Brand names and their origin

Brand names and their origin
Highlights

Brand names and their origin, In marketing, a name is everything. It is the soul and the identity of the company.

Recently, I was reading the classic book ‘The 22 immutable laws of branding’ by Al Ries and Laura Ries, when I was stuck by a thought. Gertrude Stein said ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’ in his poem Sacred Emily. In marketing, a name is everything. It is the soul and the identity of the company.

Kodak, the company that owned the space of Instant photography in the minds of the customer has fallen in bad ways. The naming of Kodak was very interesting. It is said that George Eastman researched the world to find a word that means nothing. Yes, you have read it right.
Kadak
Just spell out the word Hero Puch mentally (the step through motorbike that Hero Honda unsuccessfully tried to market) and you will understand what I mean. Such a name was a sure fire recipe for disaster.
One of the most intelligent and loyal breeds of dogs is the GSD - German Shepard Dog. How did the name GSD come? We have to go back to the Second World War for the answer. After the war, everything German was hated. The breed name – German Shepherd Dog was doomed. The German Shepherd Dog breeders started calling the dog as ‘Alsatian’, and started putting the word GSD next to it. Thus, the breed was being referred as Alsatian (GSD).
In India, even today the short-haired version of the German Shepherd Dog is called an Alsatian, and the fully hairy version is the GSD or the German Shepherd Dog. Luckily, the other top German dog breed has no such issues. The breed is nothing else than infallible and the indomitable, Doberman Pincher. The name simply sounds aristocratic and not German at all!
Kentucky Fried ChickenKentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC. Not only does it sound stylish but it also hides the dreaded five letter word that the Americans dislike ‘fried’. But that is what made KFC famous in the first place. It was the juicy fried chicken. In the recent years KFC has realised its mistake. There is talk that the company is bringing back the name Kentucky Fried Chicken. One company which was forced to shorten its name was 3M. Originally named Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, the name made no sense in the changed times. The company was in many businesses not connected to either mining or manufacturing. That is how Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company became 3M.
LG Corp., originally from South Korea was originally named as Lak-Hui Chemical Industrial Corp. This company soon called themselves ‘Lucky’, focusing mainly in cosmetics and hygiene products. The company also moved into the home appliance industry under the name ‘Goldstar’. The electronics division of the company was successful and expanded internationally. To suit tastes of the global market and make it more western-friendly, the company changed its name to ‘LG Corp.’ – which it now associates with its tag line ‘Life’s Good’.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd had a tongue twister name. It was also known under many different brand names across the world including National, Technics and of course, Panasonic. The company changed its name to Panasonic Corporation to unify under a singular global brand – and its most popular brand name.
Heineken the world famous beer is from Netherlands. It is often mistaken for being German – the country famous for beer. Heineken was lucky that the largest selling beer in Germany is Warsteiner. A German beer with the word ‘War’ in its name is not going to be a big success in world market.
Austria has an amino acid based, caffeine injected, carbonated drink called ‘Roter Stier’. A very difficult name for the customers to remember. The rechristened name was a marketing coup – Red Bull. Red Bull has now become a market leader in the energy drinks market.
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