuted in 1952. Its proposed name was "The Rise and Shine Revue."
  • Monopoly was invented in 1935 after a redesign of a game called "The Landlord's Game."
  • The application for the trademark for Milk Duds was filed in 1983. Its name is derived from the large amount of milk in the product and the failure to produce a perfectly round shape.
  • Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995. Yahoo was first used in the book Gulliver's Travels for a person who is repulsive in appearance and barely human. The founders of Yahoo!, David Filo and Jerry Yang, jokingly considered themselves yahoos.
  • People magazine's first issue debuted in 1974. Its name was borrowed from the popular People page in Time magazine.
  • The Hershey's Take5 candy bar brand name was first used in 1966. Named for its five ingredients: milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, peanut butter and pretzels, it also capitalizes on the colloquial expression "Take 5" for a 5 minute break.
  • On April 1st in 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne formed Apple. The name was inspired from Steve Jobs' former job at an apple orchard.
  • Eggo was first used as a brand name for frozen waffles in 1935 on April 27th. It was originally named Froffles, a portmanteau of frozen waffles, however, people started referring to them as Eggos for their eggy taste. In 1955, the company officially adopted their nickname.

Catchword Branding is another product/company naming firm. They give some helpful naming tips in the video below: